Each new employee that you hire goes through six stages in total during the course of their employment period. The stages range from the very early stages of the attraction of candidates and to their last days on the job. All of this combined is called the employee journey.
Here we are going to explore these six stages where we focus on the objective of each stage as well as how they are implemented in practice, and we will look at resources that can help you get started.
Let us get on with it.
What are the six stages of the employee journey?
The six stages that an employee journey goes through represent the various stages of an employee’s time at your company – i.e. each interaction starting with the first job application to the last check of the employee’s pay.
The stages have evolved over time, but today they are known as Attraction, Recruitment, Onboarding, Talent Management, Retention, and Offboarding.
The first stage: Attraction
The first stage of an employee’s journey is attraction. It is often referred to as “proactive recruitment” or “employee branding”, and it relies heavily on modern strategies for inbound marketing.
It is about getting your dream candidates to come to you, regardless of whether you have an available position or not. And you want them to come to you because they have heard such good things about the work environment and the opportunities that your company offers.
The most important aspects of good candidate attraction are:
- Building up a positive company culture.
- Determining who (and where) your ideal candidates are.
- Sending out your message to these candidates.
Maybe you have heard the expression that you cannot build a house on top of a bad foundation. The same applies to employee journeys. You can do a great job identifying the type of candidates that you want to attract and retain and establish a connection with them, but without a good company culture to back up the entire employee journey, the strategy for attracting candidates falls apart.
A tool to help you attract candidates:
iRecommend is a tool that you can use to create a fun and inspiring referral culture in your company. The unique solution will help your company save time and money, result in better recruitment, and strengthen your employer brand via positive brand ambassadorships.
The second stage: Recruitment
The second stage out of the six is probably the one that people know best: Recruitment.
Basically, a modern recruitment program can be divided into three stages:
- The work that precedes the publication of the job ad.
- The process of interviewing candidates and selecting applicants to go through to e.g. the next interview round.
- The last obstacle before the right candidate is chosen for the job.
Instead of breaking down the recruitment process as it has been done so many times before (and more extensively) by others, let us look at two of the most interesting present recruitment challenges and how they are solved.
Challenge: Giving the candidate a memorable experience
Recruitment of new employees has changed these last few years, and it has shifted the power balance from the employer to the candidate. Companies have to convince the candidates that their organization is worth their time; in other words, they have to wow them. To some extent, COVID-19 has affected this development, but the rhetoric is the same:
How can we create a memorable recruitment experience for candidates?
The solution: Go digital
One of the biggest obstacles in regards to getting a good candidate experience is time. Recruitment consultants are often too busy to invest in the personal points of contact that provide a good experience. Many companies acknowledge this and invest in digital recruitment tools that can automate a lot of the administrative work which is related to the recruitment stage, and automation then frees up time for recruitment consultants so that they can personalize and improve the experience for candidates.
Challenge: Establishing recruitment processes with equal opportunities
It has become evident that many recruitment processes have been very discriminatory historically, either on purpose or not, and it ranged from skin color to gender, age and sexual orientation etc.
The question is how HR departments can level out the playing field and create processes that help to eliminate the opportunity to discriminate or be prejudiced.
The solution: Blind recruitment
Prejudice and discrimination are rooted deep in some companies, and it takes time, commitment, and a strong leadership to change it, but it is something that all companies should work toward. In the meantime, blind recruitment can be a good temporary solution that removes the possibility that prejudice and discrimination dictate the decisions in the early recruitment rounds. (Blind recruitment is the process of removing/hiding all identifying information from candidates’ resume and application.)
A tool to help your recruitment process
Talent Recruiter is a tool that provides flexibility and targeted recruitment. When using Talent Recruiter, you get a scalable and future-proof system that can handle even the most complex recruitments and make them simple and effective instead.
The third stage: Onboarding
The most important aspect of onboarding is the connection between recruitment and employment, and it can be defined as “the process of helping new employees adapt to the social and performance-related aspects of their new job”.
Good or "best-in-class" onboarding starts a long time before the first day of work. It is an all-encompassing term that is relevant to the entire employee journey for all new hires. From signing the contract and introductions on the first day (preboarding), during the new employee’s first days and weeks on the job (onboarding/orientation), and until your new employee is fully familiar with their role – this applies regardless of whether it is three weeks, three months, or even a year (integration).
If these first stages of the employee journey are handled well, your company can gain great business results, and it also means a shorter time before your new employee is productive, an increased level of employee commitment, and better retention in both short-term and long-term.
Is onboarding a new term for you?
If onboarding is a new concept for you, then take a look at our guide regarding best practice within onboarding in order to see practical examples for each step of the onboarding stage for the employee journey. Then you will learn how your new employees can be onboarded in the best way.
The fourth stage: Talent Management
The fourth stage of the employee journey is talent management. Talent management is the ongoing process of developing your employees, making sure that they reach their full potential, and contribute to your company in a meaningful way.
Talent management encompasses everything from identifying and developing your employees’ competences to administration and maintenance of training programs, coordination of ratings and assessments, and handling employee information.
If these things are handled well, a good talent development program supports the development of more satisfied and productive employees, and that is crucial to any organization that wants to meet its long-term business goals.
The fifth stage: Retention
The fifth stage of the employee journey is called the retention stage. As you can probably guess, retention is all about retaining the employees that you have worked hard to get in the long-term. Retention of your employees is not the only aspect of the fifth stage as both onboarding and talent management support a good employee retention strategy, but it is in this part of the stage that you can set up a very specific policy and procedure regarding retention.
The three basic but central pillars of the retention stage can be summarized as follows:
- What motivates your employees? A good retention strategy tries to define this and helps the employees reach their personal goals in your company.
- Are your employees in tune with your organization? Do they know what lies ahead and how they can contribute to it in the best way? A good retention strategy ensures that your employees are a part of the company’s communication and not just the receivers of it.
- What do your employees think? The HR department and your managers cannot make good business decisions without knowing how things are generally going. A good retention strategy supports ongoing feedback – both to and from employees.
A tool that helps you retain your employees
Weekli is a digital feedback tool that lets your employees give their opinions each week, and it’s all anonymous. This makes it possible for managers to act based on facts instead of assumptions.
The sixth stage: Offboarding
The sixth and thereby the last stage of the employee journey is offboarding.
The basic definition of offboarding (also known as employee exit management) is “a process that precedes the formal separation of an employee and their employer, regardless of whether it is voluntary or is caused by something else.”
Said in a more specific way: A good offboarding process should seamlessly end the relationship between employer and employee and ease the transfer of knowledge to other employees. And it should also check the boxes regarding compliance and confidentiality throughout the process.
Offboarding can also help to protect companies’ employer brand and give their HR department insight into the company’s problem areas.
Offboarding is probably the least developed stage out of the six employee journey stages. This is because 60 % of the knowledgeable HR employees admitted that they only had a basic process in place.
The business results of having a good offboarding process are extensive, and they range from protection of knowledge to recruitment gains, and it can have a big influence on how the health in your company is and how it is perceived.
What can we learn from it?
The human resources aspect of a company is a multifaceted puzzle, and it is easy to stop and try to foresee and handle every challenge. By breaking down the employee journey, you give yourself a place to start, and you thereby have a roadmap for future development.
So, if you aren’t already working with these stages, you ought to start by looking at your existing processes.
Do you have all six stages of the employee journey? Are they formalized? CAN you formalize them? What are the things that are easy to begin to change? And where can you switch to digital processes so you can gain the best results?