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From Hire to Retire: How to Manage Employee Lifecycle for Talent Retention

From Hire to Retire: How to Manage Employee Lifecycle for Talent Retention

Remember the first time you had contact with where you currently work? Perhaps it was a job advert you saw on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job boards, and then you applied. Or maybe you had a pleasant experience with the brand which then stirred a desire in you to work with the company. 

Since you started working with the company, a lot of daily engagement and activities have happened and will continue to happen. Still, eventually, after some time you’ll move on from the company like everyone else 

This, in short, is the typical cycle an employee’s work journey follows. It is commonly known as the employee lifecycle

The employee lifecycle refers to the stages that an employee passes through right from the moment they become a part of the company until they leave.  

Why is the Employee Lifecycle Important?

Using this cycle, HR professionals can analyse and understand an employee’s experience and perception of the company from the employee’s perspective. With the insights gathered, employers can 

- Create a better employee experience for workers.

- Build a positive workplace culture that improves job satisfaction.

- Attract and retain top talent.

- Improve the brand’s image and employer brand value.

- Guide in creating targeted, need-based learning and development initiatives that resonate with employees. 

Since managing employee lifecycle is so beneficial, let’s talk about the stages in the cycle and how to manage them properly.

The 7 Stages of the Employee Lifecycle 

Brand Attraction

As you can tell from all we’ve said, the employee lifecycle starts with the employee’s first contact with the company. This stage is called brand attraction. It captures everything from how the employee heard about the brand, whether they had a positive or negative first experience, how often they patronized the brand and lots more.

Why this stage is important: It helps you measure your brand health by telling you whether your company has a strong brand, and if the brand perception is in concordance with your company’s mission, vision, and values.

How to track and manage this stage: Key metrics that can help you track this stage include brand preference, brand usage, net promoter score (NPS), brand loyalty, and brand association. You can create forms with the Likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree) to get insights from responders about your brand. Examples of questions to ask include:

- Which of the following brands would you prefer to buy [product] from?

- If you had to describe our brand using 3 words, which words would you use?


This next stage covers everything from connecting with top talent via job ads to selecting the right candidates and making them an offer to join your company. Most companies integrate recruiting software like Ziprecruiter with talent management software like Lanteria for recruitment to track and measure various recruitment metrics easily. 

A key element of the recruitment phase is your employer value proposition (EVP). An EVP encapsulates everything your company offers your present employees and prospective ones.

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Why this stage is important: It shows you whether or not your company holds a huge appeal for top talents. The insights from analyzing this stage are strategic because you can use the learnings to create formidable compensation and benefits packages, spot-on job listings, and shorten the time to hire, among others. 

How to track and manage this stage: Create pre-hire surveys on your job listings, and use forms to get feedback from candidates on the effectiveness of your recruitment processes in areas like communication. Social listening is super-important here as it tells you what people are saying about your recruitment process. 

Additionally, check conversations about your brand on platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed, see the reviews about your company and note what can be better.

Key metrics to track in this stage include cost to hire, time to hire, quality of hire, application completion rate, and offer acceptance rate.


Onboarding is what happens from the moment a candidate signs the offer letter until they become fully integrated into your company. Many companies make the mistake of leaving the new hire floating until the person’s first day at work, thereby missing out on the crucial timeframe of ‘preboarding’.

Preboarding starts from when your new hire signs the offer letter to their very first day at work. A lot can happen within this window including:

  • Engaging new hires to ascertain what they’d like to learn during the onboarding process.
  • Weaving them into team platforms like WhatsApp groups and Slack channels, and inviting them to team events.
  • Providing resources or direction to where they can learn more about the company culture and their new role.

A key part of your onboarding process should target the employee’s first day at work. Aim to make their first day as easy as possible by providing thoughtful gestures like a handwritten note, easy access to work tools, and just the right amount of information and human interaction. It can be tricky to gauge the right amount of information and interaction, but the key is not to overwhelm the new hire but instead provide directions and resources to get them started. 

How to track and manage this stage: Track metrics like Ramp time - time taken to familiarize with work tools, systems, processes, and expectations - ; time to productivity; new hire turnover; and new hire satisfaction. 


People don’t have issues with being committed, they just need a cause compelling enough to commit to. To make your company’s cause compelling enough, ensure your value proposition is clear and that each employee can find a space to shine within the bigger corporate picture.

Next, take a proactive approach to retention by pinpointing reasons top talents exit other companies. Check out the factors influencing turnover in your organization and experiment with effective solutions to the challenges uncovered.

Employee engagement is most crucial at this stage of the lifecycle. Create formal and informal structures that keep employees engaged consistently. Structures that’ll help you stay on top of issues that are major concerns for employees like mental health, burnout, job satisfaction, work-life balance, toxic company culture, and others.  

How to track and manage this stage: These include positive company culture and employee engagement levels. To track these metrics, surveys can work. Nothing motivates employees faster than seeing that their feedback is being promptly implemented. However, be careful to avoid overwhelming people with too many surveys. 

Learning and Development 

This is a crucial part of the employee lifecycle. It is closely linked to retention and is perhaps the longest-running part of the cycle. Employees want to grow and they expect their organization to be a key co-champion of that cause. As we mentioned earlier, during the recruitment, preboarding, and onboarding stages, ask the new hire what they expect from your organization in terms of learning and growth.

It is important to clearly show employees the path to growth and career progression within the company so they don’t feel stuck as time goes on. Some of the ways to provide learning and development opportunities include peer coaching and peer mentoring, job rotation, and partnering with edtech platforms like Udemy and Coursera.

According to a 2022 McKinsey report, lack of career development is one of the reasons why employees flock from their workplaces in droves. Conversely, investing in employee development will make an organization highly attractive to top talent and boost retention within the company.

How to track and manage this stage: Metrics include attrition and retention rates, post-performance productivity, employee engagement, training feedback, training costs, sales figures, and staff promotion rates.  

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Eventually, every employee will leave. This can be due to any number of reasons from retirement, education, new position to layoff, personal reasons or violating company policy. 

No matter the cause, part of your goal during the offboarding process should be to make every person who leaves your company a happy leaver. Strive to learn as much as you can about why they are leaving so you can use the insights to make the company a better place for the remaining employees.

How to track and manage this stage: One way to manage this stage is to have exiting employees participate in exit interviews or fill exit surveys. An interesting thing you might find is that employees will give their most candid feedback during the exit interviews. So, deliberately put systems in place to maximize this phase of the employee lifecycle. 

Metrics to track include completion rate of exit interviews and forms. 


This is the last stage of the cycle. A solid proof that the other parts of your employee lifecycle work well is that exiting staff now become advocates of the company. This advocacy can translate to:

- Referrals 

- Social media promotion

- Word of mouth recommendation 

When past employees advocate for your brand, it strengthens your employer brand and portrays your company as a great place to work. 

How to track and manage this stage: Ways to encourage advocacy include regular check-ins and follow-ups from the company, the creation of alumni groups.

Metrics to track include open rate of follow-up emails and participation in alumni groups


In conclusion, paying close attention to each stage of the employee lifecycle will help you maximize the potential of each employee right from when they walk through the company doors (physically or virtually) to the point when they move on from the company. 

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