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How to Set HR Goals for Employee Retention

Every business can benefit from recruiting and retaining an engaged and steady workforce. But these days, retaining employees has become more and more difficult. A report from Visier shows an annualized resignation rate of 25% in 2021, and that number only seems to be growing in 2022.

A recent Dale Carnegie study and a blog posts suggest that employees look for positive culture of encouragement, trust to take decisions, and the the ability to learn from their mistakes.

The Role of the HR in Employee Retention

HR manager goals should include keeping good employees around as long as possible. From recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding to continued employee motivation and support, HR professionals have one of the most direct lines of influence in increasing employee retention rates.

HR is the first line of communication with new recruits. They are responsible for setting workplace policies that shape company culture. They manage benefits that promote employee wellbeing. And most importantly, they are the ones who learn why employees are really quitting.

Using this knowledge to their benefit, HR managers can set goals for themselves and their company to help retain talent. But the objective of employee retention is more than keeping workers happy. It’s about building a workplace where people can thrive.

Set HR Goals for Employee Retention

When it comes to HR goal setting, decreasing employee turnover should be a priority. Dale Carnegie encourages companies to set employee retention goals in three specific areas: workforce engagement, having leaders with the right skills, and building a positive corporate culture.

1. Engagement

Employees need to be engaged on a daily basis. In a Dale Carnegie research study, two-thirds of respondents who said they practice daily employee engagement also reported lower-than-average turnover. Less than half of leaders who only practice engagement frequently reported lower-than-average turnover. Employee engagement matters.

Goal setting to increase employee engagement might include:

  • Recruitment goals. Goal setting for recruiters should include making it a priority to find the right candidate—one who matches the company, not just the job requirements. Good retention starts with attracting the right talent.

  • Hiring goals. In a 2018 Jobvite survey of 1500 workers, 33% quit their job within the first 90 days. Start new employees off on the right foot with clear communication and a smooth onboarding process.

  • Job satisfaction goals. How happy is each employee in their current role? Employees are more engaged with work they find both interesting and important. As an HR manager, you can help ensure each person is in the position best suited to their talents.

  • Disengagement goals. It sounds counterintuitive, but employees need time away from work to give work their all. Promoting employee mental health in the workplace will lead to better engagement.

2. Leadership

According to Gallup, 52% of employees who voluntarily left a job said their manager could have done something to prevent them from leaving. How leadership interacts with workers in a company can significantly impact employee retention.

Goal setting surrounding leadership may include:

  • Training goals. Make it a goal to develop communication and other skills amongst managers and supervisors. This could include both internal and external training programs.

  • Promotion goals. According to SHRM, employees promoted within three years of starting with a company are 70% more likely to stay. Rather than look outside for management talent, make it a goal to promote internally first.

  • Collaboration goals. Many workplace initiatives set by HR require the approval and support of leadership and management’s buy-in. HR managers can strengthen these relationships to ensure a collaborative environment.


Culture is a culmination of the beliefs, values, and behaviours of all employees within a company. Globally, 40% of workers claim workplace culture to be a significant factor in their choice to join or not join a company. Implement goals in HR to have the right company culture, which can help attract and retain top talent.

Goal setting that influences company culture may include:

  • Evaluation goals. Existing company culture can and should be evaluated frequently. Make it a priority to understand the existing culture with surveys, metrics gathering, and third-party tools.

  • Diversity goals. According to Deloitte, diversity in the workforce can lower turnover by 22%. Despite of common misconceptions, there are simple actions leaders can take to build a culture Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

  • Employee Experience goals. Employee experience (EX) is influenced by all work interactions (colleagues, managers, HR, executives). As an HR manager, you can help facilitate these relationships to create a positive company culture.

  • Recognition goals. In an SHRM/Globoforce survey, 68% of respondents said their workforce recognition program created a good culture that positively impacted retention rates. Implement programs in your own company to reward and recognize employees.

When it comes to employee retention, companies need to take stock and create goals around helping workers stay. HR smart goals should concentrate on employee engagement, training top leaders, and providing a positive company culture.

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