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5 stages of the employee lifecycle

What do you know about the Employee Lifecycle?

This article is designed to give you a 5-step breakdown of the critical points in the Employee Lifecycle. Each stage comes with its points to note, so let this be a great aide-memoire for you to check in on from time to time.

Stage 1: Attract and Recruit

Diversity in the workplace starts at the very first interaction you have with a candidate, before they've even been offered the job.

Have you thought about what your job descriptions and hiring practices say about your company?

How many of these could you tick off?

✅ Inclusive language on job descriptions: Research has shown that certain words are more likely to attract men than women - competitive, dominant or leader are associated with male stereotypes, while words such as support, understand and interpersonal are associated with female stereotypes.

✅ Diverse hiring sources: Review where and how you advertise – including your website, design of job ads and social media

✅ Balanced interview slates: Make a commitment to only proceeding to interview stage when there is a gender-balanced slate of candidates. A balanced slate is more than one woman on a slate and is closer to a 2 in 5 mix.

✅ Balanced interview panels: Assess your selection process for any potential bias and take steps to correct e.g. training for interview panels, gender balance of interview panels, scoring & decision criteria

Are you doing all four?

Stage 2: Manage Performance

As an organisation grows and your direct interaction with employees becomes limited, how do you ensure that the culture you intend is what your employees are experiencing from their managers?

Formal feedback approaches may in fact lend themselves to various forms of bias, but being aware of any biases can help to mitigate them.

Here are some things you could consider including in an updated performance management system:

  • Be specific about the things that should be measured for each role, perhaps by using a competency framework

  • Be specific in requiring assessors to provide examples to back up their feedback

  • Provide training for managers on how to use your performance management process and how to identify and overcome the impact of bias

  • Monitor progress by reviewing a sample of reviews and identifying trends in how diverse populations are assessed when compared with majority groups

  • Use your data – check the percentage of completed reviews across a number of diversity characteristics – are the completion rates for all groups the same? How do ratings compare by diversity characteristic?

  • Hold managers accountable for producing balanced reviews

  • Ask your employees how you’re doing. Use surveys, focus groups, listening sessions to hear from employees about their experience.

Could you be using any of these techniques in your performance reviews?

Stage 3: Develop

We encourage you to start by asking this question: How do you develop your female talent into leaders?

While traditional talent management programmes focus on identifying “future leaders” of an organisation, more inclusive approaches to talent acknowledge that all employees have talent. But the progression to senior leadership is often unclear and not discussed.

To eliminate bias in the progression of women and men in your organisation, first you need to determine what drives progression by focusing on:

✅ External recruitment: Broaden your networks to include senior leaders who’s skills and/or characteristics are different to those already included in your senior management team.

✅ Internal recruitment: Be proactive about approaching women to apply for these positions and ensure that job descriptions and competency frameworks are not biased towards women

✅ Promotion process: Be clear about what makes someone “ready for” the next step up.

What factors drive progression in your organisation?

Stage 4: Succession

Do you have gender balance champions in your organisation?

It’s so important for all levels of the business to engage with gender diversity initiatives, and shouldn’t just be down to senior women leaders or HR teams. By identifying gender balance champions you can develop their knowledge and engagement by:

📌 Include them in framing your messaging.

📌 Do the messages resonate with them?

📌 Can they test them with their teams?

📌 What do they see as the challenges or concerns that people might have?

🖥️ Provide training. Give them opportunities for training on bias and on gender balance in the workplace.

📰 Create a charter. Frame with them their role as diversity champions and agree what they might expect of the organisation.

🗣️ Establish a feedback structure. Establish opportunities for the gender balance champions to have 2-way conversations and interactions with senior managers

🎉 Think about recognition. Consider including recognition of these roles in your performance management process

☕ Establish regular check-ins. establish a regular check-in structure and continuous engagement

👥 Bring the group together: Plan to bring the group together on an at least semi-annual basis to top up their knowledge, hear from them and give them visibility to senior leadership.

Would this work for your business?

Stage 5: Retention

Most companies have HR policies in place to cover the basics - holidays, maternity, sickness etc, but how many of these ‘advanced’ policies do you have, and which might you need?

1️⃣ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy: This expands the information provided on equality from a purely legal perspective towards signalling the organisations intent in respect to creating an inclusive environment

2️⃣ Flexible working policy: Formalising your flexible working arrangements can improve the confidence of managers to implement it consistently, and help employees understand how to use it

3️⃣ Recruitment policy: Establishing a recruitment policy can help to set an outline criteria for selection and mitigate bias in the process

4️⃣ Health and wellbeing policy: A set of policies and actions to safeguard, support and promote the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff in the workplace.

Do you have these in place already?

We hope this article provides you with a great starting point to create a health employee lifecycle that enables you to successfully recruit, manage, develop, and retain your best assets!

If you want to know more about the employee lifecycle and how you could imrpove things in your business, get in touch with Dermody at - we'd love to help you realise your business objectives.

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