The days of an employee working at one company for their entire career are long gone, and even the most successful employee relationships have a beginning and end. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person will work around 12 jobs and spend an average of four years with each employer.

Providing a positive employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle is key to retaining workers and boosting your reputation as a desirable employer. Let’s take a look at the seven phases of the employee lifecycle, from the first day on the job to the exit interview, and how you can use technology to streamline each one.

Why Having An Employee Lifecycle Strategy Matters

Many companies spend considerable time and effort mapping out the buyer’s journey, and less time thinking about the employee journey. The employee lifecycle refers to the various stages that an employee goes through as they join your company, adapt to their new role, and ultimately leave for the next job in their career path.

Because every company has a slightly different lifecycle, it’s a good idea to map out each stage — for example, by making a recruiting process flow chart for strong hiring.

Here’s how understanding the different stages of the lifecycle can boost employee retention and improve your employer brand among potential new hires.

Increase Employee Engagement

First, proactively managing the employee lifecycle increases employee engagement by meeting employees where they’re at every step of the way. New employees receive the training and support they need, current employees benefit from employee development opportunities, and even former employees can remain part of your network.

Plus, using technology such as employee onboarding automation empowers team members to take a more active role throughout the employee lifecycle.

Build Company Culture

Monitoring the employee life cycle from beginning to end ensures that your company values and company culture shine through. You can use the onboarding process as an opportunity to cultivate a positive work environment, and the offboarding process as a chance to get honest feedback and grow your referral network.

Recognizing that employees have different needs throughout the employee lifecycle allows you to stay prepared to support them along the way.

Reduce Turnover

Some employee turnover is inevitable, but a high turnover rate is a sign that something isn’t right. Maybe you aren’t providing enough professional development opportunities, or employees are leaving because of poor or unsafe working conditions.

Employee lifecycle management can help reduce turnover by identifying issues and giving employees more opportunities for personal and career development.

7 Key Stages of the Employee Lifecycle Model

Employee lifecycle: employee talking to his colleague online

Different employers may use different stages of the employee life cycle model. For example, some include an attraction stage even before the recruitment process begins. For this list, we’ll stick to seven key stages, but you can add or remove stages depending on your organization’s needs and the specifics of your employee lifecycle.

1. Recruitment

The recruitment stage includes everything that happens between a new job posting and an offer of employment. That means writing a job description for each new position that will appeal to top talent, reviewing resumes from potential candidates, and interviewing the most successful job applicants.

Ideally, even unsuccessful candidates will have a positive experience during the hiring process and spread the word to other potential employees. Use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to stay organized during the interview process and to avoid ghosting unsuccessful candidates waiting to hear back from you.

2. Onboarding

The onboarding stage is one of the most important elements of the employee lifecycle because it determines how well your new hires adjust to their new work environment. It can have an ongoing impact on employee performance.

Automating the employee onboarding process can benefit both remote and in-person employees by providing them with a welcoming introduction to your company culture and orienting them to everything they need to know for success in their new role.

3. Development

Even satisfied employees are unlikely to be happy in their new role forever. During the development stage, you work with your employees to provide opportunities for personal and professional advancement. This could take the form of ongoing training initiatives or networking activities to connect them with team members in other departments.

Use workforce analytics to aid in succession planning and to prepare high-performing employees to step into open roles.

4. Retention

A professional development program can help to improve retention rates, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. The retention stage involves considering other factors that lead to employees staying or leaving, as well as providing more incentives for them to stay. This could look like improved employee benefits or an employee recognition program.

Don’t just guess what employees want — use surveys and interviews to get employee feedback and identify issues before an employee leaves.

5. Performance Management

The next stage of the employee lifecycle is performance management: that is, ensuring that your employees are always doing their best work, and implementing a performance improvement plan if they aren’t. Performance management can overlap with employee disciplinary action, especially if the performance issues are related to other workplace issues like employee misconduct or absenteeism.

Use standardized forms and templates when conducting performance reviews or taking disciplinary action to avoid allegations of bias or favoritism.

6. Leave Management

No one ever wants to deal with a workplace injury or medical emergency, but chances are your employees will need to take a leave of absence at some point in the employee lifecycle. In some cases, it may be for a celebratory reason, such as to become a new parent or to take a sabbatical or personal leave of absence.

Your human resources team needs to be ready to handle everything from managing FMLA leave to filing a workers’ comp claim. Employees with a disability may also be eligible for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

7. Offboarding

The last stage in the employee lifecycle is the offboarding process, which takes place when the employee leaves their role for good. This may be in order to retire, pursue educational opportunities, or to accept a better offer elsewhere, but it could also be because they were unhappy in their role or with their working conditions.

The offboarding process can be awkward, so HR professionals need to be skilled at asking the right questions to get constructive feedback. Use an exit interview or exit survey to find out how you could have provided a better employment experience.

Navigate Each Stage of the Employee Lifecycle With Pulpstream

Employee shaking hands with his manager

The employee lifecycle starts when you begin recruiting potential candidates for a new position and ends when they leave their role at your company. Along the way, you’ll need to prepare to guide employees through the onboarding, development, and retention processes, as well as other stages of the employee lifecycle. Although some of these responsibilities may fall to your HR team, many team members are involved in delivering a positive employee and candidate experience.

A cloud-based ER management platform like Pulpstream can help you easily manage the employee relations process. With fully customizable digital workflows, you can track every event in the employee lifecycle and use data to inform hiring decisions.

Plus, Pulpstream integrates with your human resources information system (HRIS) and other tools that you’re already using, and is fully-compliant with HIPAA, HITRUST, and other security standards. Request a demo to see it in action and learn more!