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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 are feeling under-appreciated or are having 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.

The following are the six stages of the employee lifecycle:


1. Attraction

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]


2. Recruitment

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.


3. Pre-boarding & Onboarding

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.


4. Employee Engagement and Development

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.

5. Employee Retention

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 annual salary or more. Additionally, it is impossible to quantify the costs associated with losing the organisational knowledge that employee had. [4]

6. Separation

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]

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 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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