How To Retain Key Employees in The New Year

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “How To Retain Key Employees in The New Year”

It’s that holiday time of the year. I’m not talking about how to hire help in advance of the busy season. This post is about how to stop the exodus of employees that happens after the new calendar year starts.

You may not be aware of the trend, but employees often think about personal makeovers as part of their New Year’s Resolutions. These makeovers can include looking for a new job. Why? Because your team members probably took time over the holiday break to think about their personal goals. Maybe they want to make more money. Maybe they’re looking for bigger challenges professionally. Or, perhaps they want to use a skill that has come into play in their current job.


In the current job market, you can’t afford to be blindsided by the departure of key employees. Elle Mason, writing for bonus​.ly, cautions that managers should always be paying attention to employee needs. If you canvas team members on a regular basis about what they’d like to achieve, you can put a plan in place. The start of the year might be the perfect time to offer employees professional education.

Talk with them about skill development that they can start on now. Stay in touch with them as they achieve specific goals, either by attending conferences or taking classes. And, when they complete critical tasks, offer them additional opportunities for advancement. Perhaps they can fill in while you’re recruiting for an open position or for someone who’s on leave.


Despite your best efforts, employees do leave. If they’ve made the decision to relocate because their spouse has a great offer, you have a position to fill. You’re often faced with the need to hire a new employee at the most inconvenient time.

One way to ease the pain is to keep a list of potential candidates on hand. As you meet impressive professionals at conferences and other events, always be networking. Be willing to talk about your company and what you do for employees.

Don’t be afraid to build your brand. Of course, you do plenty of that when you're marketing products and services. You can also promote what it’s like to work at your company. Use social media to show how your employees spend their company-​paid volunteer time. Mason suggests adjusting the holiday party to reflect the kind of values you want to show potential recruits. Should it be a family-​friendly or employee recognition event to demonstrate your caring culture? You decide.

Take steps now to retain your valuable employees going into next year by emphasizing professional development and recognition. And don’t leave the future to chance. Reach out and maintain connections with potential new hires.