Employee retention: Why you should care and how to do it right

employee retention

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The world of work has taken some hits in the past 12 months. The most drastic disruption to fundamental workplace practices was the move from office-based to remote working — a shift that, for many, will stretch far into the future and define a ‘new normal’. In order to retain top performers in this new environment, employers must understand the implications of COVID-19 on employee retention and what they can do to facilitate quality outcomes going forward.

The traditional drivers of engagement and retention have all transformed into something new. But how can we utilise these retention drivers to motivate a weary workforce?

Employee retention — why should you care?

There are many elements that contribute to employee retention, but the three key ways to hold onto people for longer are to provide them with suitable performance parameters, to offer career paths and to reward hard work. 

To achieve high-level retention and engagement, employers must consider four essential building blocks: performance management, remuneration, rewards and recognition, and succession management. 

To these, of course, you could add learning and development, clear purpose and values, inspirational and transparent leadership, great communication, the ability to give back to the community, great perks and benefits, etc. 

Let’s take a look at the four main components of engaging and retaining employees.

Performance management 

Performance management is a key building block for maximising retention efforts. Indeed, post-COVID-19, performance management involves a new set of considerations and requires a different approach.

With the right people onboard, it’s possible to emerge from this pandemic in a stronger position than ever before. Download ELMO’s free eBook today to help ensure your retention rates soar.

The benefits of effective performance management are generally known: improved motivation, morale and productivity; clarity around goals and objectives; the ability to identify the need for and measure the effectiveness of training; and the ability to identify top performers as well as those who are under-performing or are flight risks. All of these are crucial in uncertain times.

Rewards and recognition 

A solid rewards and recognition program acts as a motivational incentive for employees — especially when times have been tough. Luckily, there are many low-cost ways organisations can show appreciation for hard-working employees.

An effective rewards and recognition program is one of the main drivers of employee engagement — and a major factor in an employee’s decision to stay with or leave a company. As our economies heal from the pandemic, such programs are critical as they can bolster productivity and morale.


During the height of the pandemic, remuneration planning was likely put on the backburner. But now the time has come to bring it back into focus. By building a new remuneration strategy, organisations can realign employee benefits, remain compliant and, of course, enhance employee engagement.

A smart way to make remuneration budgets go further is to build a total rewards strategy, which rewards employees who achieve specific goals. A total rewards approach is about more than monetary reward — it combines a mix of compensation, benefits and learning and development opportunities. 

A total rewards strategy can help spark motivation within a weary and downtrodden workforce.

Succession management

As organisations look towards recovery, they must assess how their succession plans have been affected. Now is the time to go back to the drawing board, identify top talent and critical roles, and prepare future leaders to accelerate growth.

Business leaders must ask themselves: have potential successors been impacted, and are there risky gaps or holes in the original succession plan that need to be closed quickly? Just as critically, as the job market improves, are ‘flight risk’ employees more prevalent?

Employee retention: How technology is changing the game

COVID-19 has changed the way we work in both the short and long-term. Remote working has become normalised and the way people are managed — and what they expect from work — has shifted. 

In order to rebuild, organisations must re-imagine their employee retention strategies. Only then will they retain their top performers and attract top talent.

Fortunately, technology has streamlined the key steps and tasks associated with performance management, succession management, rewards and recognition, and remuneration reviews, as well as countless other areas that are vital to staff retention.

By leveraging industry expertise, you can maximise your retention efforts and accelerate business growth.

NOW READ: Taking the pulse of workplaces Australia-wide

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ELMO Software

ELMO (ASX:ELO) is Australia and New Zealand’s only integrated cloud HR, payroll and rostering/time and attendance solution. We provide innovative technology to more than 1600 organisations across APAC, helping them to manage, engage, and inspire their people from one platform with a single dashboard and reporting suite.

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