The employee life cycle (ELC) is an HR model that keeps track of an employee's full path while working for your company. It starts when a prospective employee learns about your brand and continues up to their last day on the job. The ELC considers not only attraction and offboarding but also hiring and onboarding, retention, career advancement, and the general employee experience throughout their employment with you.
Understanding the employee life cycle and how it affects overall performance, engagement, and retention levels in your firm is a component of your work as an HR professional. Because it involves your organization's most important asset—its people—effective life cycle management is key. According to recent research, one of the most significant business trends this year is employee life cycle management and the overall employee experience.
The phrase employee life cycle, in essence, refers to a worker's tenure at the company. During the course of managing an employee's life cycle, you may need to make use of software designed for talent management. Consequently, it is frequently referred to as the life cycle or the HR cycle.
You'll be able to recruit and keep the best candidates and improve the performance of your business once you know how to interact with your staff at every stage of the employee life cycle.
The Importance of an Employee Life Cycle
Employing, managing, and advancing people through their careers is the employee life cycle. An effective employee life cycle attempts to maximize the value of each person's time spent working for your company by including chances for training and professional growth in each employee's career path.
The employee life cycle is essential for several reasons:
- It offers you the chance to spot issues, and take care of them.
- It enables you to prepare for necessities like succession planning or hiring new workers.
- It allows you to develop a methodical framework for staff development within your business.
Stages of the employee life cycle
Image Source: Personio, 2022
1. Attraction: Creating the first impression
An employee's connection with you does not begin when they report to work. It doesn't even begin when they sign an employment contract or submit a job application. It begins the moment they are introduced to your employer's brand for the first time.
Great HR leaders are aware of the need to establish the proper organizational culture. Using the cultural web model, for example, you can observe how organizational structures, processes, rules, tales, and symbols affect how workers interact with one another.
The next step is to promote this culture to the rest of the globe! You will have won the favor of potential employees.
Recommendations from current or previous employees are invaluable. The popularity of GlassDoor is due to this. However, clever potential employees will also review your rules about equality and diversity, your approach to mental health at work, and your maternity leave policy. They will also consider your views on overtime pay, illness benefits, unpaid time off, and even work-life balance (if you make this information available publicly).
2. Recruitment: Recruiting the best talent
Recruitment is the next phase of the employee life cycle. Most employees will build their initial opinion of you as an employer during this transitional period from job application to employment.
Here are some ideas to think about:
- Don't waste anyone's time by being vague about the skills and abilities you're seeking.
- Engage your current staff. Please encourage your existing staff to recommend potential hires.
- To remain a competitive employer and help you draw top employees, provide attractive benefits and salaries.
3. Onboarding: Starting well
Following recruitment, onboarding is a crucial stage that includes everything required to transform your candidate into a high-performing, acclimated employee. Onboarding involves a lot, and it's not simple. It includes explaining the complexities of the employee's new position, performing administrative duties, and exposing them to your company culture. But it might mean the difference between a team member who thrives and leaves early or one who struggles.
You will have mastered this phase of the employee life cycle if you adhere to these rules while onboarding new employees:
- Make the procedure ongoing.
The onboarding process shouldn't end after a month or two. Even though this will probably be the most demanding stage of onboarding, forcing a hard end to it leaves employees feeling abandoned. Instead, incorporate onboarding components, such as routine check-ins and training updates or refreshers, that last for at least the first year.
b. Incorporate coaching
Having a coach or mentor can make all the difference for new employees joining your company. A boss or even a more experienced peer might be designated as a coach and will be there in good times and bad. So, establish a formal coaching program.
c. Clearly state the position of the employee
Even though it might seem obvious that they won't be successful if they are not clear on what their job includes. Confusion and irritation will result from poorly written job descriptions or from neglecting to express the expectations and obligations of the new employee clearly. Discuss and illustrate everything relevant to the employee's position in detail, and encourage them to ask questions early and frequently to get clarification on anything they are unclear about.
d. Include personnel other than recent hires
Not just new hires must complete onboarding. Onboarding is necessary due to organizational shifts. Getting back up to speed and reorienting themselves is a challenge for employees returning after parental or medical leave, changing from part-time to full-time employment, or even rejoining the company after a break elsewhere. Ignoring these individuals could leave them feeling unwanted.
4. Retention: Retaining top and key talent
The fourth employee life cycle stage focuses on maintaining employee happiness.
The easiest method to accomplish this is through a rewards and recognition program. Building a loving and encouraging culture is also essential to promote employee engagement and happiness.
- Place a priority on developing relationships with your staff.
- Encourage a respectful and open workplace environment.
- Encourage communication between all team members.
- Ask employees for their opinions.
- Assess the team's morale.
- Recognize the driving forces behind each employee.
5. Development: Strategic professional development
Everything that aids in the development of your employees within your company, from career advancement to the acquisition of new skills, is included in the employee life cycle development stage. This stage of the employee life cycle is when your company may achieve new heights. Professional growth benefits everyone on your team by enabling them to accomplish goals they never believed they could.
Every phase of the employee life cycle is impacted by how successfully your employees are developed. Every employee wants to work for a firm that supports their progress, so if your company shows your employees that you are invested in them, they will be considerably more likely to stay with you. Even workers who leave your company will never forget how you helped them along the way and will want to return the favor in any way they can.
Workforce development starts with a continuous learning strategy that sees every activity and day as an opportunity to learn something new or to develop a skill. Encourage staff to take advantage of professional growth opportunities. Additionally, it would help if you promoted knowledge exchange inside your company through coaching and regular gatherings where staff members can share knowledge.
Additionally, rewarding your staff members for achieving their growth objectives can keep them eager to learn.
A learning management system (LMS), a platform that makes it easier to manage and deliver online training materials in several forms, is another helpful technology you should consider implementing. It enables your staff to access it from any location and further their education whenever and wherever it is practical for them to do so.
6. Offboarding: All things come to an end
The individual leaves their current position at this point in their career for various reasons, including a new position, retirement, layoffs, personal reasons, or termination. In any case, the offboarding process must be documented and follow the correct protocols.
Offboarding is essential for assisting firms in upholding a solid corporate reputation and obtaining insightful feedback from departing employees. In turn, this information aids businesses in strengthening HR procedures and employee retention.
Employee life cycle surveys
It would help if you had a mechanism to survey team members at every step of their development because the factors contributing to employee engagement differ for each team member and change over time. Surveys on the employee life cycle might help you achieve just that. Life cycle surveys can shed light on how employees feel about your business at critical junctures in their careers, such as when they've just started, been promoted, or decided to quit.
Your team members will be more willing to share their genuine opinions of your business if you use an employee engagement solution that completely anonymizes and protects all responses.
Trends in employee life cycle tools
Artificial intelligence (AI) and 360-degree feedback are two notable trends in recent years. Peers, superiors, and subordinates all provide anonymous online feedback to employees as part of 360-degree feedback. Although they have gained popularity, these feedback methods are not without debate. Such software tools, according to critics, weaken employee confidence and teamwork.
Supporters assert that it offers candid and frank comments. Meanwhile, the usage of AI has begun to permeate many phases of the employee life cycle. Because it makes it easier for recruiters to quickly sift through large numbers of applications and, presumably, reduces prejudice in the initial screening phase, it first gained popularity for use in talent acquisition.
An employee's career advancement is known as the employee life cycle. The hiring and onboarding process is the first step, followed by the training and development process and exit. Particular concerns must be addressed at each level to guarantee that workers have the most positive experiences possible while working for your company.
Milton Jack is a Business Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
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