The Phases of the Employee Lifecycle

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Phases of the Employee Lifecycle

Employees are the backbone of any great organisation. Having an outstanding product or service can only take a company so far if its employees feel under-appreciated or have a negative experience. As a result, it is imperative that the employees' time within an organisation is considered as alifecycle'.

What is the Employee Lifecycle?

The employee lifecycle model represents the stages in which an employer and employee establish a relationship. [1] This model is continuous as the word cycle suggests. Understanding how the various stages integrate can supercharge employee-employer relationships. Each employee has different needs depending on which stage in the lifecycle they are in. Subsequently, it is important to consider all scenarios.

What Is the Importance of Designing an Employee Life Cycle Model?

Reviewing and planning around an employee life cycle can help your business take steps to improve the overall employee experience, employee engagement and team morale. Doing so can also improve company culture, which can positively affect employee performance and customer loyalty.

Apart from those, designing an employee life cycle strategy can help you:

  • Retain top talent
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Improve brand reputation
  • Find new hires

Recruitment stages of the employee lifecycle strategy and retention are also tied to the company's bottom line. On average, an employer spends $4,000 to hire a new worker. However, a company that works to keep its current employees will have fewer positions to fill over time, which means they will spend less on recruitment.

Once a new team member passes the interview process and has gone through training, they undergo professional development that makes them even more valuable to the company.

What Are the Stages of the Employee Life Cycle?

The classic employee life cycle model has six stages:

  • Attraction
  • Recruitment Stage
  • Pre-boarding and Onboarding Process
  • Engagement and Development
  • Retention
  • Separation

1. Employee Attraction Stage

The attraction phase is the first of the employee lifecycle stages. It is also the only stage of employee life cycle that occurs before you have an open position in the company. Also called the employer brand, it refers to a projection of the image that your company has a fantastic company culture and is a great place to work. This should be in the minds of both your current employees and key stakeholders.

The attraction phase isn't simply listing an open position to attract new hires; this phase is a reflection of how well your organisation attracts the right talent. Creating a strong reputation that reflects a great workplace culture is ideal when it comes to wanting the best talent to seek your organisation out.

A study of over 600,000 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and athletes discovered that high performers are 400% more productive than average ones; with this in mind attracting the right talent is vital. [1]

There are several ways to build a great employer brand:

+ Raise brand awareness by having your HR professionals and company managers attend seminars and contribute to industry magazines and blogs.

+ Establishing great company values will encourage existing and former employees to tell others about how great it is to work for your company.

+ Be competitive with your benefits and compensation to appeal to the top talent in your industry.

2. Employee Recruitment Stage

The recruitment phase is entered once your company has identified a demand and sets out to recruit talent.

An efficient recruitment process can be a strategic weapon for organisations. A good process ensures that top talent is identified, and swiftly interviewed so that open roles do not linger and cause the business issues internally. A poor recruitment process will leave open unfilled positions, or even worse it may lose talent the organisation has worked so hard to recruit. Nearly half (49%) of job seekers working in in-demand fields like technology say they've turned down an offer because of a bad experience during the hiring process. [2]

Today, the recruitment process is more intensive than ever, however, organisations can benefit from automating the process, including scheduling interviews and follow-ups.

Here are some key tips to remember for your recruitment stage:

+ Ask your current workers to refer a new employee that they believe could be a perfect role for the role you are trying to fill.

+ Be specific about the qualities and skills you are looking for in candidates.


3. Pre-Boarding & Employee Onboarding Stage

The pre-boarding phase includes engaging with your new hires before they officially begin their first day on the job. Onboarding, however, continues after the employee's first day.

A pre-boarding program encompasses any engagement with the employee before their first day. This short time frame is an opportune moment to start the employee-employer relationship on a positive note. It can be as easy as allowing new employees to engage with their line manager, or sending them a welcome message prior to their first day. Forming a comprehensive pre-boarding plan is a great way to jumpstart your employee's experience, right from the very beginning. Check out one of our previous blog posts on pre-boarding for some tips.

Much like pre-boarding, a bad onboarding experience can ruin the beginning of what could have been a great relationship. However, a positive onboarding program covering set-up of technology, introductions and company briefings can set an employee up for success.

Here are some key strategies you can employ during the onboarding process:

+ Have a job description that lists the most important duties of the role, as well as any skills needed to succeed in the position.

+ Remember to schedule follow-ups or face-to-face meetings with each new employee to check whether there are challenges that make it difficult for them to stay engaged or integrate with the team.

4. Engagement and Employee Development Stage

This is perhaps the most forgotten or neglected phase of the lifecycle due to its carryover to other phases. When settled into their roles, employers and their employees should have a plan for engagement and development that can include professional or personal growth.

Many employees seek opportunities for development in their roles, and without any, the risk for employees to experience dissatisfaction increases, as does the risk of losing good talent. Deloitte identified that lack of career progress was the top reason for employees to seek new employment. [3] Additionally, more than a third (37%) of candidates said they'd be willing to take a pay cut for a chance to learn new skills. [2] This stage has a strong direct impact on the next phase of the lifecycle, employee retention.

Here are key tips to help you improve the professional development stage of your employee lifecycle:

+ Encourage external learning by giving your team members the chance to attend relevant conferences and seminars. If possible, offer a company-covered budget for their own initiated event attendance.

+ Reward employees who take steps to learn outside their normal work hours that can benefit their future career path.

5. Employee Retention Stage

Modern day businesses are constantly faced with challenges to retain employees, this phase should be regarded as an ongoing effort. Many leaders conduct “stay interviews” or “stay plans” for employees, which involve discussing one-on-one with employees on what measures can help keep them engaged and motivated.

The costs associated with loss of employees are multifaceted. Replacing an employee can potentially cost 150% of the annual salary or more. Additionally, it is impossible to quantify the costs associated with losing the organisational knowledge that employees had. [4]

Some strategies you can do to improve employee retention include:

+ Seek out honest feedback from your employees. This can significantly improve team morale. You can do this through employee pulse surveys.

+ Understand what motivates various team members. Doing so will ensure that you give them the tools they need to remain engaged and happy in their role.

6. Employee Separation Stage

This is the final stage of your employee's lifecycle. An employee's departure from your company should be regarded as an opportunity to encourage communication and listen during an exit interview, which can offer insight and help improve the experience employees have moving forward. [5]

If an employee suddenly separates from the organisation, there are a few things you can do to minimise the disruption and its effect on your overall team morale:

+ Ask for employee feedback. This is a great opportunity for your Human Resources department to learn whether there are issues in the work environment that may negatively affect employee journey.

+ Understand whether the resignation was brought about by personal reasons or if it was due to a certain factor in the work environment.

Ultimately, wanting happy and loyal employees is enough reason to manage the employee relationship, but increased productivity and a lower turnover rate are a huge bonus. When your HR team hones in on each stage of the employee lifecycle, it increases employee motivation, cultivates loyalty, and creates a thriving workplace culture that can propel a business. Good employee separation can also be used as a marketing tool for organisations, if employees leave on great terms thinking well of the business it is likely to positively impact the attraction stage of the lifecycle.

Manage your employee's experience every step of the way. Try Qualee for free today with the Starter Plan to find out how to engage your employees as they journey through the employee lifecycle.


[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/attracting-and-retaining-the-right-talent#

[2] https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/workforce-of-the-future/hr-recruiting.html

[3] https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/mx/Documents/about-deloitte/Talent2020_Employee-Perspective.pdf

[4] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236294/millennials-job-hoppers-not.aspx?g_source=link_NEWSV9&g_medium=TOPIC&g_campaign=item_&g_content=Many%2520Millennials%2520Are%2520Job-Hoppers%2520--%2520But%2520Not%2520All

[5] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/three-degrees-of-separation-how-to-successfully-execute-divestitures

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