Employee Life Cycle: The Ultimate Guide for HR

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Employee Life Cycle: The Ultimate Guide for HR

Understanding the employee life cycle and knowing how to engage with people in each stage of the cycle enables you to attract the right candidates, optimize your employee experience, and, ultimately, improve productivity and performance at your organization. In this article, we’ll zoom in on the employee life cycle, its seven stages, and how you can ensure that your employees have a great experience in each phase. Let’s dive in!

What is the employee life cycle?
Why is employee life cycle important to get right?
The seven stages of the employee life cycle
– Attraction
– Recruitment
– Onboarding
– Retention
– Development
– Offboarding
– Happy leavers

What is the employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle covers the entire relationship between an employee and the organization they work for. In other words, it describes the different stages an employee goes through from the moment they are hired to when they leave.

The seven stages in an employee life cycle model are:

  • Attraction
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Retention
  • Development
  • Offboarding
  • Happy leavers
Employee Life Cycle with Seven Stages

This employee life cycle model helps you visualize what the employee-employer relationship looks like in your organization. That helps you ensure you include everything you need to set up all your employees for success and keep them happy, engaged, and productive.

How employees feel about what they encounter and observe during each stage of the employee life cycle is the employee experience

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When you understand how the employee life cycle model applies to your organization, it’s easier to make informed decisions that will benefit your employees and the organization.

Understanding the employee life cycle at an organization is essential for the successful management of human capital. It helps organizations understand their employees’ needs, develop strategies to meet those needs, and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to optimize employee productivity and engagement.

With a comprehensive understanding of the employee life cycle, organizations can create meaningful policies and procedures that support the growth and development of their most valuable asset–their people.

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer at Checkr

Why is employee life cycle important to get right?

There are many reasons why the employee life cycle is so important to manage. Here are three of them:

Improving employee experience

Monitoring the different stages of your employee life cycle will ensure that you can offer great experiences to all employees before, during, and after their stay with your company.

You need to cater to the different needs of talent in different employee life cycle phases.

“For instance, when a new employee with much enthusiasm but little understanding of how to specifically accomplish a task starts in their role, they need support both in how to do their job and how to demonstrate the values and behaviors the organization expects and rewards.

This is different from an employee who has successfully been an individual contributor moving into their first management role, who understands the culture but may lack the skills to lead the performance of individuals and teams reporting to them,” says consultant, coach and culture change facilitator Lisa Schmidt.

“When organizations understand that needs shift over time and that different people will need different kinds of support depending on their preferences, experience, and skills, the businesses are able to focus specifically on what will make that particular employee successful and target the programs, services, and development they need.”

Managing the employee life cycle helps you understand how your employees feel about their jobs and the organization. You can identify gaps in your recruiting, onboarding, and retention processes so that you can make changes to fix them. It allows you to see if your organization is doing enough to keep its employees happy—and if it isn’t, what steps you need to take next.

Boosting productivity and organizational performance

Understanding the different stages of your employee life cycle allows you to make changes that will increase productivity and organizational performance. It helps you identify how to motivate your employees —whether it’s through compensation, training programs, or other initiatives.

You can also determine what type of environment your employees prefer working in so that they feel comfortable at all times.

There’s an important business reason to do so – organizations with great employee experience can increase their revenue by over 50%. This is because employees who feel happy and engaged are more productive and perform better.

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Employee retention

A well-designed employee life cycle helps retain employees for longer. For example, strengthening the onboarding stage of the life cycle helps improve new hire retention by 82%.

Continuously improving the employee life cycle and experience can help reduce employee turnover in general, as the current employees feel more engaged and valued. It also helps HR predict when employees are likely to leave so that you can take steps toward retaining them before they leave.

The seven stages of the employee life cycle

The typical employee life cycle model consists of seven stages process, starting with attracting a candidate and ending with a departing employee. Getting each stage right is essential to the overall success of your company, and it’s necessary to understand what each of them comprises so that you can optimize each step for maximum benefit.

Here are the seven steps:

1. Attraction

The attraction phase of the employee life cycle is where you’re trying to attract candidates interested in your job openings, your company, and its mission. You can significantly affect how candidates feel about your organization by the way you communicate. In fact, 3 in 4 job seekers are likely to apply for a job if the organization actively manages its employer brand. It would be best to consider how your employer brand speaks to candidates and how it helps them understand what it’s like to work at your company.

Consider what kind of employer branding strategy will reach the people who would be qualified for jobs with you. You need to know what type of candidates you want to attract and, based on that, craft messaging and use channels that will put you exactly in front of those people.

For example, Siemens is working to change the perception of their company as the maker of washing machines, mobile phones, and home appliances. Instead, they want to be perceived as a digitally-focused company to attract digital talent. They’ve employed a variety of internal and external communication campaigns, including the hashtag #FutureMakers, which people can use to share their stories from Siemens.

HR marketing tactics like segmenting your target audience, utilizing performance marketing, and a multi-channel approach to reach the audience are all useful in the attraction stage of the employee life cycle model.

Employer branding is about much more than simply posting a job ad or emailing your latest job openings. It’s about creating a culture that attracts the right people and helps them to engage in their work so they can perform at their best while working for you. It’s crucial to be authentic and honest about what your organization is like.

For instance, don’t sell your company as an employer that offers flexible work schedules and the opportunity to work remotely if that isn’t the case. To put it another way, when it comes to your employer branding activities, you should walk the talk.

To recap the most critical points in the attraction phase:

  • Be mindful of how your brand speaks to candidates.
  • Have a strong employer brand and career page that speaks to the wants and needs of your target audience
  • Create a culture that attracts the best talent, and then show it off on in your employer branding communication

Metrics to track in the Attraction stage:

Employer branding metrics will help you track the attraction stage of the employee life cycle:

  • Candidate demographics: This metric will help you know who your employer brand attracts. Are you attracting diverse candidates? Do they have the right skills and experience that you need?
  • Career page analytics: This metric will help you know how many people are visiting your career page, where they come from, how long they stay on it, and what actions they take.

2. Recruitment

Recruitment is the second stage of the employee life cycle. It’s all about finding the right people to bring onto your team while providing your applicants with great candidate experience, from learning about the job opening to accepting your offer.

Here are a few pointers on what you can do to optimize this phase:

Job postings

One of the keys to successful recruitment is understanding what kind of candidates you want, then tailoring your job postings to their needs and preferences.

Depending on the audience, the format and style of your job ads may differ. If you aim to attract entry-level candidates via social media, your ad won’t look the same as when your focus is on more senior-level candidates.

Make sure to focus on the responsibilities, opportunities, and characteristics of your ideal candidate rather than requirements. Use inclusive language, as the wording you use has a big impact on the types of candidates you attract.

Certain words appeal more to men and might turn off female candidates, etc.). An example of so-called masculine-coded language – which is proven to be less appealing to female candidates – is the following sentence:

  • You are result-driven.

If you’d rewrite this sentence as ‘You are able to achieve results’, it will evenly appeal to both female and male candidates, hence potentially leading to more gender diversity on the work floor. You can minimize this kind of bias creeping into your job ads with the use of an augmented writing tool.

The application process

It’s essential to have a clear and straightforward application process. Ensure your application process is short and effective by asking for just enough information to determine if an applicant qualifies for further consideration. The more steps required, the less likely applicants will finish them all.

The latest stats indicate that while 83% of Fortune 500 companies require candidates to register before they can even apply for a role, job applications longer than 15 minutes would cause over 70% of applicants to lose interest in applying. What’s more, the average candidate drop-off rate is 92%!

The key to reducing the drop-off rate is to make the application process as straightforward as possible. This includes ensuring you’re asking only the information necessary for someone to apply. You can consider requesting a short video instead of an online form.

With 67% of job applications now being completed on mobile, it’s more important than ever that your application process is accessible on all devices. The good news is there is still time to make changes to your application process. If you still need to do so, consider testing out a mobile-friendly version of your application form and see how it works for candidates. You might be surprised by just how ineffective the process can be, and you’ll know exactly what you need to optimize.

Selection process

The selection process also needs to balance effectiveness with efficiency. You want to hire the right candidate quickly without sacrificing quality. But how do you find that sweet spot between effective and efficient?

It all comes down to two things: ensuring you’re selecting the right candidate in a reasonable time frame for both the candidate and the organization and ensuring your selection process is inclusive and fair across all its stages.

This means evaluating candidates in a fair and transparent way by setting clear and objective selection criteria. It also means ensuring you have a system to remove bias from the hiring process as much as possible.

Seven Steps of Selection Process

Some inclusive hiring practices you can adopt are:

  • Using an applicant tracking system that allows you to screen candidates without immediately revealing their gender identity, disability status, veteran status, or ethnicity
  • Using assessment tools like take-home assignments that allow you to assess the skills relevant to the role in question
  • Standardizing the job interview process and using interview scorecards to evaluate candidates on job-relevant categories
  • Creating diverse interview panels

Inclusive hiring practices also involve using inclusive language in job descriptions and tracking adverse impact. These practices can help you attract and hire a more diverse team.


One of the most important aspects of transparency is being honest and open with your candidates. This includes being upfront about what to expect in the recruitment process and how long it will take. It also includes sharing company values, benefits, culture, and why you’re looking for a new hire.

Refrain from overselling benefits and perks that you can’t provide. Doing so will only lead to disappointment for both sides of the table. It may even cause candidates to question your legitimacy as a company. The same goes for compensation and benefits. If you cannot provide a specific wage or set of benefits, don’t promise them. This will only lead to disappointment and may affect your ability to hire top talent in the future.

To recap the most critical points in the recruitment phase:

  • Understand your candidates and tailor your recruitment strategy accordingly.
  • Keep your application process short, simple, clear, and consistent.
  • Use your recruitment funnel to track how many people are entering, progressing, and exiting the process. Ensure your strategies work together to get the right people at each stage.
  • Adopt a digital approach, and use technology to help you make your operations more efficient.
  • Ensure the selection process is inclusive and fair to build a team of people who will thrive together.

Metrics to track in the Recruitment stage:

Recruiting metrics to track in this stage of the employee life cycle include:

  • Candidate NPS: A candidate Net Promoter Score is a great way to measure the overall satisfaction of candidates with their experience. The scores will show how the candidates perceive your recruitment process and what you need to work on.
  • Offer acceptance rate: The percentage of candidates who accept your job offer. This rate should be high if you’re offering a competitive salary, benefits, and perks. If not, it’s time to reevaluate how you attract talent.
  • Time-to-hire: This is how long it takes from the moment a candidate applies for a job to when they receive an offer. A long time to hire might indicate inefficiencies in your recruitment process.
  • Application completion rate: This is the percentage of candidates who have completed all the necessary steps to apply for your job. If this number is low, your application process needs to be shorter or more straightforward.

3. Onboarding

Employee onboarding is getting new hires up to speed on how the company works and their role in the organization. The onboarding stage of the employee life cycle is where the foundation of the employer-employee relationship is being laid.

Your onboarding process must be tailored to each employee’s needs so that they gain a solid understanding of what they need to do and how they can succeed. The onboarding process should be continuous, with new employees receiving support and guidance as they transition into their roles. However, it’s also about putting new hires’ paperwork in order and ensuring HR compliance.

The more you can do to help new employees feel welcome and supported, the better. This will help them form strong relationships with their coworkers and develop a sense of belonging at work that will help them be successful. Here are some expert tips for getting your onboarding right:


The period between the moment a person signs the employment contract and their first day of employment is called the pre-boarding phase. It’s not uncommon for this period to last several weeks or sometimes even several months.

Stay in touch and engage with your new hires from the moment they’ve signed. Consider already including them in team (WhatsApp) groups and events, sending them relevant reading and practical info, and inviting them to industry or company events.

Ask them what they need to know, such as how their skills align with the position’s requirements and where they can find resources to learn about company culture.

First day of work

When your new hires show up on their first day, make sure that their work equipment, like a laptop or a phone, is in order. Make them feel welcome with a gift like a handwritten welcome note and branded company swag.

Organize an orientation session where they can meet their manager and team, get an overview of what they’ll be working on, and learn more about their benefits packages.

Check-in and adjust

As your new hires get settled and acclimated to their new roles, keep in touch with them regularly. It’s crucial to maintain a strong bond between new hires and the company. Check in with them regularly to ensure they are content and comfortable when they start working. It’s also important to encourage managers to regularly check in with the new hires.

Plan a feedback session after people’s first week, month and quarter, for instance. You can also do less formal check-ins, like having lunch together or walking around the office while they’re working. In short, taking the time during this period is crucial. It helps you catch any problems early and address them before they become more significant.

Ask the new hires how they’re doing, and what they think of their job and the organization so far. Of course, inquire about their onboarding, is there anything they feel is missing? 

Answer any questions about their job and allow them to ask questions about the company. This is also an excellent time to share the company’s goals and expectations for their work with them. This will help keep them motivated and on track when they start working.

Jennifer Patterson, Strategic HR Consultant at Patterson Consulting Group, highlights the importance of communication.

Most importantly, ensure new hires feel like they’re part of your team. If there is any issue, you’ll be able to address this straight away and prevent people from turning into early leavers. 

Structuring your onboarding process

You can use many tools to structure your onboarding process — from a checklist to a video walkthrough or even just a plain old manual. However, onboarding software is one of the most effective ways to structure your onboarding process. It allows you to automate the process and keep it up to date. Structuring your onboarding process with an app or software will help you:

  • Create a consistent, standardized process for onboarding new hires across your organization
  • Send out timely push notifications to complete steps in the process
  • Automate repetitive tasks like sending welcome messages and reviewing documents
  • Make sure all information is up to date

Whatever method you choose, make sure that it’s actionable and easy to follow. You want to give employees the tools they need to succeed at their jobs, but no more than what they need. Too much information can overwhelm them and make them less likely to retain what they’ve learned.

To recap the most critical points in the onboarding phase:

  • Create an onboarding plan that’s specific to your business.
  • Develop an onboarding process that’s easy to follow and understand.
  • Support your new employees from the moment they sign their contract through pre-boarding.
  • Ensure that a smooth transition from hiring to onboarding is made possible by communicating clearly with employees about what you expect of them.
  • Monitor your onboarding metrics and use them to identify areas where you can make improvements.

Metrics to track in the Onboarding stage

Some of the onboarding metrics you can track are:

  • Time to Productivity: This is the amount of time it takes for new employees to become productive at their jobs. This metric can help determine if your onboarding process is effective and efficient. If it takes a long time for people to become productive, you might need to strengthen your new hire training.
  • New Hire Satisfaction: This measures how satisfied new hires are after onboarding. This can help you determine if you’re adequately welcoming new employees and making them feel like they belong in their new roles. It also allows you to identify improvement areas to streamline the process or increase the value it provides for employees.

4. Retention

Employee retention is one of the longest parts of the employee life cycle model. You need to continuously engage your employees to keep them on board. That not only helps you build a stable, productive workforce but also saves you money and time spent on recruiting new employees.

Jacob Morgan, the author of The Employee Experience Advantage, says that the best way to retain employees is by making sure they’re happy and fulfilled in their role at your company.

He identifies three elements that create this experience: technology, culture, and physical space.

Let’s look at them more closely.


The digital employee experience is the new frontier in employee engagement and overall employee experience. It’s become vital as we’ve moved from a world where employees primarily focused on the physical workplace to an increasingly digital one, especially for desk workers.

A recent study in the Harvard Review found that people who feel supported by their technology at work are 230% more engaged and 85% less likely to leave.

This means that your technology needs to support the employee experience by providing information about how to get things done or helping them connect and feel like part of a larger community.

It’s also essential that your technology provides employees with the right tools and information at the correct times. For example, if you want to empower employees to take action themselves instead of waiting for direction, ensure they have access to all the resources they need to do their job well.

Digital Employee Experience Gaining Importance


Culture is a critical component of employee engagement and retention. The culture you create will shape how your employees interact with each other. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your culture is inclusive.

Studies show that people who feel they belong in their workplace are more likely to stay with their organization longer than those who don’t feel like they fit in.

To create an environment where your employees can thrive, you must first understand your organizational culture. Then you can work to transform the culture so that it aligns with your business goals and objectives.

But it’s not just making a culture change. You also want to ensure your work environment is welcoming and inclusive to everyone working there.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) play a significant role in retention. It helps create an inclusive work environment where all employees feel welcome—regardless of race, ethnicity or gender and sexual identity.

To do this, you must ensure all employees feel valued and respected. That’s why fostering an environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves, regardless of what that means for them, is essential.

This is important for retaining your existing employees, as well as for attracting new ones. If your company culture is not inclusive, employees may feel they cannot be themselves at work and may choose to leave.

Physical space

For desk workers, the workplace reality has changed in the post-pandemic era. Many of them work remotely or in a hybrid way. For deskless workers, who are the majority of the workforce, the workplace has remained on-site, but their needs have evolved.

Organizations need to be flexible in their approach to physical space and how they use it, as a company’s physical space can significantly impact employees’ productivity and well-being. Businesses need to create a workspace that feels comfortable and welcoming for all employees—no matter where they work or what they do.

When a business has a welcoming and inclusive physical environment, it sets the tone for how people interact with one another and what kind of culture they create.

Understanding your employees

In order to retain employees, it is important to collect feedback on their experience at your organization from multiple sources.

“Engagement surveys mask the volatility of the employee experience and hide the reason why individual employees leave. Yet, many organizations focus on increasing engagement to improve retention even though this approach doesn’t address the entire problem,” says Janet Clarey, Director at McLean & Company, one of the world’s leading HR research and advisory firms.

“One of the most important elements of employee retention is taking the time to talk to employees to understand the moments that matter and engage managers to understand turnover triggers. Leveraging employee data and feedback will help identify the key reasons for turnover that need to be addressed to retain employees,” explains Clarey.

In other words, creating an effective employee listening strategy will enable you to gather and act on employee feedback to address potential issues early on.

To recap the most critical points in the retention phase:

  • Retain employees by giving them reasons to stay. Ensure employees feel valued in their jobs.
  • Understand what your employees want and need, and meet those needs.
  • Create an environment where your employees can contribute their best work.
  • Cultivate a company culture where everyone feels like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves and can be themselves while doing it.
  • Collect employee feedback from multiple sources and act on your findings.

Metrics to track in the Retention stage

Tracking employee retention metrics helps you optimize the retention phase of the employee life cycle. Here are some examples:

  • Employee retention rate: This is the percentage of employees who stay with a company for at least one year. Employees in businesses with high retention rates are usually more satisfied with their work and feel like they’re part of something special.
  • Voluntary turnover: This is the percentage of employees who leave a company on their own accord. Suppose a business has a high voluntary turnover rate. In that case, it means that employees are unhappy with how they’re being treated by management. They might also feel like there’s not much opportunity for advancement.
  • eNPS: This is the percentage of employees who would recommend their company as an excellent workplace. If a business has a high eNPS score, employees are happy with their jobs and feel like they’re progressing toward achieving their career goals.

5. Development

Employee development and retention are inextricably linked. People will leave if they feel like they’re stuck in a role with no chances for future growth. According to a McKinsey report, a lack of career development and advancement is one of the top reasons people quit their jobs during the post-pandemic period. That’s why it’s vital to understand your employees’ strengths, how the company can utilize them and provide your workforce with ample learning and development opportunities. If there are gaps in their skill set, find ways to fill them.

For example, Canadian telecommunications company Bell partnered with Degreed, a workforce learning and upskilling platform. The Bell U Academy provided skill development programs and pathways for program participants looking for additional experience in their roles. “Of the 241 program graduates, there was a 98% retention rate in their new positions. Further, these individuals rated engagement and perception of opportunity with Bell much higher than those who did not participate in these L&D programs,” says Janice Burns, the Chief People Officer at Degreed.

If there are things that they’re great at but not utilizing enough in their day-to-day work, think about how you could change things up so that they get more chances at those tasks. You’ll want to keep people challenged and interested while giving them growth opportunities.

To successfully develop your employees, focus on how each employee can be a part of the whole and contribute to the entire organization’s success. Working with your employees to create employee development plans that align with the business and their needs is essential.

A good moment to ask people about their expectations in terms of learning and development is during the recruitment process. That way, you’ll be able to assess right away whether you’ll be able to meet those L&D expectations or not. 

Bring up the topic again during the onboarding phase to make sure both the new hire and manager are aligned in terms of what they expect. Then, an ideal time to talk about employee development is during their performance reviews and anytime in between. 

You should also be focused on leadership development so that those ready for advancement can take on more responsibility within the organization. This is important because it helps you retain your top talent. If you have a plan for employee development, you’ll keep your best people as they look for opportunities elsewhere.

Some cost-effective ways to provide training are peer coaching and peer mentoring. On top of that, they are great tools to boost camaraderie and engagement among your employees.  

Another technique that can be useful to transfer specific skills, knowledge, and competencies is job rotation. It’s the practice of moving employees (mostly laterally and temporarily) between jobs in an organization.  

If you make sure that your employees have clear goals and objectives to achieve and advance within the organization, it will be easier for them to stay motivated and engaged with their work.

To recap the most critical points in the development phase of the employee life cycle:

  • Work with your employees to create employee development plans that align with their and business needs.
  • Discuss the importance of leadership development by helping employees gain more skills and experience so they can take on more significant roles in the company.
  • Be sure to track the progress of your employees’ development plans, so you can make adjustments as needed or celebrate successes.

Metrics to track in the Development stage

Some metrics to track in the development phase include:

  • Training ROI: This metric measures the return on investment from training initiatives. You can use it to determine whether or not your company’s training programs are effective and worth the cost.
  • Employee performance post-training: This metric measures the impact of a company’s training initiatives on employee performance. You can use it to assess whether or not your employees can implement what they learned in their day-to-day work.

6. Offboarding

The purpose of an offboarding period of the employee life cycle is two-fold. On the one hand, it’s meant to help the organization grow wiser about its hiring efforts and employee experience. On the other hand, it shapes the critical last impressions employees will have of the company – and the image they’ll portray to the outside world. The goal is for your departing employees to become Happy Leavers, as the employee experience expert Ben Whitter put it.

When an employee leaves, it’s essential to have a thoughtful and productive offboarding process. The goal is for the employee to feel valued, prepared, and supported throughout their transition out of your company.

The offboarding process needs to be smooth in terms of arranging handovers and handing over the equipment. More importantly, you can also use this time to find out what went right, what didn’t, and what you can improve in your employee life cycle. To do this, you need to set up an exit interview.

An exit interview is a structured conversation that helps you learn about your employees’ experiences in their roles at your company. You can use this information to improve the stages of the employee life cycle so that future employees have a better experience from day one.

Here are some examples of questions to ask in an exit interview:

  • What prompted you to look for a different job, and what made you decide to leave? 
  • How would you describe your relationship with your manager?
  • What did you like most about your work environment? What did you like least?

Ensure that you’re asking these questions in a way that will help you to improve your company. For example, if someone says they didn’t like their manager or their coworkers, don’t just blame the employee for not being a good fit. Instead, ask how you can improve as an employer so that future employees have better experiences.

It’s also essential to ensure that the process is smooth and simple for employees. You want them to leave the company with a positive experience and a good relationship with your brand. In other words, don’t underestimate the offboarding stage of the employee life cycle. How people feel when they leave will determine how they talk about you to (new) colleagues, friends and family. Not only does this have an impact on your employer brand, it also affects your consumer brand. 

Here are some extra tips for ensuring a smooth onboarding:

  • Send an email thanking them for their time and highlighting how they’ve made a difference in your company. You can even send them a thank-you gift or write them a personal note.
  • If this is a layoff, you can offer to help them find the right next step for their career. This can be as simple as forwarding resumes to contacts at other companies. You can also offer to pay for an outside training program or certification to help them land their next job.
  • Create a formalized process for transitioning employees out of your company and make sure all team members are aware of it so that everyone knows how to handle the process.
  • Keep in touch! It’s easy to forget about former employees, but doing so can benefit both parties.

To recap the most critical points in the offboarding phase:

  1. Have an exit interview with the employee to understand their experience at your company.
  2. Send a thank-you note to the employee following their exit interview.
  3. Find ways to stay in touch with them.

Metrics to track in the Offboarding stage

In the offboarding phase of the employee life cycle, you can track the following metrics:

  • Exit interview completion rate: This metric shows you how many employees you’ve invited for an exit interview or to fill in an exit survey completed the interview/survey. If people are not willing to discuss their experience at your organization with you, it might indicate that they can’t wait to be out of the door.
  • Offboarding score: A score that measures how well your company’s offboarding process is working. A high offboarding score indicates that employees leave the company with a good impression of their experience. In contrast, a low score could mean that you could improve how you handle employee departures.

7. Happy leavers

If you want to keep your employees—and ideally use them as a resource in the future—you need to ensure you’re treating them right throughout the employee life cycle. If you have a great relationship with your employees, they might even come back to work for you one day!

And if not? At least they’ll be able to recommend you to their friends who are looking for jobs.

When it comes to employee retention and engagement, the biggest mistake a company can make is assuming their employees won’t want to return.

The reality is that as many as 1 in 4 people who quit their job in the Great Resignation regret their decision—meaning there’s an opportunity for you to capture boomerang employees who’ve had a good experience at your organizations.

There are corporate alumni platforms that organizations can use to keep in touch with employees who have left. These sites let companies engage with former employees and give them access to news about their company’s latest developments and events. They also offer an opportunity for employers to reach out to their alumni network and potentially hire them again.

The key to a thriving alumni network is to provide your employees with a great experience throughout the entire employee life cycle.

To recap the most critical points in the happy leavers’ phase:

  • Make it easy for your departing employees to stay in touch with you
  • Be proactive in reaching out to your alumni
  • Send regular updates on the company and its progress.

Metrics to track in the Happy leavers stage

Corporate alumni metrics to track in the employee life cycle:

  • Registrations to alumni network: This is a good indicator of your alumni outreach efforts and the effectiveness of your alum engagement strategy. Alumni who have registered for your network will be more likely to stay in touch with you and return if they feel their time at your company was valuable.
  • Email open rates: Alumni interested in staying connected with your company will open your emails. You can use this metric to gauge the effectiveness of your alumni outreach efforts.

Over to you

Optimizing the employee lifecycle is a critical aspect of the HR function. It is a process that helps you identify top talent and create a retention strategy to maintain a strong, productive workforce.

Now that you have a good understanding of the employee life cycle model, you can begin implementing this information in your workplace. It’s important to remember that the employee life cycle is fluid and ever-changing. You may need to make adjustments as you go, but by keeping these tips in mind and staying focused on your employees’ well-being, you can create a positive work environment that will keep them happy, productive, and engaged.

Start implementing these strategies today, and watch as their effects multiply throughout your business.

Resources that will help you optimize your employee life cycle:

A Complete Guide to the Employee Experience

The Selection Process: A 7-Step Practical Guide

A Comprehensive Guide to Employee Onboarding (including checklist templates!)

Learning and Development: A Comprehensive Guide

Everything You Need to Know about Offboarding (including a checklist)


What is the employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle is every employee’s journey at your company. It starts with the attraction phase, the recruitment process, continues through onboarding, retention and development processes, and ends with the offboarding and alumni stages.

The goal of the employee life cycle is to create a seamless transition from one stage to another so that you ensure a positive employee experience where your employees feel like they’re being taken care of every step of the way.

What are the stages of the employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle consists of seven stages: attraction, recruitment, onboarding, retention, development, offboarding, and happy leavers. Each stage has its own goals and objectives. Only by meeting them can you provide a holistic employee experience and achieve your organizational goals.

Why is the employee life cycle important?

Once you understand the employee life cycle, and each of the stages your (future) employees go through, you’re able to optimize every stage and create a better employee experience. This results which can result in higher productivity and better overall outcomes for your business.

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