Employee Lifecycle Management – What You Need to Know as an HR
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Employees are an integral element of every company, and without them, a company cannot exist. As we all know, for an organization to survive in the industry, it has to go through changes, which is known as growth or expansion. Without expansion, a company cannot sustain itself longer in an industry, and soon it will move towards a shutdown point.
The same is the case with employees. For an employee to stay with an organization and thrive in its environment, they need to receive growth opportunities, which may be promotions, awards, increments, benefits, etc. There are very few employees who stick with one organization for their entire career; however, others search for new opportunities to expand their career horizons.
Moreover, Generation Z, commonly known as Gen-Z, has revolutionized the job market and organizational culture. For today’s generation, career growth opportunities are their priority, and if they don’t get what they want from a company, they simply start looking for additional opportunities in other companies. With such a competitive generation to deal with, Human Resource professionals work hard to keep their employees satisfied, which in turn could increase employee loyalty and employee retention rates.
To make all of this work, the HR department needs to focus on employee lifecycle management, so that they can create a lasting impression on every stage of the employee lifecycle.
What is the Employee Lifecycle?
The employee lifecycle is a model that is used to identify and express various important stages of employees that they go through as they engage with their company. In simpler terms, it illustrates the different stages an employee goes through, from the moment they are hired for the position to when they leave the company.
Why is Employee Lifecycle Management Important?
Employee lifecycle management holds severe importance that eventually contributes to the overall success of an organization. It includes:
Attracting Top Talent
Implementing an employee lifecycle management system helps organizations create a positive reputation and brand image, which ultimately attracts top talent. If an employer, from the very beginning, implements strategies to create a positive work environment for its employees, then it would also attract potential employees to join your organization, thus the employer ends up with a larger pool of candidates from which they can select the best candidates.
Retaining Existing Valuable Employees
Hiring a new employee costs twice as much as retaining an existing employee. The main aim of employee retention and employee satisfaction strategies is to keep the existing employee, so that the employer doesn’t have to go through the tedious process of hiring a new candidate. This not only drains the employer but is also time-consuming.
A well-constructed employee life cycle management approach ensures that employees feel valued, supported, and invested in their growth and careers. When an employer provides opportunities like skill development, career advancement, and recognition to their existing employees, this will automatically boost employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover. Thus, saving the organization from the time-draining process of recruiting and training new employees.
Increase Employee Engagement
Employee lifecycle management focuses on encouraging open communication, providing regular feedback, and involving employees in decision-making processes. All of these practices ultimately increase employee engagement.
Through the employee life cycle management approach, the employer strives to create a healthy work environment, which encourages involvement and participation. A healthy work environment will surely increase productivity, and that in turn will be beneficial for organizational growth. The employer can implement innovative programs such as mentorship initiatives, health programs, team-building activities, and so on, that enhance the overall employee experience.
Drives Performance & Productivity
One of the crucial elements of the employee lifecycle model is an effective performance management system. The main reason to implement an employee lifecycle management approach is to increase employee productivity, which in turn helps the organization to achieve its goals effectively. By setting clear goals, providing continuous feedback, and recognizing achievements, employers inspire employees to excel in their roles.
Stages of Employee Lifecycle
A typical employee life cycle model consists of six stages, that start with attracting a candidate and ends with a departing employee. Each of the six stages holds its own importance, and it is necessary to understand what each of them comprises so that you can improve each step to receive maximum benefit.
Stage 1 – Attraction
An employer’s relationship with its employees doesn’t start when an employee joins an organization or when they come for the interview, the relationship begins from the very second the employee is first exposed to the employer brand. The organization has the power to affect potential employees through the way the organization communicates with them.
In today’s world, organizational culture is considered to be very important for employees. Since Gen-Zs have started joining the workforce, the strategies and approaches to creating a healthy work environment have changed tremendously. For this generation, salary is their second priority, their first priority is the company. The company’s culture, job fit, employee reviews, etc. are all considered to be the prime factors in choosing a company to work for.
To attract Gen-Zs, which is also the future of the workforce, you need to create a strong employer brand. You need to consider what kind of employer branding strategy will be effective to reach out to the people who would be qualified for jobs. You need to be clear on what type of candidates you want to attract, so that you can craft messages and use channels accordingly.
In today’s tech-savvy world, reaching out to the target audience is easy yet you need to ensure that the message you are trying to communicate is understandable, relevant to the platform you are using, and tailored for your target audience. The most effective and affordable platform to reach your potential employees is LinkedIn. It is a professional platform, that is used by thousands of millions of people, and it is considered to be the most effective platform for employer branding.
Employer branding is not only about posting a job ad or emailing your latest job openings. It is about creating a culture that attracts the right people and helps them to engage in their work in a way that allows them to perform their best while working for your company. It is important to highlight that when you are trying to create an image in the employees’ minds. Always be authentic and honest, while you can be creative, know your target audience and act accordingly.
Stage 2 – Recruitment
Once you have attracted the best candidates, then it is time to move on to the next stage of the employee lifecycle process, i.e., recruitment. Recruitment is all about finding the right candidates to bring onto your team while providing your applicants with great candidate experience, from learning about the job opening to accepting your offer.
The recruitment process makes the employer encounter many candidates, from which some will be selected for the job, while some will be rejected, however the employer has to create a positive experience for every candidate. When a candidate applies for a position in a company, one of the causes could be the employer’s brand. To maintain that image in the minds of the candidates, you must provide them with an experience that could be positively remembered, despite their selection.
The first step of recruitment is the job ad. You can advertise the position on multiple platforms to increase your chances of reaching ideal candidates. Going wide with the platforms is great, but you also have the opportunity to fill the position from your internal talent pool, i.e., those employees who might be looking for a promotion. Also, if internal recruiting is not possible for the position, you can also introduce employee referral programs, to increase employee engagement in current employees.
While creating a job ad, you don’t need to list all the job responsibilities. In fact, you need to entice the candidate to apply for the position. Make sure to outline the available benefits, such as medical coverage, staff discounts, paid leaves, and so on.
After posting the job ad, you need to ensure that you are selecting the right candidate in a reasonable time frame for both the candidate and the organization, and that your selection process is also inclusive and fair across all its stages. It also means that you have to remove biasedness from the hiring process as much as possible, so try to be fair and transparent in your selection process.
Stage 3 – Onboarding
After you have selected the ideal candidate for the position, it’s time for onboarding the employee. This stage of the employee life cycle is where the foundation of the employer-employee relationship is created.
The onboarding process has to be tailored according to each employee’s needs so that they gain a solid understanding of what they need to do and how they can succeed while working for the organization. The onboarding process should be continuous, with new employees receiving support and guidance as they transition into their roles. The employer needs to make sure that the employee feels welcome and supported when they join the organization. This will help the employees form strong relationships with their colleagues and develop a sense of belonging at work which will eventually help them be successful.
The first day of work is always a combination of excitement and nervousness, which is why when it is your employee’s first day, make them feel welcome. As it is their first day, they won’t know what equipment they are going to be using or from where they will get it, so prepare all their work equipment, like a laptop or a phone, in order beforehand. To let the new hire know about the company culture, you can organize an orientation session where they can meet their manager and team, get an overview of what they will be working on and how, learn more about their benefits packages, and much more.
Stage 4 – Retention
Employee retention is one of the longest elements of the employee life cycle model. The employer needs to continuously engage with their employees to keep them on board. This not only helps building a stable and productive workforce, but also saves the employer’s money and the time spent on recruiting new employees. Usually, when an employee is with the organization for a long time, employers start taking them for granted, which impacts employee loyalty negatively, thus leading to employees leaving the organization. That’s why it is important to address issues such as rewards and recognition as soon as possible.
To retain employees, it is best to make sure that they are happy and fulfilled in their role at your organization. To create a positive experience for an employee, you need to focus on three aspects, i.e., technology, culture, and physical environment.
The world has shifted to a technological era, where digital employee experience has become a part of employee engagement. This means that the technology needs to support the employee experience by providing information about how to get things done or helping them connect and feel like a part of a larger community. The technology should provide employees with the right tools and information whenever needed.
Culture plays an integral part in employee retention; studies show that employees who feel valued in the workplace are more likely to stay with their organization longer than those who don’t feel valued. As an employer, you need to create an environment where your employees can thrive, which is possible when you transform the culture in a way that it aligns with your business goals and objectives.
After Covid-19, employees have started working remotely. Organizations need to be flexible in their approach to physical space and how they use it, because a company’s physical space can significantly impact employees’ productivity and well-being.
Stage 5 – Development
Employee development and retention are interlinked. As said earlier, when employees see no opportunity for future growth and feel they are stuck in a role, then there is a high chance that they will leave the organization. Lack of career development and advancement is one of the prime factors on why people quit their jobs.
An employee cannot work in the same position their entire life, they will need to expand their career, or do something new. When an employee works for several years, there will be a time when they will feel that they have more capabilities than what the organization is utilizing. By using those capabilities, the employee can earn much more, so they are obviously going to look for some other opportunities.
As an employer, you need to keep employees challenged and interested while giving them growth opportunities. To successfully invest in the career development of your employees, you must focus on how each employee can be a part of the whole and contribute to the entire organization’s success. You can even work with your employees to create employee development plans that align with the business and their needs.
To show that you actually care for the development of your employees, try investing in their training, education, and learning plans. You can also encourage them to attend conferences, seminars, webinars, and workshops to keep them updated with new trends while expanding their knowledge.
Stage 6 – Offboarding
The offboarding stage is the last stage of the employee lifecycle model. Though it might seem that an employee leaving the organization cannot be beneficial, it holds a lot of importance. In fact, the offboarding process is considered to be equally important as the onboarding process. When an employee is leaving, it is crucial to have a constructive offboarding process. The goal of an offboarding process is to make the employee feel valued, prepared, and supported throughout their transition out of the company.
The most essential part of the offboarding process is the exit interview. An exit interview is a structured conversation that helps the employer learn about the employees’ experiences while they are working in their roles. While conducting an exit interview, you must ensure that you are asking questions that are going to help your company in the future. You must not be negative or forceful in any of the questions, and if the employee is uncomfortable giving an exit interview, then you must not force them to give one, instead opt for a survey form.
Make sure that the entire offboarding process is smooth and simple for the employees. Since they are leaving the organization, make them leave with a positive experience and a good relationship with your brand. If it is a layoff, you should offer to help them find the next right step for their career, like forwarding their resumes to other companies, helping them with a training course, or anything else.
When you see your employees through the lens of the employee life cycle model, you can manage a healthier and more successful workforce! Its essential for human resource professionals to be able to not only predict but also plan the whole duration of an employee. The employee life cycle model helps in doing so by providing a step by step approach to focus on all the possible scenarios from the moment a person joins the organization till he render his resignation.