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How to Map, Measure, and Improve the Employee Lifecycle Journey

hr strategy icon5 min read


From the moment an employee becomes part of your organization, they rely on support from your HR team. Examining the experience you provide throughout the employee lifecycle journey can help you see workforce management in a new light. You’ll not only understand the needs of the workforce better, but you’ll also identify new ways to improve every aspect of the employee experience—from recruitment to professional development and beyond.

What Is the Employee Lifecycle Journey?

The employee lifecycle summarizes the total employee experience. It is the collection of encounters your employees have with their coworkers, managers, and HR, from the first day they apply to an open position to the day they leave your organization.

There are many different models for explaining the employee lifecycle, and most include the following six stages:

  • Recruitment: The steps you take to attract and select candidates for hire
  • Onboarding: Activities that acclimate new hires to the organization, their team, and internal processes and systems
  • Performance: The tools and processes designed to help evaluate and reward employee contributions
  • Development: Training and on-the-job experiences that help employees build skills and advance their careers
  • Retention: Activities that build employee commitment to their roles, team, and the organization
  • Off-boarding: The processes for voluntary and involuntary exits of employee

Creating a positive journey for your employees is important because it delivers benefits to them and the broader organization. According to Jacob Morgan research, companies that invest in the employee experience are four times more profitable than companies that don’t. Also, BetterUp research revealed that employees reporting a better employee experience were 28 percent more productive, had 46 percent stronger organizational commitment, and had 59 percent higher job satisfaction. Taking steps to map and measure the employee lifecycle journey will help you identify new ways to improve it.

View our ultimate guide to employee management and see how streamlining HR functions provides a competitive advantage. >>

How to Map Your Employee Lifecycle Journey

Whether you create a chart, a flow diagram, or write them out, it’s essential to describe your HR activities during each of the stages of the employee lifecycle. By asking yourself the following questions for each stage of the employee lifecycle, you can begin to map your employees’ journeys with your organization:

  • Recruitment: Where do you recruit? What is the process for attracting and selecting candidates to interview and hire? What are the steps you follow to construct an offer?
  • Onboarding: What are the people, processes, and resources you use to help new hires get up to speed in a new role? Is there a separate process for onboarding remote employees? How do new hires get on payroll and enroll in benefits?
  • Performance: What are the processes for performance review and pay? Are there mechanisms for delivering performance feedback between peers, from the bottom up, or between different levels of seniority?
  • Development: What are the required and voluntary training courses? What are the criteria and process for promotion? How do you conduct succession planning?
  • Retention: What kind of surveys or recognition tools do you use to build employee engagement? How do you prevent regretted turnover?
  • Off-boarding: What is the process for exit interviews? What are the steps you take to remove employees from payroll and benefits? How do you manage employee transitions to COBRA?

As you map your employee lifecycle journey, be sure to document your answers to these questions. Pay attention to questions that you cannot fully answer, or questions that you cannot answer at all. These questions can help you identify issues in your HR processes that affect the employee experience.

How to Identify Areas for Improvement

Ultimately, you want the work you do in each of the employee lifecycle stages to help employees perform and stay engaged. To get there, you’ll need to take a look at your HR processes and programs, and determine where there are opportunities for improvement.

A great way to identify areas for improvement is to focus on occasions where you have experienced delays, bottlenecks, or inaccuracies, and think about how you can make changes to bring about more positive outcomes. Some examples of possible problem areas include:

  • The time it takes to fill open positions is higher than you would like, and you don’t have a clear view of your talent pipeline for certain open positions.
  • Once employees are hired, gaps in their onboarding leave them feeling unsure of how to access certain information or where to go for help.
  • Employee payroll deductions don’t match benefits enrollment data. 
  • It’s not easy to run accurate reports summarizing recruitment activity, headcount, or employee time off.
  • Some employees have fallen into a rut and need help reviving their careers.

View our ultimate guide to employee management and see how streamlining HR functions provides a competitive advantage. >>

How to Measure and Improve the Employee Lifecycle Journey

Once you pinpoint areas for improvement, it’s time to identify tools to help you better support your workforce. Workforce management software is an ideal solution for helping you design and improve processes for every stage of the employee journey. With reporting tools and powerful dashboards to help you recruit, pay, and develop your employees, you can track workforce metrics and chart your progress as you make improvements.

Instead of managing workforce activities across several disconnected platforms, you can manage each stage of the employee lifecycle with a single all-in-one tool. With a total workforce management solution, you can generate accurate HR reports and track key metrics such as:

  • Time to fill open positions
  • Regretted and un-regretted turnover
  • Total payroll and payroll growth over time
  • Employee productivity rates
  • Rate of employee promotions
  • Training hours and cost per employee

Manage the Employee Lifecycle with an All-in-one Solution

Mapping the employee lifecycle journey provides you with deeper insights into employee experiences. It also helps you develop a clearer picture of opportunities for improvement so that you can support your workforce with the right mix of HR programs and services. All-in-one workforce management software helps you establish and maintain processes to support employees at every stage along their lifecycle journeys.

Want to learn more about how managing employees in disconnected systems can negatively impact your employee lifecycle journey? Download our ebook now.

Employee Management Guide