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How to build engagement throughout the employee life cycle

To actually improve employee engagement, you need to optimise it at every stage of an employee life cycle. Here we describe each stage and how you can optimise.

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Elisa Bassani image

Written by Elisa Bassani

5 Dec, 2022  –  6 mins read


As a business, it makes sense to hold on to your workforce, with all their valuable skills, knowledge and talent. But what is the best way to do that? Effective and consistent employee engagement.

Many employers make the mistake of focusing on getting new talent in the door and then relaxing — thinking the hard work is done. But to make sure your team stays happy, hardworking and on-side, it’s important to engage effectively at all stages of their journey with you.

The best way to make sure you do that is to map out and optimise staff engagement at every stage of the employee life cycle. This will help you identify where you’re lacking, focusing too much attention and where you need to prioritise your engagement efforts.

What is an employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle is a model used to describe the chronological phases an employee moves through as they apply to, join, work for and then leave a company. The employee life cycle involves six stages: attraction, recruitment, onboarding, retention, development and separation.

What are the 6 stages of an employee life cycle?

The employee lifecycle is a valuable way of distinguishing between the different phases that all workers go through. Each step is unique and requires its own strategy and approach to building engagement. Here’s what each stage involves:

1. Attraction

Employee attraction happens before the candidate hasn’t even applied for a position with your company. Attraction is all about your employer brand and the appeal of your business as a great place to work.

2. Recruitment

Recruitment is the process of seeking out and bringing talent into your organisation. How you treat applicants during the recruitment process can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.

3. Onboarding

When new talent starts, they’ll undergo a period of induction and training as they settle into the job. It’s important to make new hires feel welcome and help them blend with the team and culture.

4. Retention

Employee retention focuses on keeping your employees satisfied and challenged. It’s essential to ensure staff have the right tools for the job and are recognised and rewarded for their efforts.

5. Development

This stage is all about upskilling and encouraging professional development. This ensures your team can perform to the best of their abilities and supports individuals in their future career path.

6. Separation

Even in the best workplaces, it’s natural for employees to move on. Whether it’s for promotion or retirement, it’s important to separate on good terms and minimise disruption to the rest of the team.

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Improving engagement at each stage of the employee life cycle

Whether it’s before they even start or after they’ve handed in their notice, positive and consistent engagement is vital at every stage in your employee’s journey.

Let’s take a look at how you can optimise your engagement efforts at each stage of the journey and create an effective employee engagement life cycle.

Attraction

Effective engagement is critical from the get-go and doesn’t start on your employee’s first day. Your first impression as an employer is made as soon as a potential colleague is exposed to your brand. 

Nowadays, online presence is everything. Even if potential candidates aren’t currently looking for a job, they’ll soon become aware of your positive (or negative) brand image on social media and workplace review platforms like Glassdoor.

Ensure you showcase your company values and build positive engagement through consistent messaging. Use various channels and be strategic in targeting your demographic – is it YouTube, TikTok or LinkedIn they’re likely to engage with?

Be creative and personal in your approach. Content that’s authentic and engaging, like employee User-Generated-Videos, is a great way to show the human side of your business and connect emotionally. Take Trustpilot’s employee video as a great example.

Recruitment

Effective recruitment is all about engaging positively with job seekers to attract top talent. Nowadays, future employees want a more personalised recruitment experience. They want to understand who and what you’re looking for and what workplace culture and benefits they can expect.

Make sure you’re clear in your job ads what the role entails, what qualities you’re looking for and what you can offer. Advertise on multiple platforms, including internally, to widen your reach.

If you want to supercharge your recruitment efforts, then video is the way to go. Video job descriptions are more likely to be viewed and shared on social media. They allow prospective employees to visualise the day-to-day reality and connect emotionally with the team and the company. For an even more personal touch, involve your current employees and ask them to create a User-Generated-Video for a more authentic take on workplace culture.

 

Whether a candidate is successful or not, remember to communicate, be professional and treat all candidates respectfully throughout the recruitment process. Treating people well leaves them with a good lasting impression of your brand.

Onboarding

First impressions count, and inducting your new start into the team provides a fantastic opportunity to set off on the right foot. In the first few days, your employee must get a chance to meet their manager and team and learn about what they’ll need to be successful in the role.

In an increasingly virtual world, it’s common for teammates to work together remotely, so you’ll have to think more creatively about curating an engaging onboarding experience.

 

Make sure to give new starters a warm welcome. Get them set up with all the right messaging and video chat software from day one, so they can engage and chat with their teammates.

In a virtual environment, it’s also a bit trickier to do those face-to-face meet-and-greets. Try setting up some introductory video chats with team members. Or, for something more creative, ask the team, or even more comprehensive department, to craft a Seenit User-Generated-Video for a more personalised introduction.

Retention

It’s common for employers to put lots of effort into recruiting new talent and then to take their foot off the gas once new joiners become embedded in the team. But if you want to ensure your workforce stays happy, motivated and loyal to your company, then ongoing engagement is vital.

Make sure you give your employees reasons to stay. Give your colleagues a voice and genuinely listen to their views, what they like and what’s not going so well. When staff feel heard, they feel like a valued part of the team. Having various communication channels can help you do this. Take advantage of video conferencing and functionality like the Seenit Ask Me Anything format to encourage open dialogue and include remote workers.

If you don’t have one already, consider setting up a reward and recognition system. Staff that feel appreciated feel more positive towards their employer — a little goes a long way. You don’t have to break the bank with many fancy and generous rewards. A creative thank you, like a User-Generated video from the team, is a great way to add a personal touch, celebrate achievements and say thank you.

Development

Most employees start to disengage when they’re left to coast, so it’s important that you continue to engage and support your team to grow and develop. Provide plenty of varied opportunities for your staff to improve their knowledge and skill base. Whether through conferences, Q&As or “lunch and learn” sessions, ensure you’re including everyone and taking advantage of screen-sharing and video technology.

Got a new online process or IT system? Make sure you’re telling your team and teaching them how to use it. Whether it’s a “know-how” video, an email blast or a Yammer notification, make sure you keep everyone up-to-date and confident in their role.

Separation

There are lots of reasons employees decide to move on. It could be retirement, a change in career direction, or personal circumstances. Having a great offboarding experience, with honest and positive engagement, is just as important as a great onboarding one. It helps you understand why someone leaves and how you can improve the workplace for other employees. 

Making your employee’s exit a pleasant experience also leaves things on a good note. You want your staff to leave feeling like it was a great workplace and recommend you as an employer to their network of contacts. Remember, your employees, present and past, are your biggest brand advocates.

In summary

Plotting your engagement activities against the employee life cycle is a great way to ensure you’re optimising employee engagement at every opportunity. Be creative in your efforts and use technology to be as inclusive as possible and engage with a broader audience. By focusing on engagement at every stage, you’ll attract and retain the best people and give your business the best chance of success.

 


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