The term employee life cycle refers to the dynamic journey of the employee through the various stages of employment. It starts way before the contract is signed – when potential candidates first come into contact with the company’s employer brand –, continues with the onboarding, motivation and development of the new employee and ends when the successful (or less successful) employment relationship comes to a close. The employer (but not only them) must strive to make this journey as pleasant and successful as possible for everyone involved. Here are some of Optiweb’s tried and tested approaches to ensuring a positive employee experience.
An employee life cycle includes 4 key phases: • Employer branding
• Finding and hiring new employees
• Employee development, retention and resignation
It is extremely difficult to pinpoint which step is crucial for hiring new employees and retaining them. On the way to success, all phases are immensely important, which is why companies should know how to approach this task in a holistic, innovative and efficient manner.
1st phase: Employer Branding
It represents a company’s identity and is of key importance for the start of each employee’s life cycle. When people look for a new place to work, it’s the employer branding that enables the company to catch their attention and convince them to seriously think about the job offer at hand. Every company out there has an employer brand; some actively develop it while others don’t. However, employers should bear in mind that not investing in their employer branding can cost them a lot more than if they actively developed it.
HR tip No 1: If you haven’t started working on your employer branding yet, do it today. When thinking about your employer brand, ask yourself the following questions:
• Which target personas do we want to address and how will we go about it?
• Which KPIs will we use to measure the success of our employer branding strategy? Some examples are a lower staff turnover, more applications, etc.
• How do your employees see your employer branding? Do you practise what you preach?
2nd phase: Finding the Right People
Finding and hiring the right employees is a process that takes up an ever larger portion of an HR specialist’s time while also involving employees from other departments. When facing a staff shortage, it’s vital for companies to expand their horizons, become more agile and forget about the hiring practices that were successful a few years ago. It’s most likely that many of them aren’t effective anymore. You should also strive to make this phase as pleasant as possible for everyone involved (especially the candidates and employees in leading roles). But how does one go about it?
HR tip Nr. 2: Think about the following:
• What is our candidate persona like? Do we know who we are looking for and what to expect from our potential employees? How do we make sure that we know what kind of person our team is looking for, thus not spending loads of precious time looking for the wrong profile?
• Have we clearly defined every step of the selection process? What is the goal of each step? Can we optimise the process in any way?
• Does everyone involved in the selection process know their tasks and responsibilities? What is the role of the HR department and what do other coworkers take care of?
Many people think that when a new person is hired, the job of an HR specialist is almost done. But this is just the beginning. Their main task is to take care of a smooth onboarding process.
3rd phase: Onboarding New Employees
If we don’t structure it properly and set clear expectations on both sides, our chances of success are much lower. In order for a new member of the team to perform well, we need to constantly invest in their growth.
Therefore, we need to think of the following (HR tip Nr. 3):
• How can we make an employee’s transition from their old job to the new one easier?
• Do we have an onboarding program with clearly defined activities and goals?
• Is the mentoring process clearly defined, does the mentor know their tasks?
• Are we providing regular and clear feedback?
4th phase: Development + Motivation = Employee Retention
Keeping employees motivated is one of the crucial ways of retaining the workforce. However, financial rewards alone are not enough. There are many ways in which a company can motivate its employees and make sure they feel good enough to stay. However, there is always another option, namely choosing to say goodbye. When this scenario materialises, it usually creates unpleasant emotions on both sides. To mitigate this, an employee must make sure that the employee’s notice period is as stress-free as possible. But in order to avoid losing the employee or at least experience this situation less often, we need to consider the following (HR tip Nr. 4):
• In what ways can we motivate employees and reward them?
• Feedback is crucial for any changes – how will we provide it?
• Which processes can we implement to really get to the bottom of what the employees wish from us?
• Do those activities support our employer branding, do they reflect our employer brand?
Nowadays, being an HR specialist means much more than just performing administrative duties. It involves a wide array of competencies, ranging from the “basic” HR competencies to marketing, management and sales skills. Only when HR specialists gain enough knowledge in all those areas can they offer sufficient support to their company and its employees. What is more, all those competencies are crucial for managing an employee’s life cycle.