Five stages of the Employee Life Cycle

Even though we are in the midst of amazing summer weather, the back to school advertising campaigns have started. That serves as a reminder that Whistler's hiring season is around the corner.

Obviously, sound hiring techniques are necessary to recruit new talent, but of equal importance is ensuring current staff stay engaged, inspired and fresh.

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In today's business environment, organizations need to create a social workplace, but perhaps not in the way you think of that term. Social within a business may include marketing and social media, but we always need to come back to the fact that social programs need to include Human Resources and, in fact, can transform a company's culture.

A recent blog from 'The Social Workplace' claims that "a social workplace considers employee behaviour in order to create a truly collaborative and integrated social experience." Furthermore, human resources is critical in understanding the needs of your employees so that social tools enable them to be productive, communicative, and engaged in their daily work life.

One such tool to accomplish this is the Employee Life Cycle (ELC) model that can identify the stage an employee is at while employed with your organization. Different variations exist, but here is a five-stage model that simplifies the process.

Stage 1 is orientation, where new employees are introduced to your organization and are trained to handle their responsibilities.

Stage 2 takes place during the first six months of employment and is known as 'settling in.' Employees should be clear what is expected of them and still feel challenged and motivated at work.Competent performance is Stage 3 of the model and takes place six to 12 months after starting with the organization. Highlighted by confidence and still motivated, employees do start to experience less learning opportunities, but changes in their responsibilities and roles can keep them engaged.

After those changes dissipate, monotony defines Stage 4 and may set in following the first year of employment. The employee knows their job inside and out and possesses the ability to perform duties with little effort. They may become less enchanted with both their position and the organization, and begin to get bored.

Finally, boredom can lead to disengagement in Stage 5. The employee's attitude may digress and result in poor work performance.

If employers can use the ELC tool to determine where their employees are in the life cycle, it opens up the opportunity to identify actions that can be made to preserve the relationship. For example, should employers see that a staff member is at Stage 3, they can assess performance and re-engage individuals by creating more challenging opportunities.

Come back to this column on Aug. 15 for ways to infuse social aspects into the Employee Life Cycle. Your training budget will thank you!

As Principal of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies (, Cathy Goddard offers business coaching and consulting, workshops and the Open Forum speaker series. She is the founder of Lighthouse's Mentor Network, providing mentor groups to local professionals and was nominated as Top 5 for a Small Business BC Award in recognition of the impact this program has on the Whistler community. Cathy can be reached at

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