What is the Employee Life Cycle?

Employees are the soul of every organization. You might have the best tools and technology, but your company will not reach its potential if you don’t have the right people. To have skilled and talented employees, an organization should go through different stages of the employee life cycle.

The employee life cycle is a significant part of the development of an organization. It is not just about hiring and retaining employees but also deals with developing various skills and leaving a good impression on them before leaving the company. If you are a stakeholder or an HR manager, you must know about the employee life cycle. In this blog post, we’ll go through the entire life cycle of an employee and its significance for the company’s growth. So, let’s start. If you’re interested in learning via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

What is Employee Life Cycle?

The employee life cycle is a model of employee life that shows the employee’s journey in your organization, from joining to leaving. It is a sequential process that involves various stages, such as attracting candidates, screening them, hiring the best ones, training and developing them, retaining them, and in the end, parting ways with them.

The employee life cycle is a part of the organization’s HR strategy, developed to improve its effectiveness and profitability. It is not a one-time event but a continuous process to achieve its goals. This cycle aims to have satisfied and productive employees who can contribute to the organization’s growth.

What are the Stages of Employee Life Cycle?

The employee life cycle model consists of seven stages. Let’s look at the different stages of the employee life cycle in detail.

1. Candidate Attraction

The first stage of the employee lifecycle model is candidate attraction. Attracting skilled candidates requires a lot of creativity. You can’t just sit back and wait for candidates to come knocking at your door, or you will be left searching in the dark with no one to hire.

  • Create a Job Description. You should first write a job description to help you find the right candidates. Create an attractive and catchy job advertisement that attracts skilled candidates to apply for your company’s jobs. You also need to focus on understanding the company’s requirements to avoid wasting time on unqualified candidates. It is important to understand what the candidates expect from you. They want to know about your company culture, job responsibilities, salary, and benefits the organization offers to make an informed decision. The language of the job description is very important because it has a direct effect on how many people are attracted to your organization.
  • Advertise the Job Posting. Attracting qualified candidates requires advertising your job opening in the right places. You can post them on job boards, social media, and career websites. You can also reach out to potential candidates through referrals and networking. Creating a catchy career ad or designing excellent recruitment kits like brochures and pamphlets can help you in the attraction phase. You can also advertise it in newspapers, magazines, and other print media so that people get to know about your company’s opening.
  • Offer Perks and Incentives. You can offer perks and incentives to the candidates to attract them to your company. Some of the popular benefits you can offer are flexible work hours, telecommuting, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation days and sick leaves, etc.
  • Make Use of Employer Branding. Employer brand is one of the most important factors to help you attract the best talent. You need to create a positive image of your company and make sure that the candidates are aware of it. Use various marketing channels to promote your employer branding strategy. Employer branding can help you distinguish your organization from the competition.

2. Employee Recruitment

Once you have attracted the candidates, it is time to hire the best one among them. Employee recruitment is a crucial employee life cycle stage. For recruiting the right person for the post, you need to screen all the applications you receive. Screening the candidates is a challenging task and you need to put some effort to hire the right candidate.

It helps ensure that you call only those skilled applicants for interviews who fulfill the requirements, thereby saving your time and other current employees involved in the recruitment process. The following steps can help you screen the candidates and hire the right person:

  • Take a Look at The Portfolio. A good resume can tell you a lot about the individual. Check the skills and qualifications of the candidates to shortlist them for an interview. Check if they have the required technical skills for the post. While considering the technical skills, don’t forget about the soft skills required for the job. Without appropriate soft skills, like problem-solving capability, effective communication, and teamwork, the individual might not fit in the company’s culture.
  • Check Employee Experience. You should also verify if the candidates have worked in companies similar to yours since this experience will make them aware of company culture and expectations. If the candidates have worked in companies with a different culture, it gets tough to adjust them to your company’s culture.
  • Ask for Testimonials. People will always talk about the candidates. Check their testimonials to know more about them. Good references from past employers can tell you a lot about the capabilities of an individual. Testimonial enables you to learn about their past work experience and competencies.
  • Conduct In-Person Interviews. After shortlisting the candidates, it is time to call all those who match your requirements for a face-to-face interview. You need to schedule interviews so that there are no overlaps and arrange enough time and space for each of them. The interview process will enable you to evaluate various factors like personal skills, technical skills, and knowledge. You should prepare a list of questions based on the job post in an interview.
  • Conduct Mobile Interviews. If you cannot conduct an in-person interview, you can conduct a mobile interview. The questions that you ask during the mobile interview should judge the skills and experience of the candidate. You can also assess their personality and soft skills.
  • Select The Right Candidate. After conducting the interviews, it is time to select a candidate. You need to select the best candidate who is a good fit for your company. Selecting the wrong candidate can lead to various problems for the company.
  • Offer Job To The Best Candidate. After you have selected a candidate, it is time to offer them the job. You need to make sure that the offer is attractive enough so that the candidate accepts it. The job offer should include the salary, benefits, and other perks.

3. On-Boarding

After the candidate has accepted your job offer, it is time to onboard them. The employee onboarding stage helps in familiarizing the new employee with the company. Let’s learn about the steps for onboarding a new employee.

  • Pre-Boarding. Pre-boarding involves employee engagement before joining the organization. Pre-boarding aims to make the onboarding process easier for the employee. It is carried ou in the form of an email, a video, or some other format that makes sense to the new hire. The pre-boarding process can include information about the corporate culture, company values, the history of the company, and what to expect on the first day.
  • Onboarding Day. The first day is very important for the new employee. Day one onboarding should include an employee orientation by introducing the company and its policies. Also, introduce the new hire to their teammates. The existing employees should welcome the new team member. It is also important for HR professionals, including the hiring manager, to welcome them on the first day.
  • Orientation. The orientation program helps the new employee learn about the company’s values, mission, vision, and purpose. The orientation process includes activities like learning about the organizational structure of the company, and the functional groups to which they belong. It should also cover background information, such as the company’s history and important milestones.
  • Employee Training. Employee training helps train the employees on your organization’s rules so they have the instructions on how to do their job. You should design the training program in a way that helps the employees in understanding their job roles and responsibilities. Train them to operate the required tools and software. It is also important to train the employee in improving their soft skills, including communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Also, it is your responsibility to develop each employee training program based on the job role of employees. For example, if you are training a software developer, there will not be any point in teaching them marketing stuff.
  • Establish Performance Management System. It is important to establish a performance management system to ensure that the employee is motivated and engaged. An effective performance evaluation process enables an organization or manager in identifying areas where employees can improve their skills for better job performance.
  • Safety And Security Training. While working, safety is the utmost priority. Employers should train their employees to work in a safe manner so they can avoid any mishaps or accidents. You should also provide safety training to the employees when working in an unfamiliar environment. During onboarding, train your employees about your company’s safety and security policies.

4. Employee Development

Make sure that you provide your employees with some development opportunities so they can grow their skills. HR managers should identify their employees’ training and development needs and provide them with the necessary resources. Moreover, it is also mandatory to offer workshops, seminars, and other professional development programs.

Development opportunities help in motivating the employees and keeping them engaged with their work. If you want to learn about developing your employees’ competencies, you need to analyze the goals of your business. Then, you need to figure out the competencies required by your employees for achieving those goals.

The HR managers should create a development plan for their employees and track their progress. Following are some tips to take their professional development capabilities to the next level:

  • Deciding The Skills You want to Develop. It is very important to identify the skills you want to develop. You cannot improve anything if you do not know what to improve. Once you have identified the skills, you need to determine how you can acquire them. You need to find out their sources of information and learning.
  • Creating A Development Plan. After identifying the skills you want to develop, it is time to create a development plan. The development plan should include the goal you want to achieve, the steps you need to take, and the resources you will require. To create an effective development plan, you can use peer coaching, job shadowing, and online resources.

5. Tracking Progress

It is important to track your progress to measure your success. You should also identify any challenges you face while trying to achieve your goal and find ways to overcome them. It will help you in determining whether you are making the desired progress or not. You can use different tools such as performance appraisal forms and development logs to track your progress.

  • Get Employee Feedback. Employees are the best source of information when it comes to their development needs. Ask them for their honest feedback and find out what they want to improve in their professional life. It will help you provide them with the necessary resources and development opportunities.

6. Employee Retention

Employees are hard to recruit, but they are even harder to retain. In today’s business world, most employees are attracted to other companies. If you want to retain your best talent, it is very important to provide them with the necessary resources and development opportunities.

Employee retention is a very important aspect of human resources management. It is expensive and time-consuming to find and hire new employees. Effective employee life cycle management can help in retaining the best employees by providing them with the necessary development opportunities. To retain talented employees, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Motivate Your Employees. The best way to retain your employees is to motivate them. You need to find out what motivates them and provide them with the necessary resources. Some of the common motivators include job satisfaction, recognition, financial rewards, and development opportunities.
  • Trust Your Workers. Employees want to feel trusted by their employers. If they feel that their employer trusts them, they become more engaged and productive at work. You need to find out what makes your employees feel appreciated and respected.
  • Build Strong Relationship with Employees. You cannot retain your employees if you have a weak relationship with them. Today’s job market is very competitive, and most workers are attracted to other companies. If you want to keep talented workers, then it is important for you to build strong relationships with them.
  • Communicate With Your Employees. Employees are eager to know what is happening in the company. They also want to know their role in the company’s future. Communicate with your workers on regular basis and keep them updated about the latest news and developments in the organization. It will help keep your employees engaged. Lack of communication between employees and the authorities can lead to mistrust and dissatisfaction.

Good employee management skills allow you to handle employees in an effective manner. Good handling leads to better productivity, and so leads to better targeting of HR goals. If you’re looking to master HR management, check out this course below that you might want to explore and enroll in:

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7. Employee Offboarding

The employee life cycle strategy does not end with the termination of an employee. In fact, it is very important to manage the exit of an employee in a proper manner. You need to find out the right steps to take when terminating an employee. The goal is to protect the company’s interests and maintain a positive relationship with the former employee. The following can make your offboarding process ever more effective:

  • Carry out Exit Interview. It is very important to conduct an exit interview with the employee before leaving the company. The exit interview can provide you with valuable information about the reasons for termination and the employee’s feelings towards the organization. You can also use this opportunity to get honest feedback from the employees about their experience at your company.
  • Create a Documents Checklist. It is very important to ensure that all the necessary documents are in order before terminating an employee. You can create a checklist of all the required documents and send it to the employee’s manager. It will help in ensuring a smooth exit for the employee.
  • Inform The Rest of The Team. The termination of an employee can have a negative impact on the rest of the team members. You need to inform them about the termination and provide them with any necessary support. It will help in maintaining a positive work environment after the departure of an employee.
  • Maintain Positive Interactions. It is very important to maintain positive interactions with an employee even after he or she leaves. The former employee can become a valuable resource for you in the future, so it is better not to burn any bridges before leaving. If you want your employees to recommend others when they leave, then make sure that their experience at work is pleasant.


The above content provides a detailed explanation about what are the stages of the HR life cycle and what happens in each stage of the employee life cycle.

In short, we can conclude that the HR life cycle starts from talent acquisition and employee seeking, to retirement and off-boarding the employees. This cycle keeps on repeating itself on and on to hire experienced and skilled talent so they can contribute to bringing value to the organization.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into any HR  position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR job.


Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.