Understanding the Employee Lifecycle

By Tania Jarman / 12 Sep 2019

HR advisor Tania Jarman outlines the five stages of employment and advises how they should be best managed

Your approach to human resources (HR) and people management may have taken a backseat when building your business. It’s understandable that when starting out, finding your patients and growing revenue take priority. However, as your company grows it is really important to have a management framework in place that will grow with you.

This article will discuss the importance of understanding the employee lifecycle and how you can best support staff throughout their time within your business. The average person spends a third of their time at work.1 Therefore, my belief is that employers are responsible for empowering their people to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives outside of work as well as inside.

The employee lifecycle

I find it helpful to think of the employee experience in five core steps: recruitment, onboarding/induction, development, retention and exit, showcased in Figure 1.2 This is a well-recognised and referenced tool used across HR and can be a useful resource when implementing HR into your business. This is because it enables us to visualise how the employee engages with the organisation they are a part of. I find that mapping the employee journey drives two main benefits; better talent retention and reputation improvement.

Figure 1: The employee lifecycle2

Stage 1: Recruiting new employees

The recruitment process can sometimes be the most challenging step as finding suitable employees that fit the brand and have relevant experience can become time consuming. Yet, it is extremely worthwhile. Recruitment should also consider the future needs of the organisation, identifying individuals with potential for development.3

Attracting and recruiting applicants into key roles within aesthetics requires a carefully planned approach to ensure a quality and cost-effective hire. Choosing a preferred specialist recruitment consultancy for specialist roles, such as doctors and nurses, who carry out search and selection exclusively on your behalf may be beneficial. I also find that networking at aesthetic industry events is very useful as it is such as close-knit specialty and often you can find out about vacancies just by talking to one another. As well as this, social media and job boards such as the one on the Aesthetics website, is predominantly the most cost-effective method of direct sourcing roles; however, you should ensure your post includes essential and desirable skills. Being specific at this stage will enable you to screen out those applicants who do not have relevant experience or skillset for the role.

It’s also important that proper documentation is submitted once the individual is recruited. Not only from a legal perspective, but this also helps to instil trust between the employer and new employee too. Current employment law states that an employer must issue a contract of employment within two months of an employee joining.4 Employers are legally required to put some of the main particulars of employment in writing, including: name of employer and employee, date of employment, job location, pay, working hours, holiday entitlement and a full job description and title.4

Stage 2: Induction

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an induction is an opportunity for a business to welcome their new recruit, help them settle in and ensure they have the knowledge and support they need to perform their role.For an employer, an effective induction may also reduce employee turnover and absenteeism. For many businesses, an induction begins from the day their new employee actually starts and normally lasts a set period of time such as a few days or a week for example. However, many companies start the onboarding process before the employee has even set foot in the door. This can include sending company information packs or welcome boxes to keep them informed about the process and let them know what to expect, or simply invite them to lunch to meet the team first. An employee induction ideally should have timeline reviews after the first week, first month, third month and sixth month.

Here’s what I would recommend including in your induction process:

  • Orientation of premises or practice: depending on the size of your premises, this can be very straightforward or a little more complex. Regardless of size however, it’s important to get new employees familiar with their place of work. 
  • Health and safety: by law you are required to provide employees with any information they need to help them carry out their work safely. Provide them with your health and safety policy, as well as fire alarm procedures.6
  • Expectations: explain your expectations of them as well as any probationary or monitoring period you might put them under. You should also include the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Training and development: incorporate information about any training opportunities for your new employee. Provide details of interactive training services that might be available, such as the company intranet. You may also want to create a personal development plan for them at this stage.

Stage 3: Development

Do you have a system or process in place to measure performance? Is it effective? Or has it become the annual event that everyone avoids? In my opinion, good performance management is critical for organisational success. Employees must understand what’s expected of them, and to achieve those goals they need to be managed so that they’re motivated, have the necessary skills, resources and support, and are accountable.

Broadly speaking, good performance management revolves around regular, effective feedback on progress towards objectives. It’s multifaceted, not a technique in itself, and in my experience there’s no single best approach. It should align with organisational strategy and suit the type of jobs in question. Some of the most popular options around managing performance consists of an annual performance appraisal or monthly one-to-one review meetings, both of which work particularly well when combined. The process will generally consist of a set of core objectives based upon the job role skills and competencies. These objectives can be expressed as targets to be met (such as sales levels or new treatments learned), ad-hoc tasks to be completed by specified dates, or ongoing standards to be met. Assessing and feeding back on performance is a critical factor in making targets effective, as monitoring progress towards objectives is strongly motivational.

With this in mind, performance appraisals should be a regular occurrence; for example, every month for your clinic staff and perhaps every quarter for senior management working on bigger projects. Within aesthetics specifically, I would also recommend ensuring that all of your clinical staff keep up-to-date with their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation, which as well as being used for appraisals, depicts commitment to self-development and professionalism enabling individuals to adapt to changes in the industry. This very journal recognises the importance of this, with a monthly CPD article and accredited sessions at the Aesthetics Conference and Exhibition. There are also many other associations out there that I would advise looking into based upon your own interests and roles.

Stage 4: Retention

A positive culture gives businesses a clear competitive advantage.7 It can reduce the risk of poor quality work, complaints and a high staff turnover. Management trainer Victor Lipman explains that since an employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager is the single most important factor influencing engagement, the responsibility falls to management to improve motivational levels, and I couldn’t agree more.8

Below are some recommendations to further retain staff and motivate your workers:

  • Align individual with the high-level business aims and targets: this should be brand or corporate visionary statements, financials and technology or innovation aspirations. Include incentives or bonus schemes that give employees at all levels of an organisation a chance to benefit when a company achieves an important milestone, target or industry award. This can naturally boost and highlight individual and team performance. For example, you could ask employees to trial perspective new technologies and feed back to the business owners or even introduce an employee of the month scheme. Sharing positive feedback and recognising employee contribution can go a long way to maintaining motivation.
  • Take a genuine interest in the future path of an employee’s career: it can really support an employee’s morale and motivation if a manager genuinely cares about what their future interests and career direction are. Mentoring and suggesting additional training or coursework can be helpful to employees.
  • Be aware of their work/life balance: sensitivity can be greatly appreciated. Small gestures often make a big difference. For example, offer some flexibility in schedules and be understanding about things such as family commitments and doctor’s appointments.
  • Listen: whether an employee has ideas for job improvement or wants to share problems, express concerns, frustrations or conflicts, people appreciate being heard.
  • Praise: assuming they are doing a good job, tell them. Simple words of encouragement are easy, free and can be very motivational.

Stage 5: Exit

It’s important to ask yourself within this stage, why employees are leaving and the impact that employee turnover has on the organisation, including the associated costs. This data can be used to develop a retention strategy that focuses on the particular issues and causes of turnover specific to the organisation. Tools such as confidential exit surveys and staff attitude surveys can help managers understand why people leave the business and enable appropriate action to be taken to address it. Linking back to stage two of induction, ensuring that new joiners have realistic expectations of their job and receive sufficient induction training will help to minimise the number of people leaving the organisation within the first six months of employment.

Summary

Building trust across an organisation will have a profound impact. Supporting positive relationships and flexible solutions for individual employees is vital. In essence, I believe that managers today need to make time, grow trust and engage with tenderness in order to build positive workplace relationships and a supportive culture. With a comprehensive employment contract, a set of policies and procedures that protect you and your staff, and strong communication, you will be helping your team to do their best at work in an empowering and supportive environment, allowing you to be well on your way to unlocking the secrets to a happy and engaged team.

References
  1. Gettsyburg College, 1/3 of your life is spent at work <https://www.gettysburg.edu/news/stories?id=79db7b34-630c-4f49-ad32-4ab9ea48e72b&pageTitle=1%2F3+of+your+life+is+spent+at+work>
  2. StarMeUp.com, The 5 Stages of Employee Lifecycle, November 2017 <https://www.starmeup.com/blog/en/useful-tips/employeelifecycle/>
  3. CIPD, Recruitment process overview, February 2019 <https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/recruitment/factsheet>
  4. CIPD, Employment Law <https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law>
  5. CIPD, Induction, November 2018 <https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/recruitment/inductionfactsheet>
  6. Health and Safety Executive, Health and safety made simple <http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/>
  7. Propellernet, What’s costing the UK economy £23.6 billion a year, April 2018 < https://www.propellernet.co.uk/whats-costinguk-economy-23-6-billion-year/>
  8. Lipman V, 5 easy ways to motivate and demotivate employees, Forbes, March 2013 <https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/03/18/5-easy-ways-to-motivate-anddemotivate-employees/#5eb915c549ff>

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