What are the Stages of the Employee Life Cycle?

Most businesses primarily focus on customer satisfaction. Consumers are generally the major source of business profit. However, without well-equipped and fulfilled employees, we won’t be able to provide quality service to satisfy consumers.

Giving importance to employee engagement can help us manage our employees effectively. With better engagement, we increase employee morale and boost employee productivity. Ultimately, this leads to business growth and profitability.

One way we can improve employee engagement is by understanding the employee life cycle.

What is an Employee Life Cycle?

The employee life cycle is a concept in human resources management. It describes the various stages of an employee’s time working for a company. It also relates to the role human resources play at each stage.

The employee life cycle is a key element in performance management. It ensures that we get a top-notch workforce and retain them while continuously developing their skills.

Five Stages of the Employee Life Cycle

There are several models of the employee life cycle. The number of stages vary from three to eight.

Regardless of the number of stages, all models feature the working life-span of an employee from recruitment to their exit from the company. The difference lies mostly in the emphasis given on each stage.

Here, we will discuss five stages of the employee life cycle and the appropriate steps we should take in each stage:

1. Recruitment

Recruitment is the process of selecting candidates suitable for a specific job position. This is more than just placing job postings and choosing candidates with the best qualifications on paper.

Hiring the right people is crucial to the growth of any company. Effective recruitment makes this possible and allows onboarding to be done with ease.

During the recruitment process, we make sure that job descriptions are clearly stated. We conduct interviews and administer assessments. We make the hiring process simple. If possible, we can use recruiting software to streamline the process.

We must also make sure that candidates know the vision and mission of our company. We select employees based not only on their abilities but also on their belief in what our company stands for.

2. Orientation

Once they are formally hired, employees undergo the process of orientation. Having a proper orientation framework ensures that employees are well-informed of the company policies and procedures.

It also makes sure that orientation and training programs are consistent.

During the orientation process, we go over job functions and responsibilities. We highlight the most important duties and explain the skills and experiences required. We outline expectations clearly to better ensure that they would be met.

We also clarify how the position of an employee supports the mission of the company. We discuss company values and ask what those values mean to them.

Not only do we get a sense of what their core character traits might be like, we also get to see if their values align with the company’s. Another part of the orientation process is discussing the specific behaviors required for them to function effectively within the company.

Furthermore, we help new employees establish relationships with their colleagues and supervisors. This is a crucial step in creating a pleasant work environment.

3. Career Planning

This is the stage where employees and supervisors work out long-term career goals with the company.

Career planning enhances employee retention as it aligns individual goals with corporate goals. This ensures that employees gain personal fulfillment as they work within the company.

During career planning, we carry out performance goal setting and set performance assessments. We implement mentoring programs to better equip employees in performing their tasks.

We can also conduct personality profile testing to determine the best career options for them.

Career planning is a good avenue for measuring talent. We can assess skills and knowledge together with our employees. We can identify their areas of expertise and areas that need development and further improvement.

4. Career Development

With career goals set in place, we must now see to the professional growth of our employees within the company. While we give positive recognition for exceptional performance, we also ensure that they develop new skills and abilities.

During this stage of the employee life cycle, we focus on retaining top employees. We find a good balance where our employees feel satisfied and challenged at the same time.

We can conduct leadership trainings and career development programs. We assign special projects to hone their flexibility and adaptability in various scenarios. We also implement succession planning so seniors can impart their knowledge to their juniors.

All these equip employees for higher positions and more complex responsibilities.

Career development opportunities can decrease employee turnover. When we take steps to help employees grow in their career, we increase work motivation and create happiness at work. This translates to long-term engagement.

5. Separation or Offboarding

All employees eventually leave a company. A few are laid off. Some move on to other opportunities. Others retire after a long and successful career. Whatever the reason, we must manage these transitions appropriately.

We carry out exit interviews and performance feedback to determine employees’ reasons for leaving the company. We gather valuable feedback that can help us identify any problem areas we might have in our organizational design.

It is also important for us to make sure that there is proper succession planning. Seasoned employees should be able to pass on knowledge and skills to employees who will take on their role.

This completes the life cycle, with retiring employees contributing to the development of new ones.

Optimizing the Employee Life Cycle

The employee life cycle clearly shows that employee turnover is a natural part of it. We do want to retain high performing employees as long as we can.

But more important than their length of tenure is their contribution to the company. The experiences and knowledge they share with us can be enhanced by optimizing every stage of the employee life cycle.

We can continually improve every aspect of the employee life cycle by keeping updated with the latest industry tools and strategies.

Talent acquisition software can be used to automate the recruitment process. Annual performance reviews and 360 review software make career planning and development more effective. We can also refer to the American society for training and development for resources we can use in our company.


Understanding and optimizing the employee life cycle improves our employee retention rate, increases job productivity, and spurs company growth.

We must do the best that we can at each stage of the process. In doing so, we can attract and retain an exceptional team. We can nurture them from recruitment to retirement.

When we give value to our employees’ skills, they reciprocate by maximizing the value they give to our company. Paying close attention to our employees can result in overall improved employee engagement, sustained business growth and profitability, and better employee morale.