Entering 2020, there’s a heavy focus on the employee experience (EX) and the employee life cycle process, pushing it to the forefront of HR thinking. Human Resources executives agree that reducing employee churn and extending the employee lifecycle for as long as possible are closely connected priorities. When one considers that the average cost of replacing an exiting staff member is $15,000, the impact of churn on the bottom line can be devastating.
This brings us to the employment life cycle. In a nutshell, it’s the tracing of the EX from when the employee applies for the position until he or she exits the company. It aims to cover every crucial touchpoint that the employee has with the company. The term “touchpoint” is another way of saying “interaction”, and the employee journey is made up of a huge number of these interactions.
Why is the employee lifecycle important?
If management can overview all the stages of the employee’s journey, the chances are that churn will decrease, and employee engagement will escalate. How? By structuring policies and strategies to remove obstacles in the employee’s way when moving from one touchpoint to another. Simply put, an engaged employee is generally a loyal one who is proactive and contributes extra effort and ideas. At the opposite end is the disgruntled and frustrated employee who regards employee satisfaction as receiving a paycheck for the least possible effort.
When every stage of the employee lifecycle is optimized, it has several benefits, not just for the employee, but for the company at large. Here are the top benefits of employee lifecycle management:
- Higher retention rates
- Increased productivity and engagement
- More seamless collaborations and lesser conflict
- Better employee company perception leading to improved ORM
To ensure you reap the rewards, here are the employee lifecycle touchpoints you need to optimize:
Through these stages, HR has a central role in the task of creating an employee journey that’s rewarding and maintains a high productivity level. We’ll treat each one separately, providing valuable input. We’ll draw from looking at what cutting-edge companies are doing to keep the employee journey moving at the right pace with the expected results. It helps immensely to know all the things you can do today to bolster staff retention, boost employee satisfaction, and jet-propel productivity off the charts. It all boils down to organization and optimally managing your employees’ time.
#1 Recruitment (including outreach)
There’s a talent shortage in the USA, especially when it comes to technical and technological skills. According to Manpower, close to 75% of employers can’t find the skills they need.
Factually, the first touchpoint in the employee lifecycle begins the day the prospect starts job searching. You are competing for skills that are possibly hard to access, against numerous organizations. We’d say that in the digital era washing over us in 2020, most candidates will dig into the prospective employers’ culture before tying the knot. Here are some pivotal questions to ask yourself:
- What does your website look like?
- Is it informative, engaging, and welcoming?
- Does it communicate that you are enthusiastically looking forward to meeting potential team members?
There’s so much you can do on a careers page and supporting information around it to attract the right people to your job proposition. It’s no different from selling online to a customer. Put your best foot forward and sell an EX second to none. The employment life cycle may never get off the ground if candidates find your message untrustworthy, vague, or an absolute turn-off.
Aside from hoping that prospects arrive at your website, professional advertising for the position is crucial. The way you do that is with well-thought-out content and a media program capable of reaching your target audience (e.g., Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.). Candidates read a lot into these communications, so the wording is an important consideration.
Your employee life cycle model counts for little if HR underestimates the recruitment process.
Employee life cycle stages gain traction after this touchpoint but die a natural death if it fails. If ever there was truth to the adage, “the devil’s in the details,” this is the time. HR should:
- Review employee benefits.
- Outline the employer’s expectations.
- Create an outline of the recruiting process (e.g., number of interviews, the status of interviewers, and a timeline).
- Indicate any tests involved along the way.
- Develop a job description that conveys all duties and responsibilities and the skills necessary to execute them adequately.
- Involve existing employees in the recruitment process, especially where prospects will be a part of a big team
- Offer competitive benefits and compensation
The recruitment stage fits into the employee lifecycle management process to get things off to a running start. HR’s only goal is to fit square pegs into square holes. If it gets it wrong, then the employee life cycle is likely to crater soon after entering the office doors.
Getting employees up to speed and accepted by the team is front and center of employee lifecycle management. The first three months are telling in the sense that most employees form their strongest impressions in that short period. They quickly reach a crossroads where they ask, “Should I stay, or should I go?” An employee exiting prematurely, before the hired skilled set has had a business impact, is a disaster both cost-wise (see above) and work-wise.
The role of digital tools like webinars, podcasts, virtual reality exercises, and case study programs accelerate the onboarding process considerably. According to Glassdoor, organizations that pay cognizance to onboarding as a vital employee lifecycle stage improve new hire retention by an astounding 82 percent, and productivity by 70 percent plus.
In our fast-paced environment, it’s foolhardy to slot in only a few weeks to onboard new employees. Frequently the process can go on for as long as a year, depending on the job complexity. HR patience is a virtue here, one that can pay big dividends down the line.
#3 Development (and Training)
Onboarding digital tools that smooth recruits’ acceptance into the fold are critical in developing an employee’s productivity. Unless staff members believe there’s an opportunity to grow within the business, their motivation will likely wind down. Disengagement will take over the reins. Training comes in big-time here, not only to close skill gaps but to expand skills while absorbing new responsibilities. When you see new ideas getting stuck without any action, it’s generally a sign of development in the employee life cycle faltering as well.
The development touchpoint is the ideal time to begin a feedback program using employee engagement surveys. There are a few variations available under this broad activity, including 360 feedback, which focuses on providing employees information on how others evaluate them. It can embrace customers, superiors, and peers. It occasionally fits in between regular pulse surveys that the employee lifecycle management conducts. The latter measures job satisfaction, and feelings regarding communication, work environment, and other environmental influencers. Finally, training surveys give management feedback on how well all the technology and apps in the training arena are pathing the way for a longer employee life cycle.
Ineffective training – according to Shift eLearning – costs USA employers around $13.5 billion per 1000 employees.
The transition from development to retention is huge because all the chips are down. Employer expectations are high as the employee reaches for maximum productivity. Indeed, the employee’s self-image should be peaking at this stage of the game, reflecting enough confidence to perform with all the motors running.
If the feedback tells management that staff members feel fulfilled, engaged, and see themselves as functioning team members, that’s good for retention and a longer employee lifecycle. Of course, other team players connecting with the employees should see things the same way. Pulse surveys are particularly useful in measuring the all-round corporate temperature.
- Retention policies should focus on promoting employees to keep them moving up the hierarchical ladder.
- The more the company can express the employee’s worth through every available recognition option, the better.
- Performance is a key metric at the retention stage of the employee lifecycle.
- Software programs monitor performance, enable mentoring, structure succession-planning, and integrate all of it with eLearning and recognition opportunities.
Psychometrics is a study that highlights the essential nature of recognition in developing employee engagement (EE). There’s a vast difference between EX and EE. Effective recognition can transpose the bulk of the employee experience into the EE realm.
A surprising metric came out of a review by Workplace Trends, stating that “Nearly 40% of workers indicate they’d consider going back to a company where they’d previously worked.”
In most cases — except in the case of boomerang employees — exit is the last of all the touchpoints in the employment life cycle. It can trigger early or late, and as stated, the more prolonged it is, the better. Exits result from dismissal, retiring, resigning, or unfortunate circumstances like death or illness. In most businesses, it’s an ignored touchpoint.
To ensure the best possible outcome for everyone, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Focus on minimizing disruption to ensure that an employee’s leaving doesn’t disrupt team morale
- Have open conversations with the employee. If they are resigning, look to genuinely understand their reasons and voice your best wishes moving forward. If an employee is fired, make sure you do this properly.
A happy camper who enjoyed his or her tenure is a brand ambassador for the company for years afterward. Conversely, a disgruntled leaver may degrade the company’s image to many at large. Taking an overly aggressive stance with departing employees can unnecessarily create much unwelcome publicity. Moreover, by conducting a well-thought-out exit survey or interview with the employee, one picks up invaluable information from people speaking openly with nothing to lose. A departure can reveal as much if not more than onboarding an employee. It’s in the company’s best interests to ease the stress of a departure – even if acrimonious – and leverage it if at the end of an engaging tenure.
Finally, develop a checklist for every department from IT to HR to ensure that no security loopholes are left open and that the employee returns all company-owned assets.
While employees are bound to leave at some point, it’s always important to keep an eye on the rate of turnover and benchmark it with the industry average. After all, a very high turnover rate can indicate dissatisfaction (even if it hasn’t shown up as highly during the exit surveys). This invariably affects employee productivity, even for those who choose to stay with the company. After all, constantly working with new teammates who don’t know the ins and outs can be a challenge.
Additionally, it affects the bottom line, since replacing an employee can cost anywhere between 30-400 times their salary depending on whether you’re looking to replace a junior employee or a highly skilled/high level employee.
The best employee experience for your staff aligns with sound employee lifecycle management. SoGoEX is your go-to software and consulting company close to the employee life cycle action. Members of this team understand the use of feedback surveys at every juncture. Most importantly, they appreciate that an employee lifecycle implies an end-to-end process, keeping every touchpoint under surveillance and preparing for it. If implemented correctly, it creates predictability for the company and employees alike. The net result is a more engaged employee with an extended employee lifecycle and less employee churn.
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