There are phases in every relationship. Customer to product relationships, significant others, peers, and even employees and employers. The employee life cycle is a simple explanation of the different phases in an employee’s relationship with their employer. When employers understand these phases they can better their practices to attract and retain their ideal employees.

There are 5 phases in the Employee Life Cycle:


The job-seeker hasn’t yet applied for a job with the employer in this phase. 61% of job-seekers spend time consulting sites like, LinkedIn, as well as their personal networks before they consider applying for a job. This is so they can get a sense of the employer’s brand and what it would be like to work there. If there’s not enough information available or the reviews of the employer are negative, the seeker will move on to other potential employers.


The job-seeker applied for a role and began the interview process. They will be looking for cues that the company is organized and values their time and application. Applicants are put off by excessively long response-time as well as disorganized interview processes because it’s inconsiderate and unprofessional. If the prospective employer can’t handle the hiring process in a professional way, the job-seeker will look elsewhere.


The adoption phase should provide a new employee with everything that they need to be successful at their new company. Onboarding employees quickly and correctly provides a strong base for retaining those employees. Employees want to make a valuable contribution to the organization as quickly as possible. When employees receive solid training from the start of their role, they will be productive and confident. They will have a deeper understanding of how the organization works and be able to make smarter decisions faster.


In most cases, the engagement phase will be the bulk of the employee/employer relationship. Consequently, this is also the phase in the life cycle where employers will lose the most employees. Engaged employees go above and beyond for their employer. Employers need to pay close attention to their company culture, management, organizational structure and communication. These elements play a big role in whether or not employees feel engaged in their work and if they’ll stay. Read more about employee engagement here.

Renewal & Referral

Renewal and referral are opportunities for employees to renew their commitment to their employer. This could be a concrete renewal of an employment contract. It could also be a less tangible personal re-commitment to a role after a positive quarterly or annual review. If an employee refers a friend to work for their employer, they’re either pretty pleased with the company or they don’t like their friend that much.

An employee may end up back in the attraction or consideration phase if they apply for an internal promotion. The onboarding phase is necessary in each new role as well. It is just as important for the employer to be mindful in these phases with existing employees as with new prospects.

If you’re an employer looking for ways to retain your employees through each of these phases, stay tuned for next week’s blog!



This post is based on a presentation given by L. David Kingsley of Salesforce for Qualtrics Talentweek 2016.