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Employee loyalty · 

8 minutes

The Employee Lifecycle Model: 5 Key Stages

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Only the top senior leaders in the world dedicate time to the employee experience: they've found that employee life cycle management is key to organizational success.

In this article, we'll take you through the 5 steps of the employee lifecycle model.

Ensure employees have the best experience at your company to increase retention rates and boost company culture.

What is the employee life cycle?

Think of your employee's journey. They go through stages of development within the company from when they start to their eventual departure.

Universally understood within HR, this journey from knowing nothing about the company to becoming a full-on expert is called the Employee Lifecycle.

Companies value customer experience and satisfaction. It's what drives customer loyalty. But, some top talent management started looking at whether this could be applied within a company's organizational structure.

If they could track an employee's journey just as they did with their customers, could they identify improvement points for better retention and employee performance?

Inspired by the customer journey, the employee lifecycle model points out the 5 key steps of the employee lifecycle.

The Importance of an Effective Employee Lifecycle Model

Before we delve into the 5 stages of the employee lifecycle, let's first look at why it is essential for creating a better employee experience.

As a member of senior leadership, it isn't good enough to simply state that employees come and go. That will only lead to poor company culture and dissatisfaction among employees developing into a decline in productivity and results.

Let's look at the 3 fundamental targets of the employee lifecycles:

Employee Experience

Whether new hires or current employees it is important to ensure they have the best experience possible at your company. Not only does it help with company culture and boost team morale, but it also increases productivity, according to Forbes.

Checking in on members of the team at every level creates an environment where employees feel cared about. After all, they are your most valuable asset, so your treatment of them should reflect that.

In doing so, you'll be attentive to all of your employee's needs regardless of where they are in the company cycle.

It's important to understand exactly where they are. Are they enthusiastic and ready to get involved, but are newly hired and don't have the knowledge, so require support? Or are they great contributors to the company, but lack leadership skills in their first move to seniority?

When you identify what employees need as they develop, you can target exactly the type of support they require to make sure they are as effective as possible in their role. That is a win-win for everyone - a positive employee experience coupled with productive support leads to success.

By identifying areas of support, whether it be in onboarding, the recruitment process, or employee retention, you're able to better understand the employee lifecycle and ensure a productive, healthy, and consistent workplace culture.

Boosting Employee Engagement

Connecting with your workers and proactively seeking employee feedback is essential in determining how to improve productivity.

By understanding the different stages of the employee lifecycle, you can make changes within the organizational structure that can aid the support of your team members.

It helps to identify what motivates your team at the different stages of their development and make changes based on that feedback.

It could be a range of things that are implemented at various stages:

  • Professional Development Opportunity

  • Incentives

  • Career Development Days

For company success to be at an all-time high, it's imperative to understand what motivates your employees at the different stages of their careers.

Not everyone is motivated by the same thing. A new hire is not going to be motivated by management experience at an entry-level job, but someone who is starting to develop leadership skills may be motivated by that opportunity.

Employee Retention Rate

By implementing incentives and understanding what motivates employees at different stages of the lifecycle, you're able to keep your team happy. When there are problems in the workforce, a new job posting at a different company may become an attractive option.

All your employees should have the ability to be supported. And at each stage of the employee cycle, that support will be different. For example, by simply ensuring a smooth and efficient onboarding process, you can improve employee retention by 82%. But you can only do that if you understand the cycle.

The 5 crucial stages of the employee life cycle strategy

The average employee lifecycle consists of 5 core stages. They start with the onboarding process and end with departing employees. Within the cycle, there are various points as to which the employee is developing and will require support.

Let's go through the 5 stages:

Awareness to Acquisition

How do you attract new hires? How do you ensure that they are the right person? How do you ensure that the onboarding process is smooth and sets up the person for success?

Every company has a different hiring strategy led by HR professionals. But before potential new hires have even interviewed, they would have come across your employer brand through your website, social media, and company reviews.

Before and during the onboarding process, you must consider the following:

EBBE - Employee-Based-Brand-Equity

Company values are a leading factor in the hiring process for new employees but also have an impact on the retention rate within a company.

Effectively, EBBE is the internalization of a company's values which are shown via brand images, brand loyalty, and brand value.

The employee life cycle model highlights that on the employee journey, the first step is how the brand looks. Do they seem like a company that has a great culture and you'd want to work for? Are their interests aligned with your own?

This step needs to be understood to find the best employees and get them started on their employee journey. What motivates them? Your brand values and image. So, stick to it.


If you have former employees, current employees and possibly even new hires recommending your company, you'll be incredibly attractive to new employees.

Some benefits for customers that can be transferred to employees include:

  • People Trust Referrals

  • Increase in Retention

  • ROI

  • Increased Engagement With the Brand

So, why not introduce referral incentives and rewards to your company culture? Take a look at this article for how rewards will improve your brand image even before the hiring process takes place.

WOM - Word of Mouth Marketing

By establishing and managing your company's branding, you're incentivizing new hires to come directly to you. With internalized company value, your existing employees are likely to recommend you by continuing to work on your branding.

It shows that you take care of the little things. If you're taking care of your brand image and hold importance in your values, the internal organizational culture of the company will be seen as attractive to a new employee.

Training and Development

Employees need to feel as if they are progressing and developing in their careers. Whether it be through their own development, further development within a specific department, or encouraging external learning - there is a direct link between career development, motivation and engaged employees.

For best practice, consider rewarding your team members for engaging in their own personal development and professional development courses. Empower employees by allowing them to feel as if they are developing the skills required to become excellent team members.

This part of the cycle is incredibly important for new hires. Essentially, you're training them and supporting them to complete the job you hired them to do.

New employees won't always have the experience or skills required to complete the job fully. It is your job as a hiring manager to provide them with that support so that they feel they can be successful.

Out of all the life cycle stages, consider how you will train your team to become better. Offer them support within this stage to ensure their satisfaction in the job remains high.

The worst thing you could have is employees feeling stuck and without any support. They won't feel cared about and most employees will end up leaving.

Adding Value & Solving Problems

When your employees move on from the training and development stage, they are able to add value to the company. If you have trained them correctly and given them the tools to be successful, there should be minimal disruptions to their work.

But, the best way to avoid any problems with hires that are entering this development stage is to actively reward good practices.

Employees should always feel valued, especially if they are producing valued work.

If they start to feel as if they aren't praised for adding value to the company, they might consider going somewhere where they do.

This stage of the employee lifecycle is where most companies start to hang back - which makes them less successful. Your employee could be left to their own devices at this stage - they're adding value and helping the company to achieve success.

But how will you motivate them to continue adding value to the company?

The Inflection Point

The inflection point is entirely dependent on how well the other stages of the employee cycle as gone. At this stage your employees will or will not feel:

  • Engaged

  • Motivated

  • Appreciated

At this point, employee surveys may be beneficial. An anonymous survey where employees can answer how they are feeling about working at the company.

For any issues that arise with unmotivated, unsupported, or under-appreciated employees, you can find out the core reasons affecting their work.

It is important to take this stage seriously, as they are just one step off the ROI stage - the stage where the investment into their training and their salary starts to become apparent in the form of added value to your business.


The final stage of the employee life cycle model involves team members who are working extremely well together. They are an active part of the company culture, motivated to work, and are better-trained members of the team.

Due to their developing skills and increased training, they may start to consider leadership opportunities. They feel as if they have developed enough to move up and take more responsibility.

They have almost completed the entire lifecycle, so the HR Department must find ways to keep their motivation consistent - through regular developmental opportunities.

The Alternative

Unfortunately, not every company invests in or acknowledges the employee lifecycle or experience. Here is where problems will start to arise.

There will be many associated costs with employees deciding to leave too early in the cycle. The following reasons may be why a team member has departed early:

  • A lack of training

  • De-motivated due to a lack of support

  • feeling under-appreciated

  • personal reasons

  • Poor employee onboarding

To avoid this, ensure that you hold regular performance reviews and request company-wide feedback through surveys.

Within these, you'll be privy to constant avenues that could do with improvement within the cycle. It is your job to effectively allocate resources to better support employees and their needs within their respective stages.

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