The EIGHT stages of the Employee Life-Cycle

Someone, somewhere, came up with a way of modelling how an organisation relates to an individual employee over the course of their time with them.  This has entered the mythology of HR and textbooks refer to it as if it was embedded somewhere in the First Book of Genesis.  They described SIX stages:

Outreach: an employee’s lifecycle begins when an individual first becomes interested in an open position; today, there are many channels of outreach including, social media and online job boards.

Recruitment: encompasses the application and interview processes a candidate goes through when applying for an open position

Onboarding: what happens after a job offer is accepted including, how new hires are brought up-to-speed on the company’s policies and procedures while learning the ropes of their positions

Performance: processes that help evaluate and recognize employees for their work, such as annual reviews and recognition programs

Development: once an employee has moved out of the new hire phase and is established as a skilled team member, managers work with the employee to identify a professional path and to develop a plan to help the employee achieve their goals

Off-boarding: the last stage in the lifecycle, when employees leave the company, voluntarily or involuntarily”

[This version is taken from here:]

However, because this is ONLY a model – a gross simplification of the real world that enables some human beings to appreciate its complexity – there are likely to be other versions.  Hey presto, here is a FIVE stage model:

Employee lifecycle begins with a prospective candidate looking at your job ad and continues until the day that employee leaves your company. The lifecycle includes five stages:






Each of these stages will have established KPIs tied to them that demonstrate the impact on the whole business and ROI.

[This one comes from here:]

Not to be outdone, someone came up with a SEVEN stage “employee life cycle”:

[Which comes from here:]

As someone who has helped organisations set up Alumni Networks, this makes enormous sense.  Not only are alumni sometimes the best advocates for the employer (not all people leave under a cloud or resenting their employer) but they are also far cheaper to recruit – they already know you, they settle in quicker, need less induction, and don’t require big fat recruitment agency fees.  However, there is another part of this population that marketers are all too aware of, and ignoring this can seriously undermine your recruitment efforts.

This part was highlighted in a tweet from Dawn Whittaker, CFO of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service the other day:

These two kids know of the existence of the Fire and Rescue Service.  They probably know very little about it (though they do more since the Firefighters turned up at their school to say hello)!  The fire service is part of their general awareness, as are so many other institutions.  Often, when someone is looking for a job, it is one of their friends who says; “Why don’t you see if XX have any vacancies?”

In the case of the Fire and Rescue Service, I suspect that many adults are aware that for historical reasons they are organised on county lines [ed: sorry that phrase has been hijacked by the drug police]; that is in line with the civic authority boundaries.  So someone who gets pointed in their direction will almost certainly contact the local one.

There are some organisations for whom the vast majority of their recruits had never thought of getting a job, but they were well aware of their existence, and yet have no idea of the possible range of jobs that might be available.  The military comes to mind, as does the NHS, but there will be a lot of household name private sector employers who fall into the same category.  They are part of the infrastructure without necessarily having any form.

When I grew up all little boys were supposed to want to become a train driver.  For me, the fantasy quickly disappeared one day when I was standing on the pedestrian bridge over the railway at Wimbledon when a steam train went past.  Little boys, shorts, and steam trains are a sorry combination.  If your mate says, “Why don’t you get a job on the railway?” you would probably need to do a bit of research to find out how many different companies are involved and which ones have vacancies.  For this kind of employer, in a competitive environment where ‘talent’ is in limited supply, it is important not only to become a household name but also to be seen in a positive light among the communities from which you want to recruit.  This is before the “outreach” phase described in the six-stage model, and long before the “recruitment” phase which the five-stage model begins with.  It is not simply about PR – being seen to do things that help that community – sponsoring football matches in your home town, rowing competitions at Oxbridge, or building community centres in new estates.  It is about having values that are lived by every single person who works for you – from the C-suite to the shop-floor.  It is those values, and their expression, that give you the edge from the earliest point in the employee lifecycle right through to the end.

So, in the interest of completeness, I would like to propose the Wilson 😉  model of the employee life-cycle, which has EIGHT stages.  I shalln’t bore you with the detail for the time being..

  1. Alignment – ensuring that the values of the organisation and its staff are visible to the communities from which they recruit and are ones that the members of these might aspire to themselves.
  2. Attraction
  3. Application
  4. Onboarding
  5. Retention
  6. Development
  7. Embarking – even the best employer can’t expect to be able to satisfy the needs of a growing employee but rather than seeing someone who needs to leave as an irritant to be “exited”, let’s champion them as an adventurer embarking on the next stage in their journey of growth!
  8. Alumni

More to follow…!

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