From Hire to Retire: Technologies Impact on the Employee Life Cycle

With numerous HR Information Systems now available and a desire to be more engaged and efficient, this article looks at how technology positively impacts how we manage Employee's Life Cycle within our organisations

I consider myself lucky to have started my HR tech career in an era where technology is at the forefront.

Although I haven’t avoided the paper trails completely, I have been involved in the crossover between paper and technology.

Yes, transferring personnel files to an online system was laborious and no, noone wish to do it again, but the end result of having electronic access to everything made work life much easier in the long run not only for HR administrators and team but for future employees also.

Being involved in that process as a HR Assistant at the time, was part of stage 3 in my Employee Life Cycle.

So what is the Employment Life Cycle?

Basically, it’s a Human Resources model that identifies different stages of the Employment Life Cycle process, created to help guide and optimise the employment procedure.

It begins as soon as a vacancy is identified and ends at termination.

The stages of the Employment Life Cycle model vary across the board, but this 5 stage approach I have worked against during my time in the HR field is quite straightforward and technology can play a big factor in how well each stage is executed:

Stage 1:  Recruitment and Selection

Stage 2:  Onboarding

Stage 3:  Development

Stage 4:  Recognition

Stage 5:  Termination

#1: Recruitment and Selection

Recognising a vacancy and advertising for applicants can now be managed completely online through social media and e-recruitment software.

With applicant tracking systems, essential and desirable skill filters and the ability to communicate, process and invite candidates to interviews in real time at the click of a button, you can’t argue that this is a more time effective approach to recruiting.

Getting the recruitment process right sets the tone for how the candidates view your company

Psychometric tests can also be conducted and analysed online which is time efficient and does some of the brain work for you.

Getting the recruitment process right sets the tone for how the candidates view your company, whether they end up being recruited or not, so it is recommended to respond to all applications within a reasonable amount of time and having the right technology in place really saves valuable labour hours.

#2: Onboarding

Once a candidate has been selected, systems are available that allow the new employee to log-on to an electronic portal and initiate elements of the onboarding process, meaning the Employee Life Cycle management does not only have to be the responsibility of the employer.

This can cut out the middle man, is time efficient and more likely to be accurate if completed first hand by the employee themselves.

Onboarding tech can cut out the middle man

With so much focus on compliance and keeping track of policies and procedures as employees migrate through the Employment Life Cycle, sometimes those lovely Excel trackers just won’t cut it.

Having a quality HRIS in place can be a great investment.

Most HRIS programs now combine all the HR tick boxes, such as administration, benefits, compliance, payroll, recruitment, training, performance analysis and review into one package which is bound to make things easier when the auditors decide to visit!

Induction processes have also gone virtual in larger organisations and although it loses the personal touch, it’s benefits of cost and time saving sometimes outweigh those negatives depending on the culture of the Company.

#3: Development

If you want to know how to boost employee engagement, then this is a great place to start.

Training opportunities ranked at 89.9% as the leading employment factor

Setting objectives and goals, sometimes developed in conjunction with personality profile assessments and identifying training needs is highly important in the engagement of staff.

E-learning is a widely used method by many companies due to easy access and lower costs but of course this covers areas where it is suitable – I wouldn’t recommend using a Doctor or Dentist with only online credentials!

According to the Young Workers Survey 2017, training opportunities ranked at 89.9% as the leading employment factor to positively affect engagement amongst workers between 16-24 years old in the UK, with skills and career development coming in at 2nd and 3rd.

Setting SMART objectives in line with Company goals means staff feel part of the larger picture, feel more fulfilled and deliver improved business performance.

If, as a manager, you are setting your staff objectives to achieve it is really important that you pay an interest in the progress of the task otherwise how can you expect your team to put in the hard work to carry it out?

#4: Recognition

Employees meeting objectives and maturing within their roles may be rewarded with increased remuneration packages, promotions or further training and development opportunities.

Again,  it is important that if a promise has been made once a milestone is reached successfully, then even if it was a verbal agreement as part of the psychological contract it should be honored to meet the employees expectations.

All too often I have had to deal with grievances lodged due to awards, salary increases, benefit increases or promises being left behind, simply because they have been forgotten about.

This leaves the employee feeling undervalued, unappreciated and dissatisfied with the company and that in turn has a knock on effect on a multitude of factors that inevitably do not benefit the employer.

With software that enables automated reminders, you can schedule events, deadlines and an email nudge can be automatically sent if action hasn’t been taken.

The psychological contract is built on the everyday actions and statements made by both parties

Simpler forms of daily recognition can also make a huge difference – a ‘thank you’ for a job well done really does go a long way but you would be surprised how often it is disregarded.

#5: Termination

In the final stage of the Employee Life Cycle, the employee leaves the company as a result of resignation, dismissal or retirement.

From recent reports found on the website for the Office for National Statistics, labour turnover rates have steadily increased since 2012, with the majority voluntarily resigning in the private sector.

As noted in the report, this could be a reflection of confidence in the UK’s economic performance, but we cannot overlook the fact that if employees are engaged and feel appreciated within their roles, they might not be looking to work elsewhere.

Labour turnover rates have steadily increased since 2012

In any scenario, termination is tricky is can expose the organisation to litigation if not managed correctly.

With HRIS in place, the employee would be removed from the HR and Payroll system.

However, inactive data can remain on the database and should anything arise in the future (such as a Tribunal) then looking through your HR Information System might be a lot easier and time efficient than recalling those big brown boxes packed full of paperwork that you sent off to storage…

If at any point, an employee or employees are not performing how you had hoped, it is worth revisiting the Employee Life Cycle and seeing what stage they fall under and what amendments could be made to rectify the situation.

Clearly, my views of the ELC process are pro technology and whether we like it or not, technology is not taking a back seat any time soon.

From the HR roles and responsibilities 2016 survey“The most significant finding for 2016 is the emergence of HR analytics and information systems in the HR agenda.”  -Noelle Murphy

Also within the survey, it identified that implementing a HR Information System was within the top 10 priorities for all sectors over the next 12 months.

Having worked in enterprises with HR departments with no relevant HR systems in place, I can vouch that technology helps greatly support the HR function and in turn the Employee Life Cycle should benefit from that.


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Written By

Norberts Erts

HR Degen and Product Marketing Manager at Sage. Former Co-founder of HR software company CakeHR (acquired by The Sage Group plc in 2019). Keep a sharp eye on HR, marketing, business, finance, science, technology, and the connections between them.