2022 will demand deeper HR action on employee wellbeing, even more so than 2020. In this article, we’ll explain how the employee lifecycle model can improve the employee experience and why project management may just be the key to perfecting your company’s lifecycle strategy. Keep reading to discover how to help breed longevity, success, and excellent employee engagement with just a few simple tools. 

The employee lifecycle model explained

The employee life cycle is a conceptual framework that explains the various stages of a worker's career. It helps track the employee's progress through various stages and provides employers with an opportunity to analyze data. 

This tool also visualizes the different stages an employee goes through during their time at an organization, from initial awareness to the day they leave. The employee lifecycle model may also be called the HR life cycle or simply the HR cycle.

Different phases & stages of the employee lifecycle model

The employee lifecycle model is about more than just the employment period of an individual. Similar to the customer journey, the employee journey from first contact to offboarding has its own unique set of phases and stages. 

HR personnel and team leaders should get familiar with each one because it will inform how they interact with employees (and potential employees), depending on where they are in the life cycle model. Paying attention to these details will ensure that each individual is valued and set up for success, whether they’ll be working in-person or remote

Here is what they are, along with why they’re important and the actions to take during each phase to ensure success. 

1. Attract

The first step in the employee lifecycle is all about attracting the right people. Your relationship with potential candidates begins when they first learn about your brand. This is why dedicating a portion of your employee lifecycle model to recruitment and reputation is so important. 

Not only does this help build a great product and consistent service, but it also helps retain and attract top talent.

Action: Evaluate your recruitment materials with fresh eyes. Make sure social media accounts, landing pages, and physical marketing materials accurately reflect your brand while maintaining business continuity

2. Recruit

The creative recruitment stage is the second part of the employee lifecycle. It involves getting people looking forward to employment and developing a recruitment plan. This step-by-step process starts with the job ad, finding creative ways to demonstrate what your company does and what it values, and eventually leading to the hiring of a new employee. 

An emphasis on career development, brand prestige, and a healthy work environment is hugely important. 

Action: Map out potential career development tracks for leads so they get a sense of what the next one, three, and five years may look like at your company. Emphasize upward mobility, work-life balance, and companywide culture

3. Onboard

The onboarding process is a process that begins when a new hire accepts an offer of employment. It involves getting used to the organization's systems and expectations.

Everything from the first day of the new hire's career to getting them up to speed with the systems, processes, and expectations of their role falls under this category. 

On average, onboarding may last anywhere from an hour to a week and is often the shortest portion of the employee lifecycle model. 

Action: Create an onboarding workflow that is easy for the new hire to follow and involves at least one executive-level manager on a personal level to better enrich the process. 

4. Retain

In this employee lifecycle model phase, employers must develop and meet the needs of the talent acquired in the previous three steps. You can choose to focus on keeping your top performers while improving on the strengths of others. The goal should also be to create a culture that encourages continuous improvement and development at every level. 

Action: Set up and regularly maintain systems for employee feedback both formally and informally. 

5. Develop 

Now that you’re retaining a high percentage of staff, it’s time to further develop their skills, help them achieve their career goals, and support continued growth in all areas. This can be done through organized programs, scholarship opportunities for those going back to school, in-house mentoring, and skill development workshops. 

Having a clear path forward for the next few years will also help employees see how their own personal development will influence the success of the entire company. 

Action: Make a plan for what you’ll do to help employees grow and how you’ll do it. 

6. Separate

Separation means either one or both parties have decided to call it quits on your collaboration. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! This is an important step in the employee lifecycle and can be helpful if you practice great offboarding techniques. 

Offboarding is a process that helps an organization improve its employee experience. It’s also a way to build a better relationship with its former employees. As part of a larger strategy, separation and offboarding are often used to shape the last impressions of the employees before they leave. 

The goal is to make them feel like they are left with a satisfying last impression that may interest them in returning to or recommending your business to other potential employees in the future. 

Action: Like onboarding, offboarding should follow a template workflow that is easy to follow and loops in someone higher up in the company to help them leave on a good note. 

Advantages of an employee lifecycle strategy

An employee lifecycle strategy makes a company's time with an employee easier and less stressful. It also helps evaluate an employee's performance over time. 

For managers, mapping out the employee journey helps you improve both your reputation and talent retention. It will also go a long way toward improving employee health and wellbeing while they are with your company. 

As you know by now, developing and training employees is an essential part of the employee lifecycle. It can help them improve their skills and knowledge, and it can also benefit the business by ensuring top talent stays in your business. 

Maintaining an effective employee lifecycle strategy can help boost employee engagement and provide them with the necessary training to excel in their roles.

How to measure and improve the employee lifecycle

It may be challenging to capture data on the employee lifecycle journeys at first. However, key indicators such as average employment duration and anonymous employee feedback surveys will go a long way. 

Another useful metric is the retention rate. A simple formula to determine the retention rate of an employee is by dividing the number of people working for you by the end of the year.

As you measure progress over time, consider documenting your efforts the same way you track tasks for team management. It’s important to describe your HR activities in the form of a flow chart or a chart during the employee lifecycle. Doing so helps map out your employees' journeys and gives you more context when analyzing KPIs. 

As you map out your HR journey, pay attention to the questions that you cannot answer completely. These will help you identify areas of concern that can affect the employee experience. This list will also provide great ideas for survey questions down the road. 

How Wrike can help manage your employee lifecycle journey

Project software like Wrike can help HR professionals and team leaders improve the efficiency of their work by allowing them to focus on the needs of their employees without sacrificing productivity in other areas.

HR project software is commonly used for various tasks, such as planning, onboarding, and employee training. In Wrike, teams can collaborate and communicate across departments at every stage of their employee lifecycle journey.

Another advantage of using Wrike is that it can help increase teamwide productivity. It eliminates the need to manually update email chains and other time-consuming tasks, which can easily decrease the quality of life for employees on the job. 

Agile HR methods are flexible and can help you get started with a project without missing a beat. Wrike's robust project management software can also help you track and manage multiple tasks, including creating one task for each individual. It can also create and track project budgets for recruitment activities and employee enrichment programs. 

If you’re working as a team to improve your employee lifecycle model, Wrike's ability to create to-do lists with public and private tasks makes it easy to add collaborators while still keeping tasks with the sensitive information in compliance. You can also attach deadlines to individual tasks so that everyone stays on track. 

Use Gantt charts to map out the tasks and dependencies across multiple projects. For example, you can simultaneously interview multiple candidates while still polishing your recruitment materials for other roles at the same time. 

Wrike will even help you identify areas of concern that may affect the timeline and resources. If a person or resource is strained, you can easily spot the bottlenecks before they happen, which is especially useful in complex organizations with hundreds of employees to monitor and engage. 

And as the use of electronic employee scheduling and applicant tracking systems increases, it's clear that project management software like Wrike will be a must-have in the near future. 

Ready to improve employee wellbeing? Get started organizing your new employee lifecycle strategy today with Wrike’s free trial