If you love something set it free. It’s time we let the employee life cycle go. It’s not a life cycle. It’s a HR driven construct that justifies what we do to the humans. It applies to one organisation. That’s a phase at best, not a life cycle. The only thing human about it is it’s a sad reminder you’ll be dead to the organisation one day. If we care enough it says we’ll hold you a farewell morning tea, buy you a gift, and send one of those emails that sounds like an obituary.

That said, we don’t have to completely throw the baby out with the bath water. Some of the elements of the employee life cycle can be re-purposed in an employee experience journey map. Some pieces. Let’s not slap a sticker on the employee life cycle and call it an employee experience. A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig.

For some reason, most life cycles include six sections or areas. I’m not sure why that is. In general two-thirds to one-half of them (2-3 sections) focus on attraction, recruitment and on-boarding. That’s about six months’ worth of your work life. In many organisations it’s less. The new title in this space is even better. Acquisition. Humanising.

One section is always about you leaving. That’s a given. Separation, exit, sometimes termination. I haven’t seen it called “figurative death” yet but I guess that’s not catchy.

The other 2-3 sectors usually include something about development. The development module often includes performance management. Because we totally know you are going to bugger this up. Most employees simply can’t be trusted with, you know, doing their job. In which case the exits are here, and here.

There’s usually something about retention. That’s where engagement surveys, recognition and wellbeing tend to live. Remuneration and benefits can be squished in here too. Snacks. Coffee. Beanbags. Pay checks. All that stuffed into one of six pieces of the pie. Keep in mind the attraction, recruitment and on-boarding slices cap get 2-3 boxes. Getting you to stay gets one. Hmm.

The last section varies. Sometimes remuneration and benefits gets its own space. This is important considering there is so much research that demonstrates that money tends to not be the primary motivating factor for most employees (once they feel they earn enough to pay their bills and experience some kind of quality of actual life). Other titles I’ve seen include engaging monikers such as audit, legal, compliance, administration, transition (I don’t quite understand what this is, from tadpole to frog perhaps?). Perhaps the exit strategy there is kissing a prince.

You know what’s missing? The customer. Where is the customer in this thing? Your customer is not development or performance management. Please don’t say that. Please. If your employee experience is the other side of the customer experience coin I really don’t see how this can be missing.

Where’s the line of sight between strategic and business planning and your job? Where’s the vision, mission, values? Where’s the purpose?

If you want to disrupt HRTribe you really, really have to let this thing go. Arrange a farewell morning tea. Buy it a gift. Write an obituary. Find a nice rest home where it will enjoy the rest of its days.

Then start the employee experience journey. It’s time.

How do you feel about the employee life cycle? Would you resuscitate it? Or do you feel letting it go is way too cruel and unusual?

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