Every employee within your company is unique. Each has the potential to impact your business in a different way. Likewise, your organizational processes and culture will affect each individual differently.
HR teams commonly use the employee life cycle model to manage employee experiences and boost engagement. By focusing on specific metrics at every stage of the employment life cycle, companies seek to ensure productivity, and professional fulfillment in their teams, while simultaneously collecting valuable data to improve operational efficiency.
But, what exactly is the employee life cycle? How does it work? And how can organizations utilize employee life cycle management effectively? Find out in our helpful guide.
What is the Employee Life Cycle?
The employee life cycle is also often referred to as the HR life cycle. The model tracks an employee’s journey with a company as they advance through various phases of employment. A typical employee life cycle flowchart encompasses six stages:
Why is an Employee Life Cycle Model Beneficial?
From an employee perspective, working for an organization that cares about employee life cycle phases provides consistency. Knowing the series of steps involved in their career journey from the start provides structure, feedback, and reassurance that their employer is actively focused on their professional goals and satisfaction, not just the bottom line.
From a company perspective, analyzing employee data and feedback at each stage can improve employee journeys, increase staff retention rates, and improve brand reputation. Studying the life cycle of an employee helps companies update and improve internal policies and procedures because the model effectively highlights areas for improvement. For example, if a business achieves high engagement rates in attraction, recruitment, and onboarding phases but has a higher than average staff turnover rate, HR teams know to focus their efforts on the development and retention phases to find a solution. Ultimately, this will save time and money on expensive recruitment drives. Also, demonstrating that you care about their career journey sets you apart as an employer of choice, helping you attract even more talent for your teams.
The 6 Stages of the Employee Life Cycle
Each stage in the employee life cycle plays a critical role in professional development and can provide invaluable information about:
- How employees hear about your company
- How they were recruited and onboarded
- Why they stay
- How their time with you has impacted them
Let’s look at each phase of the cycle in more detail.
This is the only phase of the employment life cycle that takes place before you even advertise a vacancy. Some HR professionals refer to this phase as the ‘Employer Brand,’ because it essentially relies on creating a positive external image to attract top talent (without which, your business may fail).
The attraction phase also involves developing and maintaining a positive internal image among current employees and stakeholders. After all, there’s nothing like word-of-mouth recommendations to increase your application rate and bolster your brand reputation as an employer that cares about employee satisfaction and well-being.
The recruitment phase is a two-way street. Yes, it’s where you want to find and select the best new hires, but it’s also a chance for candidates to get to know you better and decide whether your organization is the right fit for them. Research shows that the average job search can cost a company up to 200% of an employee’s salary.
A well-structured plan for onboarding gives new employees all the information they need to:
- Familiarize themselves with their new role
- Understand the company’s philosophies and goals
- Learn about progression opportunities
- Engage with other employees
- Feel like part of the team
However, effective onboarding doesn’t just ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’ on documentation and introduce the company culture. Successful onboarding programs are flexible and person-centric.
No matter how long an employee stays with your organization, they need to feel valued to remain engaged and motivated to perform. Demonstrating commitment to professional development and personal growth within the company shows employees that you are just as invested in their career goals as they are. It also encourages them to stay with you longer.
This is arguably the most important of all the employee life cycle phases. You’ve gone through all the effort to attract, recruit, onboard and develop the best people for your teams. But after all of that time and investment, how do you keep top employees from jumping ship to a competitor? Employee satisfaction. That is the key to creating long-lasting professional relationships and retaining top talent.
Organizations should look at every employee as a long-term investment from recruitment right up until retirement. However, despite all of your best efforts, some employees will inevitably decide to move on — whether to pursue career opportunities elsewhere, focus on family, or return to full-time education, etc. The offboarding phase of the employee life cycle is your opportunity to turn every outbound employee into a lifelong supporter of your organization. Plus, the data and feedback you collect will help you adapt processes throughout all the other stages to continue optimizing for success.
Employee Life Cycle Management: Tips for Retaining Staff
By learning how to bolster confidence and engagement at every stage, employee satisfaction and retention can be improved across the board. Here’s our list of top tips to prime your business for success at every stage of the HR life cycle.
While some businesses think talent attraction is somewhat out of their control, there are several steps you can take to increase engagement:
- Encourage employee recognition – Making employee recognition a priority improves your internal employer brand and significantly increases the chance of current employees and stakeholders endorsing you to potential new hires. This is important, as research shows 92% of people would consider leaving their current position for a job with a company that has a great reputation.
- Foster a positive internal culture – To attract the best talent pool and entice staff away from their current jobs, they need to know they’d be walking into a great working environment. But how do you get that information across to people you don’t know or haven’t yet met? One of the best ways is for existing employees to spread the word about how much they love their jobs at your company. Another is to share cultural insights and snippets on your social media platforms, blogs, etc.
- Offer attractive incentives – The benefits you can offer will depend on the size and structure of your organization. However, by positioning yourself as a welcoming and flexible company that cares about employee work-life balance, you have a much better chance of attracting the best candidates. The most sought-after benefits include:
- Remote working options
- Flexible hours
- Paid time off
- Family leave
- Retirement benefits
- Help with student loans
- Increase brand awareness – Having a robust online presence is vital. Your corporate website and social media platforms are usually the first places candidates will interact with your brand. So make sure they are up to date, professional, and say all the right things to stimulate interest. You should also consider having senior staff members attend conferences, participate in webinars, or speak at local events to showcase their knowledge and boost your corporate profile.
- Find out what current employees love – By utilizing employee life cycle surveys, you can identify what attracted your existing team in the first place, what they love about working for you, and why they stay. Then focus on these factors in your attraction efforts.
Whether you’re replacing a position that’s become vacant or hiring for a brand new job role, the best practices for this phase are the same:
- Be specific – Vague employment ads are unlikely to attract the best candidates. Plus, if you don’t specifically address pre-requisites, it only wastes time for both parties in the long run.
- Be transparent – Let your applicants know where they stand at each stage of the process. Provide feedback, let them know you’ll be in touch next, and stick to those deadlines.
- Prioritize diversity and inclusion – Diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee, are more innovative, and 87% better at decision making. Use diverse interview panels to eliminate bias, and don’t restrict yourself to advertising through a limited number of channels.
- Offer remote recruiting – Remote interviews save candidates travel and time and enable recruiters to decide whether they want to progress to a face-to-face meeting.
- Ask for referrals – One of the best ways to find new employees is to ask for recommendations from your existing in-house teams.
- Utilize recruitment surveys – Ask your newest recruits what they liked and didn’t like about the process, and what they’d change.
Making new hires feel welcome and supporting a smooth transition is crucial. Follow these steps to create the best onboarding experiences:
- Make it fun – 58% of organizations say their onboarding program focuses on processes and paperwork.
- Make it personal – Videos and written messages can be pre-prepared and personalized to maximize inclusion and engagement.
- Make it continuous – Onboarding shouldn’t be a ‘one time and done’ affair. Set up regular 1:1 check-ins to assess progress and give new hires the chance to ask and answer questions.
- Assign coaches and mentors – Formal coaching and mentoring programs are a great way to integrate new employees into the organizational culture and encourage social interactions.
- Include current staff – It’s just as important to onboard returning staff so their transition into company life is streamlined when they come back from parental or medical leave, or switch between part-time and full-time rolls, etc.
Extend the life cycle of an employee by following professional development best practices that focus on:
- Clear targets – Employee goals should be concise, realistic, and link directly to broader business objectives. Remember to make your goal-setting criteria SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely).
- Monitoring and evaluation – Provide and gather regular feedback about progress, areas of concern, and suggestions for improvements.
- Leadership planning – Creating leadership development plans shows employees you have a long-term vision for them within the company.
- External learning opportunities – Make time for employees to attend conferences, seminars, and industry meet-ups to network and form external industry connections.
- Personalized professional development – Not every employee follows the same trajectory. Some staff will benefit from operational development programs that help increase profitability or improve customer service. For others, career-based training that focuses on planning, problem-solving, delegating, decision-making, effective communication, etc., may be more fitting.
- Suitable technology and software – Invest in learning management systems and online courses with materials that can be downloaded and processed at your employees’ own pace.
Concentrate on keeping your best staff with the company for longer by following these steps:
- Get the first phases right – This probably goes without saying, but you’ll naturally lower your staff turnover if you get the first phases of the employee life cycle right. By attracting the right candidates and being clear and concise about roles, responsibilities, and career progression from the beginning, it’s more likely employees will choose to stay and grow with you.
- Maintain a positive company culture – Research shows employee turnover at organizations with rich company cultures is only 13.9%, compared to 48.4% within organizations with poor company cultures. So developing an inclusive and open company culture where everyone can enjoy open and honest relationships is vital.
- Keep a mission focus – To work proactively towards organizational goals and milestones, employees need to be regularly updated on how their roles and accomplishments contribute to the company’s success.
- Be supportive – If employees are experiencing problems, they need to know their issues will be taken seriously. Operating a confidential ‘open door’ policy is an excellent way for staff to voice their needs or concerns. Incorporating mental health management into employee review processes is also beneficial.
- Gather regular feedback – Gathering feedback as often as possible allows you to pinpoint potential issues before they occur and be respond faster when changes are required. Choose from 5-minute stand-up meetings, NPS surveys, pulse surveys, and 360 surveys.
- Identify motivation drivers – Every employee is an individual and will respond differently to various motivational techniques. Getting to know employees as individuals helps managers identify what drives them so they can engage on a personal level. This will encourage enhanced performance and career development.
Having an employee leave the company doesn’t need to be a negative experience. Here are a few tips on managing the offboarding process:
- Have an exit interview – Gain valuable insights and make people feel valued by asking about their reasons for leaving, if they’d recommend you as an employer, and their feedback on other employee life cycle phases.
- Say thank you – Show gratitude for their time and efforts, and wish them well in the next stage of their career journey.
- Leave the door open – Ensure employees know they are welcome back in the future, should their next plans not pan out the way they hope.
- Stay friends – Invite ex-employees to join your alumni network or attend social events with the remaining team.
- Send an exit survey – Staff aren’t always confident giving feedback in person in their exit interview, so follow up with a survey to get more feedback.One of the best ways to improve staff retention is by integrating premium healthcare into your employee benefits packages. Our collaborative approach will help to keep your staff healthy and happy for longer, leaving you to focus your efforts on what matters most – driving your business forward.
One of the best ways to improve staff retention is by integrating premium healthcare into your employee benefits packages. Our collaborative approach will help to keep your staff healthy and happy for longer, leaving you to focus your efforts on what matters most – driving your business forward.
Contact us or request a demo today and learn how your organization can benefit from partnering with Eden Health.