The 7 Stages of the Employee Life Cycle

According to the ELC model, this has 7 main stages: Attraction, Recruitment, On-boarding, Development, Retention, Off Boarding, and Exit.

The employee life cycle (ELC) is the different stages that an employee goes through during their time at an organization. The role of the HR manager during this process is very important. Each stage throughout the cycle has its own challenges, but it is vital for HR to continuously improve the process for each stage to better the success of its employees. In this article, we’ll zoom into the ELC. We’ll give a definition and describe each of the 7 stages of the employee life cycle.

  1. Attraction
  2. Sourcing
  3. Recruitment
  4. Development
  5. Retention
  6. Off Boarding
  7. Happy Leavers

What is the employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle covers the entire relationship between a company and the employee. This includes the attraction phase, when candidates or prospective hires are still getting to know the company, and continues until after they leave the firm and become alumni or happy leavers as we call them.

We have brought forward 7 stages in this ongoing employee life cycle: attraction, recruitment, on-boarding, development, retention, off-boarding and happy leavers.

What are the 7 Stages?

1. Attraction

The first stage of the 7 stages of employee life cycle is the attraction stage.

No matter how great your product or service is, companies who do not attract and retain great employees will fail over time, every time. This is why attracting the right people is critical to any company’s growth strategy.

The attraction stage happens before there is even an open position. It’s often referred to, as the “employer brand”, a term coined in the early 1990s.

The art and science of employer branding are therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement, and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.

Brett Minchington, MBA, Author of Employer Brand Leadership — A Global Perspective.

2. Recruitment

The second stage of the employee lifecycle is therecruitment stage.

The main recruitment stage is the active phase of searching for great talent to join your company. This happens as the result of an existing role becoming vacant (see the Employee Separation stage below) or a new position being created.

Four tips to succeed in the recruitment stage

Here are four great tips on how to succeed in recruiting the right talent for your team.

  1. Ask for referrals from your team
  2. Try different recruitment platforms
  3. Be specific in who you are looking for
  4. Involve your existing employees

Read further about: Recruitment Strategies

3. Onboarding

The onboarding process means much more than training a new hire about the company and the information & tools needed to start working. It’s the opportunity for the employee to immerse in the company’s culture and it’s crucial to ensure retention. It is estimated that about 50 percent of all hires fail within 18 months on the job.

A smooth onboarding process will help employees learn what’s expected of them and their job responsibilities. These expectations comprise not only performance aspects but also from the social aspect.

Tip: New hire’s feedback is typically less biased than other employee’s feedback. Try to follow up onboarding review as soon as you can in order to collect fresh insights and ideas!

4. Development

Employees want instant approval these days. They want to know that they are doing a great job, are willing to improve, and also want to prove that they can “be the best” at their role. Career development strategies are good when keeping top talent engaged. This is the fourth stage in the 7 stages of the employee life cycle.

It’s important to discuss career goals in the interviewing process itself to make sure that the candidate’s goals are realistic and align with the goals of your company.

Having regular employee performance reviews can help keep employees aware of how they’re doing and visually see how they are progressing towards their goals.

  • Organizational analysis. Based on the organization’s long and short-term goals, the employer will be able to define the training needs that will help the company reach these business goals.
  • Function, tasks, or competency analysis. The main point here is to identify the most important knowledge, skills, and attitudes for employees to be successful in their jobs, and to identify which of these are simplest to learn and implement.
  • Personal analysis. The current competencies and knowledge, performance, and skill levels are identified here. The source for this analysis often is the employee’s performance evaluation.

5. Retention

The 5th stage is the retention stage and it is a vital step in the employee lifecycle model. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsturnover can cost a company 33% of an employee’s total compensation.

Start with hiring the right person for each position. Encourage open communication between employees and employers. The first and most important thing is to retain talented employees is fairly simple: listen carefully to understand what is going on and how to help.

Talent retention has a direct impact on the company’s overall performance. Always keep an eye on the organization’s job satisfaction levels, since it will result in time and money savings.

6. Offboarding

The life cycle does come to an end, at some point or another. Employees leave due to retirement, leaving for school, new employment, or sabbatical leave. It’s important that the offboarding process is just as strategic and smooth as the onboarding process.

When an employee (at any particular stage) leaves the company, it can affect other members of the team he/she was a part of and it’s HR’s job to make sure the employee who is exiting, leaves in a way that doesn’t disrupt the entire team or the company. Having documented processes will help with the proper offboarding of an employee.

7. Happy leavers

All of this brings us to the final and often the most neglected phase in a way never-ending stage of the employee life cycle: the happy leavers (or the alumni) phase.

Even though a former employee has physically left your organization, they can still engage with you via social media, via an alumni network or talent pool. Besides, people may rejoin the organization at some point and if not, then they’ll likely be asked about the company by colleagues, friends, or family members.

In other words: don’t forget this part of the ELC. It is advisable to stay in touch with former employees, keep them posted on what’s happening within the company, and ask them for feedback when needed.

Managing The Employee Life Cycle

It may seem overwhelming and complex but keeping the ELC organized is the key. HR managers should seek support from higher management within the company. All of these stages can be handled internally, but it’s important that each and every level of managers are aware of these procedures so everyone is in the best position to strive for success.

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Suchismita Panda