David Ulrich – a prolific author of HR literature – once said:
"An abundant organization enables its employees to be completely fulfilled by finding meaning and purpose from their work experience.”
And, as countless research studies have confirmed, purpose increases engagement.
So, when is the right time in an employee’s work experience to introduce the idea of purpose? At their first annual review? Whenever they decide to start the conversation? If they start to appear disengaged or dissatisfied?
In truth: purpose is something that should permeate the entire employee lifecycle, from end to end. From pre-recruitment communication, all the way through their tenure, and past their exit – purpose is key.
It may come as a surprise that an employee’s experience with your organization begins before they even step foot in the door. And indeed, it continues way beyond the time they’ve left your payroll, too.
But that is the employee lifecycle in its totality.
As such, it’s accurate to say that an employee’s lifecycle with your organization has a start but no end.
Because even when an employee is no longer in your employment, they will forever act as an ambassador for your company – hopefully to sing your praises and extend your client network, as well as recommending your organization to potential new recruits.
In this way, a failure to appreciate, support and continually improve your staff’s work experience can have seriously detrimental – and long lasting – consequences for your business.
What’s more: the employee lifecycle is like a pyramid, building up from awareness to exit. If one or more stage is weak and unstable, the whole experience suffers as a result.
This article explains each stage in turn; explaining best practice approaches along the way, to help you better understand both the employee lifecycle, and a leader or manager’s role at each stage.
So, let’s start at the very beginning…
Stage 1: Pre-recruitment — first impressions and attraction
If you’ve ever job-hunted, you’ll know how arduous an experience it can be – either because the market is saturated with similar-sounding roles, or because it’s a struggle to find an opening that fits all your wants and needs.
And the longer the job search stretches on – sometimes taking as long as six months – the more likely a candidate is to apply for less relevant roles.
For HR professionals and recruiters, this means spending a lot of time sorting through applications – to identify those worth pursuing.
And that’s what Stage 1 of the employee lifecycle focuses on: attracting the right talent to review – and apply for – your open positions.
If you think about the fact that an active job-seeker uses an average of 16 resources in their job search, it’s easy to understand how, after a while, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.
So, this is where organizations can make a difference – to increase both awareness and interest.
This starts with being where the talent is.
Did you know, for example, that 73% of companies have used social platforms to recruit and hire a candidate?
So, if your company isn’t using LinkedIn, Twitter or even Instagram (depending on your sector) to advertise open positions – you could seriously be missing out.
Then, once a candidate is aware of your opportunity, you need to engage them; crafting disruptive, engaging and persuasive job adverts, with role descriptions that speak directly to the ideal candidate.
What can a job seeker expect from the role? Where could their experience take them? What purpose and vision do they need to have? These are just a few of the questions that you need to answer to both interest and engage potential applicants.
Put simply: a well-written job description will motivate top talent to apply.
But first impressions don’t end there – 38% of candidates dedicate 1-2 hours researching a new opportunity, 18% take 2-4 hours and 16% spend 5 or more hours on this initial process.
So, the key takeaway here is that talent managers need to consider how well their organization’s website; social media presence; and reputation are performing in the pre-recruitment stage.
In short, is your company doing the most it can to encourage potential recruits to get in touch?
Stage 2: Recruitment – finding the right fit
Do you know your organization’s employee value proposition?
If not, you should – a compelling EVP can be the key to securing the best possible talent for your team. And a potential recruit’s perception of your value proposition will be based on every step of the recruitment process.
That’s why HR professionals need to nurture exciting applicants, giving them the best possible experience in Stage 2 of the employee lifecycle – encouraging them, in turn, to join the team with an easy, enjoyable and engaging application process.
For example, did you know that 94% of candidates agree that being contacted by their prospective manager can make them accept a job offer faster, according to LinkedIn?
Seems as though a quick phone call can have substantial benefit for your organization – it gives a sense of belonging and purpose. It tells them that you want them, and why!
But we also need to think about the unsuccessful applicants at this stage, too: almost every interviewee wants to receive interview feedback, but only 41% do.
And someone who misses out on a job is 4x more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity, if you offer them constructive feedback.
So, don’t forget your ‘unsuccessful’ candidates in the recruitment stage – they could be the future!
Stage 3: On-boarding – preparing for success
On-boarding isn’t just important in a new employee’s first week. And it doesn’t end with giving them the tools they need to get the job done, either.
Whilst many HR professionals would say that on-boarding takes at least three months, further research has suggested retention rates are improved by extending Stage 3 of the employee lifecycle for up to their first year in the business.
So, why is on-boarding so important?
Again, it comes back to purpose and engagement.
During their early day experiences of your organization, an employee is finding their feet and beginning to spot their opportunities for growth. And the on-boarding stage is the ideal time to immerse a new employee into the company culture, so they can begin to understand and reinforce ‘how things are done here’.
Additionally, opening a feedback loop from the staff member’s first day means that managers and their teams can work together to smooth the on-boarding process, and quickly rectify any issues that may arise.
Duuoo’s software can easily establish open communication channels, between managers and their teams, for both formal and informal two-way feedback.
And if you get it right, effective on-boarding procedures can result in 2.5x more revenue growth and 1.9x the profit margin of poor on-boarding experiences.
Stage 4: Development – responding to growth and change
In many ways, Stage 4 begins at the same time as Stage 3: a new team member will grow into their role from the first day of their employment, with 76% of employees – or 87% of Millennial team members – seeking development routes.
And if an organization fails to offer opportunities for progression and change, employees may look elsewhere for ways to achieve their development goals.
Unfortunately, the majority of organizations simply aren’t doing enough to satisfy their employee’s development needs. In fact, research suggests that about 70% of employees are dissatisfied with growth opportunities within their current companies.
Stage 4 of the employee lifecycle presents win-win benefits for both employees and their organization. Churn rate hits a business’ bottom line – the cost of a lost team member can be anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2.0 times an employee's annual salary, according to Gallup.
So, listen to your employees and respond to their personal and professional development needs. In turn, you’ll be protecting your profit margin, too.
But there’s a problem: traditional development approaches – like annual review systems, for example – are simply not comprehensive enough to fully track and support an employee’s growth needs.
Giving staff a yearly platform to voice their thoughts is not nearly frequent or personalized enough to generate the insight required.
It’s here that Duuoo can help.
With a committed, continuous focus on performance development, our solution can sustain both the personal and professional growth within your team; offering a far more motivating approach than annual performance reviews – with a far greater understanding of each employee as an individual talent, too.
Stage 5: Retention — keep hold of top talent
We’ve already discussed how losing a team member can negatively impact profitability, so it’s no surprise that Stage 5 of the employee lifecycle is one of the most important stages for your business.
So, what’s the secret to retention?
It’s simple, really: listen to employees, respond to their development needs, provide regular and insightful feedback, and give them the chance to feed back to their seniors.
And – perhaps most crucially – help employees find their purpose within your organization.
As Simon Sinek explains:
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
So consider how your organization can reward performance with intrinsic rewards, too.
Stage 6: Off-boarding and exit — an opportunity to learn from each other
There will always come a day when an employee leaves your business. It may be after a few months, it may be after four or more decades.
However long they have stayed within the team, there’s a right and a wrong way to handle an employee’s off-boarding experience.
Each and every exiting employee should be treated with respect – so always ensure you find time to do an exit interview, before they leave.
Having a historical timeline of all the conversations an employee has had with their manager, since the very beginning of their tenure, is extremely helpful – and super easy to set-up with Duuoo, too!
These meetings provide invaluable insight surrounding their experience with your organization – what they accomplished, what they liked, what they disliked, what the company could have done differently and what the company did well.
As a manager, it’s your job to thoroughly analyze this data – ask yourself what can you learn from each exit interview you conduct. Don’t just write notes, and hide them away in a filing cabinet never to be seen again. Really make use of this process, as it’ll help you in the future.
As HBR explain:
“Many companies don’t even conduct [exit] interviews. Some collect exit interview data but don’t analyze it. Some analyze it but don’t share it with the senior line leaders who can act on it. Only a few collect, analyze, and share the data and follow up with action… and [are] undoubtedly better for it.”
Exit interviews are also a great opportunity to pass on any final constructive feedback for employees to take into their next role.
A successful exit interview provides closure on their employee lifecycle so far, and prepares them for the final – and perhaps longest-lasting – stage of all…
Stage 7: Ambassadorship — continue your relationship into the future…
If you thought an employee’s life cycle ended with their exit, you’d be wrong.
In fact, there’s much to be said for the seventh and final stage – and organizations should be putting a great deal of strategic thought and effort into supporting their ex-employees as alumni.
This means staying in authentic contact – not just ‘liking’ their birthday notifications on LinkedIn.
Remember, regardless of your location or industry, the world’s become a surprisingly small place; everyone is connected, in one way or another. So each ex-employee will act as an ambassador for your business.
If they’ve had a positive employee lifecycle with you thus far, they will reinforce positive messages about your organization within their networks.
And with referrals accounting for around a third of all external hires, this can be make or break for your company’s future talent pool.
To sum it up: the employee lifecycle is on-going, and deserves the utmost attention and engagement throughout
So, now it’s time to ask yourself: how well is your organization currently managing its employee lifecycles?
Chances are, there are ways you could improve, bringing knock-on benefits to your company’s productivity and – ultimately – profit line, too!
So, if you’re keen to learn more about the ways that Duuoo’s software can strengthen an employee’s work experience, and help you build high performing, engaged teams – get in touch today.