What is the employee life cycle?

What is the employee life cycle?

5 October 2023

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Depending on which research and expert articles you read, the employee life cycle is a process including between 7 and 11 stages that tracks an employee’s journey through the time of their employment with a company. Indeed defines the employee life cycle as, “a model that helps professionals in human resources and business development to visualise the employee experience throughout their time with an organisation”.

The number of stages in the employee life cycle will be determined by each organisation and its own internal processes. Some companies may combine stages, and others may separate these out, but regardless of the number of stages, the progress of an employee through a company will be and largely be the same.

Here, we outline the most common stages of the employee life cycle to give you a better understanding of the process. Let’s dive right in!

Stage 1 – Attraction

How a company is perceived and how it markets itself as an employer of choice is the key element of the first stage of the employee life cycle. At the Attraction stage, the future employee isn’t actually directly interacting with the company at all. They are however gathering information, so the image a company portrays to the outside world is crucial.

Job seekers have a wealth of information available at their fingertips and can quickly build a picture of what working somewhere is like via Glassdoor, Linkedin, Trustpilot and Google Reviews. People also find out about companies via contacts, friends and family. If your employer brand is poor, your business will struggle to attract the quantity and quality of candidates needed to be successful, so getting this right is vitally important.

Employers can improve attraction by various means. A professional, easy-to-navigate website is a must. That website should communicate to potential employees what it is like to work there, what the benefits are, what career progression is like and the company culture. Social media is also a great way for a company to increase attraction, so you might want to consider using short video clips of employees talking about their own employee journey or even a day in the life of style video.

Stage 2 – Recruitment

The Recruitment stage of the employee lifecycle includes all the steps required to recruit a new starter and the candidate experience. In this stage, potential recruits will first find details of a relevant vacancy. This could be through word of mouth, an advert on an online jobs board or the company website, or a social media post. Once they’ve decided to apply, the journey then tips into the application experience and how user friendly and effective that is. According to a study by Glassdoor, many companies have a drop off rate of around 80% during the application process, so organisations need to get this element of the lifecycle right or risk missing out on talent.

After application, the recruitment process goes through sifting or shortlisting, interviewing and any other selection methods to assess a candidate’s suitability for the vacant role. This is very much a two way process as the candidate needs to ensure that the employer is right for them and their career aspirations, and the employer wants to determine that the candidate they hire fits with their team and their culture, and has the right skills, experience and qualities to bring success.

Stage 3 – Onboarding & Induction

Once a recruitment decision has been made, the Onboarding & Induction stage commences. At this point, the employee is preparing to start in their new role. Indeed rightly points out onboarding involves, “welcoming the employee, providing them with essential information and giving them the necessary tools to work effectively”.

Things for employers to consider here include keeping in touch with the new starter during the stage between the offer and them actually beginning their new role, as this helps to build excitement and engagement. Providing useful company information here is also a good idea and if you can get all the paperwork done before day one, it means your new starter can hit the ground running.

Once the new hire is actually through the door, the induction can start. Induction involves a degree of orientation to new surroundings, ensuring that the new employee has everything they need to do their job in terms of hardware and software, and embedding them in your team, your business and its ways of working. Meeting new colleagues, training on processes and helping your new employee to become productive are also key elements of this stage.

Stage 4 – Development

Employee development is a huge part of the employee life cycle, as developing and learning should be regular throughout an employee’s journey. This will allow for their career to progress, so they can develop not only professionally, but also personally.

Employee development comes in many forms and for lots of people, the main development they experience is going on short courses. Development can also include professional qualifications, and less formal development such as coaching, mentoring and feedback, all of which help employees to develop in themselves and their job role.

Employees who benefit from regular and relevant development are likely to be high performers who will help to drive the success of your business. They’re also likely to be engaged and to want to stay with a company which leads nicely onto stage five.

Stage 5 – Retention

With recent research from Culture Amp showing that 20% of UK workers are at “high risk” of leaving their jobs, retention is critical to keeping your business stable and being able to retain staff will extend the employee life cycle. Your business may have staff who it would be difficult to replace, particularly in terms of their skills, knowledge and experience and so it’s important to have strategies designed to keep them working for you.

Some examples of how you could do this include looking after the wellbeing and work life balance of your staff, making sure that they are paid a competitive wage, ensuring they’re recognised and rewarded when they perform well, and ensuring your workplace culture is welcoming, inclusive and allows staff to grow.

Stage 6 – Exit

It’s inevitable that employees will at some point move on from your business. The reasons for the departure can vary but ideally you want this stage of the employee life cycle to be as positive as possible. Leaving on bad terms isn’t good for anyone and sometimes as an employer, you have to put personal feelings aside.

Ensure that once notice has been given, the journey up to the employee’s exit is smooth. Make sure work is handed over, equipment is returned and that you carry out an exit interview to enable the employee to share their thoughts and reasons for leaving. This meeting might be uncomfortable at times but can provide a business with valuable information on how things can be improved, so your employee life cycle can develop and any mistakes can be learned from.

Stage 7 – Advocacy

The final stage of the employee life cycle actually takes place after the employee has left. This stage relates to maintaining positive links with the former employee and that can be through friendships or more formal business relationships.

If a former employee has had a positive experience, they’re likely to recommend a business to someone they know. Conversely, if they have had a negative experience, they may tell friends and family, or post about that experience on social media and that can damage a company’s reputation quickly. It will also make stage one far more difficult from the company’s perspective.

It’s imperative wherever possible to mutually part on good terms and not burn bridges, as both the employer and employee can benefit from a positive relationship at the end of the employee lifecycle.

Speak to us to see how HRX can help

There are many ways in which HRX can help with your employee life cycle. From the recruitment process, to employee development, our HR software can streamline your processes. Why not find out for yourself and sign up to our FREE 30 day trial today. Alternatively, you can contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help.


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