The Employee Life Cycle…It’s not a Straight Line

In developing career pathways to meet organizational needs, Human Resource Professionals often talk about the “employee life cycle.” In simple terms, that can be described by the following illustration:

Employee Life Cycle




While the employee life cycle is often viewed as a straight line, I ask employers to consider how they manage the part of the employee journey that is not in a straight line. The part that has hills, curves and construction signs. What I mean is their life journey. Are they getting married? Becoming parents? Buying their first home? Getting a divorce? Experiencing health issues? Caring for elderly parents or sick family members? By supporting employees on their personal journey, employers can help reduce the risk of disengagement and disillusionment while gaining employee loyalty and respect.

This sometimes requires some “out of the box” thinking and planning. It may require an employer to:

  •  Be flexible on working arrangements.
  •  Step up your onboarding program (consider work mentor programs).
  •  Provide well-being checks (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
  •  Re-evaluate your performance management process and procedures.
  •  Review your rewards and bonus programs (include tangible and intangible rewards).
  •  Re-write your time-off policies and procedures.

As you create a career pathway for your employees, keep in mind that their personal life journey may have conflicting needs to the organization. Those are great opportunities to discuss the employee’s challenges and provide support.  None of us travel in a straight line.