The 5 Stages of The Employee Lifecycle


November 21, 2017

The employee lifecycle model (ELC) is a method to visualize how the employee engages with the organization they are a part of.  

According to the ELC model, this ongoing relationship has five stages: Recruitment, Onboarding, Development, Retention, and  Exit or Separation.

employee-lifecycle-modelYou can turn the employee lifecycle model into a framework that provides a different engagement strategy for each stage.

Let’s say a company has an excellent recruitment strategy, but high turnover rates. The organization could focus on the retention phase in order to develop a more suitable solution for this issue.

If by any chance you are thinking that this is the old plain customer journey, then you are right!  

The ELC model is based on the idea that companies should design the employee experience as carefully as their customer’s experience. Thus the reason why the ELC resembles -to some degree – the customer journey.

“Employee engagement should be a mindset, not a program that starts and stops when morale is low. Unfortunately, many large organizations don’t have a true pulse on the value of their engagement. They need to effectively turn engagement data into meaningful intelligence at the department and individual manager level to help employees recognize their contributions to the business.”
Scott Ahlstrand, Right Management’s Global Practice Leader for Employee Engagement (Manpower)

So, what are the advantages of implementing an employee lifecycle strategy?

Mapping the employee journey drives two main benefits: better talent retention and reputation improvement. On one hand, reducing turnover costs saves time and money (no surprise here). On the other hand, a better reputation increases chances of hiring more new talent. Never underestimate word-of-mouth!

Now let’s dive deep into each ELC step and study their objectives and challenges.

Employee Lifecycle Stages

First Stage: Recruitment

Recruitment is all about finding the right fit for each position within the organization. Some companies visualize it in a very similar way to the classic marketing funnel:


A successful recruitment strategy should include the employer’s brand which should be monitored and leveraged, as it is the organization’s reputation and value proposition (for employees).

In fact, some versions of the ELC model name this as the “Attraction” stage, prior to recruitment. You read more about this in our article about employee advocacy.

Tip: the application process is a turning point in the candidate experience, so make it as simple and pleasant as possible. You don’t want complicated, time-consuming buying processes for your customers, right? The same applies to job seekers.

Second Stage: Onboarding

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

A friendly, smooth onboarding process will help employees learn what’s expected of them. These expectations comprise not only performance aspects but also social.

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

Third Stage: Development

The employee development stage begins as soon as the new hire starts working. To show confidence in employee’s potential increases his loyalty and trustworthiness. Investing in learning opportunities and offering attractive challenges is the best path to nurture people skills.

Career development should be a top priority for employers. Nevertheless, about 70 percent of employees say they are dissatisfied with growth opportunities at their companies.

Design realistic and achievable career paths and communicate them in a clear and friendly manner. It’s like teaching the rules of a game: the more information a player has – and the more he/she practices – the better player he/she will be.

Tip: Thank employees for their effort to grow, especially if they are investing their own time to develop their careers.  Budget permitting, consider rewarding them. In case it doesn’t you can always reward employees with another type of incentive, maybe a personal day.   

Fourth Stage: Retention

Retention stage is a critical step in the employee lifecycle model. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover can cost an organization 33 percent of an employee’s total compensation – including wages and benefits!

Begin by hiring the right person for each position. Encourage an open, fluent communication between employees and management. The first and most important thing to retain talented employees is fairly simple: listen carefully to understand what is going on and how you can help.

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

Tip: 40 percent of employees do not feel appreciated by their company. Boost morale by turning corporate values into concrete behaviors with employee engagement platforms like StarMeUp.

Fifth Stage: Exit

The final stage in the employee lifecycle model comes when a worker leaves the organization. Whether they leave for personal reasons, retirement or a new job, it’s important to manage the situation accordingly.

When an employee leaves a team, the rest of the people may experience feelings of sadness and uncertainty. Make sure that the separation is smooth and distressful.

Tip: Coming back to where we started. Exit surveys should be like the application process, easy and painless. If possible, conduct a personal exit interview to gather as many valuable insights and feedback as possible.

How does your company assess the employee lifecycle? Leave us your comments!

StarMeUp OS empowers employees to become the best versions of themselves, and become even more significant contributors to the organization, by helping them overcome natural human limitations through technology and AI. Start the digital transformation journey: Request a Live Demo Today!


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