The 5 Stages of the Employee Experience Lifecycle


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, May 16, 2022

To build strong employee relationships that stand the test of time, you need a good understanding of the journey your workers go through.

Article 5 Minutes
The 5 Stages of the Employee Experience Lifecycle

There's a lot involved in building a business, but one of the most important ingredients in any company’s recipe for success is its ability to build relationships with its workers.

It's therefore important to think carefully about the employee experience lifecycle. Understanding this concept will put you in a stronger position to succeed by optimizing key aspects of your HR function, from recruitment to talent retention.

The employee experience lifecycle: what it is and why it's important

The employee experience lifecycle encompasses every stage of the journey individual workers go through with your organization, from the moment they become aware of you to the day they leave, and even beyond.

Breaking this process down into distinct phases and clearly can give rise to a range of benefits, from quicker and more efficient recruitment to stronger workforce engagement, which will fuel your productivity in the long term.

Understanding the experiences your workers go through and their perceptions of you as an employer is crucial if you want to build a successful, healthy business that achieves profitability without overlooking its people.

It's highly useful, therefore, to give yourself a clear picture of the key stages of the typical employee experience, so you can tailor your approach at every step of the way.

1. Attraction

Skills shortages are a significant problem for many businesses today, with particularly acute needs in certain sectors and areas of expertise. In the UK, for example, there have been warnings that digital talent scarcity has reached an "all-time high", while US skills gaps are reportedly worse than at any other time in the last ten years.

In light of this, you should be prepared with a plan to attract people with the knowledge, capabilities and qualities your company needs to move forward.

There are various actions you can take at this stage to make yourself more attractive to potential hires, such as pursuing a clear plan to strengthen your employer brand and your social media presence.

2. Recruitment

This is the point in the employee experience lifecycle where you start to interact and build meaningful relationships with the candidates who will eventually become members of your workforce.

Consider the various assets and avenues available to you at this stage that will help you engage with potential hires and present a compelling picture of your company culture and what particular roles entail. Existing employees, for example, can play a vital role in presenting the human side of the business and providing referrals.

Another important consideration is how you approach interviews and assessments to gain confidence that the people you're considering will be the right fit for your organization and the job in question.

3. Onboarding

Onboarding is a critical part of the process of building positive connections with your employees and ensuring they feel supported and positive about getting to work in their new role.

If a new recruit's first impressions and experiences with you are negative, that can be difficult to recover from. You could find that people who only recently joined are soon searching for new opportunities.

There's a lot to think about at this early stage of the employee lifecycle, so one of your top priorities should be to take a balanced approach encompassing goals such as:

  • Making the employee feel welcome in the business
  • Introducing them to their direct co-workers and other teams across the organization
  • Providing the information, tools and tech access people need to get started
  • Completing the admin tasks involved in taking on a new starter

Learn more: The Welcome Pack: What New Recruits Need to Know

4. Engagement and retention

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, once an employee has been fully onboarded and they're a productive member of the workforce, they no longer require as much attention from the HR department.

This can be a big mistake, as it increases the risk of employees slowly becoming complacent and losing engagement with their work - and the company as a whole - as they spend more time in their roles.

Make sure you connect and communicate with individual workers to get an idea of what the organization can do to boost their engagement. This is likely to vary across the workforce, but tactics to consider include:

  • Making a clear commitment to and investment in employee wellbeing
  • Recognizing hard work and achievements
  • Inviting people to give feedback and acting on it
  • Establishing clear learning and development pathways

Research has shown that people who feel engaged and happy at work are likely to be more productive. Furthermore, strong engagement will lead to improved staff retention and a lower risk of turnover and absenteeism.

5. Separation

However hard you work to keep employees engaged and retain the talent in your workforce, departures are inevitable, so you should have a plan to manage this stage of the employee lifecycle as smoothly as possible.

It pays to focus on maintaining positive relationships with outgoing employees. This helps to ensure a smooth transition of their knowledge and responsibilities to their colleagues and also leaves the door open to them returning at some point in the future, if that's something both parties would be willing to consider.

Workers who bid farewell on good terms could also be a source of referrals and even new business opportunities in the future. It's always advisable to be open-minded and positive about the value people can offer, even if they're no longer on your payroll.

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