How understanding the employee life cycle drives business success ?
Any successful business knows that employee retention is key to a thriving workplace. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs and feel like they are an important part of the company are far more likely to stick around for the long haul.
But employee retention is just one piece of the puzzle; businesses also need to focus on employee recruitment and onboarding. The employee life cycle, which includes employee retention, recruitment, and onboarding, is about providing the best possible experience for employees throughout their time at your company.
Yet, the employee lifecycle can feel like an abstract concept with little relevance to the day-to-day running of a business. However, understanding and successfully managing the employee lifecycle model is fundamental to acquiring, developing, and retaining the best talent. And ultimately, that contributes to business success.
What is the employee life cycle and why is the employee life cycle important?
The employee life cycle model is the journey an employee takes as they move through an organization. It begins before they even start working for a business and ends long after they have left. The employee lifecycle covers the relationship between the employee and the company they work for and is different for every single employee.
Several factors contribute to the employee lifecycle, including job satisfaction, employee development, and employee engagement. The employee life cycle is important because it can have a significant impact on employee productivity and motivation.
It's also important because by understanding the employee life cycle model and developing an employee life cycle strategy, a company can strengthen the employee experience and improve employee engagement - both factors in ensuring success.
It is proven that poor employee life cycle experience can result in high employee turnover. And employee turnover is expensive, both in terms of the resources required to find and train new employees as well as a loss of institutional knowledge.
To better understand employee life cycle management, it's important to first think about employee experience from an employee perspective. While employee life cycle management can feel abstract for employers, employees have a much more straightforward idea of how their path through a business relates to their satisfaction with the workplace.
What are the different stages of the employee life cycle and how can you measure them?
There are several different interpretations of the employee lifecycle. However, it is generally accepted that there are six stages. By understanding each of these stages and where each employee is in their individual journey, a business can engage with its employees to help them achieve their full potential. And as high achieving employees deliver better business results, that means improved company success.
The different employee lifecycle stages are:
An employee’s lifecycle journey begins long before their first interview. It begins when they first learn about you as a business – your employer brand. This is known as the employee attraction stage. It’s for this reason that tools such as Glassdoor are so popular. They tell potential employees what it’s like to work for a company. In the past, potential job applicants could only find out what it was like to work somewhere by talking to a current or previous member of staff or attending a recruitment fair. Now, they have a range of information sources ranging from review sites to social media.
A business can measure engagement with recruitment and company information on its website and social media. Other factors will play into the attraction phase such as brand tracking, business culture, and employee engagement. These will all tell potential applicants a business story.
The employee recruitment stage covers every aspect involved in hiring. From job ad to interview process, the way in which a business recruits will inform the applicants they attract and the way successful candidates feel when offered the job.
To measure the recruitment phase of the employee lifecycle, a business can consider a whole range of metrics including cost to hire, time to hire, hiring diversity and offer acceptance rate.
They can also seek qualitative input such as honest feedback from candidates.
Once a candidate has been offered a job, the employee onboarding stage begins. This is an especially important stage in the employee lifecycle especially when you consider that the SHRM found employee turnover can be as much as 50% during the first 18 months of employment. What’s more, the more effective the onboarding process, the sooner an employee will be fully contributing towards business success.
Methods of measuring the onboarding stage include new hire turnover, training & onboarding surveys, and how quickly new hires reach productivity. However, with all this in mind, one of the most crucial factors is new hire engagement – do your new recruits feel they’ve made the right choice in joining your organization?
The employee development stage not only helps you get the most out of your team but also helps you reward and engage with them. Learning and training are key elements in this, as is feedback and on-the-job learning. Creating a professional development plan and career path for your employees is a great way of keeping employees engaged and getting the most out of them.
With employees performing, a business needs to work hard to keep that talent, and this is the focus of the employee retention stage. After all, it’s more economical to keep and reward existing employees than it is to recruit new ones. By giving them the right training, promotion, and development opportunities, valuable employees will want to continue working for a business. Interestingly, manager performance is also a key factor – managers need to know how to nurture talent and respond to signs that they may be considering roles elsewhere.
To understand the retention stage, a business should review employee engagement, culture reviews, and of course turnover rates.
As disappointing as it is to lose top talent, every employee will leave an organization at some stage - perhaps for personal reasons, perhaps because they want to take charge of their development in another organization. Not only is it normal to lose employees, but it is healthy. The new employees who take the place of those who have left, give an organization fresh experience and perspectives.
The offboarding stage, also known as the employee separation stage gives a company a great opportunity to understand things about the employee experience that they wouldn’t otherwise understand.
The offboarding stage also covers employees after they leave an organization. Could they return as a boomerang employee? Refer their connections to work for the employer or would they warn others off as a result of their own negative experience?
Measuring this stage of the employee lifecycle can be especially enlightening for HR professionals. Carefully conducting exit interviews and staying in touch with former employees will show that the business is listening and that lessons will be learned.
What is an employee life cycle management approach?
The employee life cycle management approach is a process that you follow to ensure that your employees are upskilled and ready for whatever their position requires them to do. It involves the employee going through various stages of development, from training and employee onboarding to employee retention and employee offboarding. At each step of the way, managers must keep an eye on progress and performance through specific KPIs (key performance indicators), as well as feeding back information from one stage into actions at another stage where required.
In short, an employee life cycle management approach is the method of tracking an employee’s journey through the various stages in the employee lifecycle. However, this cannot be done on a topline level. An organization needs to understand where their staff is in their individual employee life cycle journeys.
Why is it important to understand where an employee is in their employee life cycle journey?
The employee life cycle management approach is important to understand where your employees are in their employee life cycle journey for several reasons.
Firstly, you need to monitor employee progress through clearly defined training paths.
Secondly, employee retention can be improved by giving your employees the right opportunities at each stage of their employee life cycle journey.
Thirdly, it allows you to catch employee issues early on to mitigate the risk of employee turnover.
Fourthly, employee engagement can be improved through employee life cycle management, as you are showing staff that they are not just a name and number, but an individual with unique needs.
Finally, employee life cycle management can help you to save costs. Not only will it allow you to focus your recruitment efforts on employee groups with the most relevant skills for your business, but it will also allow you to avoid costly mistakes in employee retention by loaning staff from one department to another to fill gaps when required.
With a full understanding of an employee’s position in their employment life cycle, an employer can act to keep that employee in the company for as long as possible.
Employees are at their most productive during the Development and Retention stages. That’s because they have had the training and experience to understand their role and the company, and are motivated to continue learning and developing their skills.
If an organization can improve the efficiency of the recruitment and onboarding stages and extend the period that the employee spends in the Development and Retention stage they can benefit from the employee’s skills, motivation and productivity for longer. Doing this also reduces the costly impact of losing a member of staff and the need to recruit someone new.
Even when an employee enters the offboarding stage, by identifying this and then treating them accordingly, a business can ensure a happy separation. This can improve chances of that employee returning as a boomerang employee or referring a connection to the business for a new role.
How can a business optimize each stage of the employee life cycle?
There are simple ways for a business to improve an employee’s experience at each stage of its lifecycle. These should focus on moving towards and remaining in the stages of development and retention.
Here are some of the ways a business can optimize the different stages of the employee lifecycle.
Ensure all business information is easy for external people to access. Many potential candidates will visit a business website to find out about their policies and culture. Including this information and being as open as possible will give people a good idea of what it’s like to work for that company.
Using social media can help humanize a company. Not only can social media promote products or services, but it can also share details of, helping give outsiders a view of the company culture and boosting the employer brand.
From initial adverts to final offers, keeping the recruitment process efficient and approachable pays dividends. Referrals from existing and past employees to source potential candidates can be cheaper and more effective than recruiting from the open market.
Using an applicant tracking system and a collaborative hiring approach can help improve the recruitment process, giving successful and unsuccessful candidates a better all-round experience.
Begin new employee onboardings before they start their job and new hires will settle in more quickly.
Having a dedicated onboarding process and manager can help ensure every new employee gets the same high-quality onboarding regardless of where they work and who their manager is.
Evolving the onboarding program into an individual development program will show employees that the company cares about their development from the very beginning of their employment and will contribute towards a fantastic company culture.
A structured employee development program is essential in giving employees the right level of stretch for their abilities. It is also important to ensure managers know how to coach their team members and recognize opportunities to help employees achieve more. Other factors such as having the budget to encourage external learning, having the opportunity to attend relevant conferences and own-initiated event attendance can improve employee performance and support individuals in their new job.
It’s well recognized that one of the most effective tools for keeping employees engaged in an organization is a strong business culture. Other factors that affect retention include flexible working opportunities, ongoing professional development, the chance to work on a future career path, a structured approach to reward and recognition and a transparent communication policy. Within this, it's essential to recognise that current employees should be considered as much as newer members of staff. Taking employee feedback on board and using the results of employee pulse surveys can help the human resources team understand what employees want - in turn improving the potential for employee retention.
Losing a team member can be tough on everyone and can affect overall team morale. For that reason, as well as ensuring the parting employee is treated with grace and goodwill, it’s important to focus on the existing team members too. Some may worry about a new person coming in and upsetting the balance, others may be concerned about picking up extra work once the team member leaves. By talking to your team and listening to their concerns, you make them feel heard and reassured, helping keep those employees in the ‘retention’ part of their lifecycle. Even better, by listening to them and taking feedback on board you can help various team members improve their skills, helping create an even more fantastic team.
In summary, a solid understanding of the six stages of the employee lifecycle and where your employees sit in that journey can help you get the most out of your talent. Not only that, but it can ensure you keep top talent for longer and become a more attractive employer for potential future applicants with a great employer brand. This, in turn, means higher innovation, more productivity, and improved customer satisfaction – in short, increased business success.
What do you need to consider before implementing employee life cycle management?
You need to look at the employee life cycle as a whole and not just individual stages. The employee lifecycle is not a set of processes that can be implemented in isolation - it needs to be embedded into the company culture.
You need to have buy-in from managers at all levels – from hiring managers through to those who will be managing employees in their final stage
You must consider how you will measure the success of employee life cycle management. It’s not simply about reducing staff turnover or increasing employee engagement scores, it’s about improving business performance overall
The employee lifecycle should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is still fit for purpose – and that purpose may change over time as your business changes.
How can employee lifecycle management help improve business performance?
There are several ways employee lifecycle management can help improve business performance. By taking a holistic view of the employee lifecycle, you can ensure that each stage is supporting the overall goal of improved business performance. Some key benefits include:
- Improved employee productivity as a result of effective training and development programs
- Reduced staff turnover as employees feel more engaged and valued
- More efficient use of resources as new employees are quickly brought up to speed
- Improved customer satisfaction as a result of staff who are better trained and more engaged.
- Increased innovation as employees are allowed to learn and grow in their roles.
By using employee life cycle management within your business, you can ensure you get the most out of your talent. A solid understanding of employee life cycle management is essential if you want to avoid wasting time and resources on employee turnover. Using employee life cycle management allows you to make good use of investment in hiring the right people in the first place, ensuring they are engaged and happy throughout their tenure at your company, and putting processes in place to ease them out when it’s time for them to move on.
And employee life cycle management isn’t just good for employees – employee lifecycle management benefits your business too by ensuring that staff is better trained, more engaged, happier, and ultimately more productive. These benefits include improved employee productivity, reduced employee turnover, increased innovation, and improved customer satisfaction.
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