‘Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes’, as the legendary American singer-songwriter Billy Joel famously observed in his 1975 hit Say Goodbye to Hollywood.

Working life too. The days when Australians remained with the same company for decades, working their way up the ranks and towards the proverbial gold watch, are now long gone and they won’t be coming back.

In today’s times, the average person changes jobs every two years and nine months and will go through between three and seven different careers, during the course of their working life.

Making every moment count

This perpetual movement in the workforce means employers need to change the way they manage people, in order to get the best out of them during the course of their increasingly brief tenures.

Hence, for organisations that want to attract, engage and retain top talent, investing time and effort into optimising every stage of the employee lifecycle is no longer a ‘nice to do’ exercise. Rather, it’s fast becoming an essential activity for team managers and HR teams.

Optimising employee engagement at every stage of the relationship

In most instances, the employee lifecycle can be broken down into six distinct phases: attraction; recruitment; onboarding; development; retention; and separation.

Being cognisant of these phases can help businesses do a better job of demonstrating to candidates and employees that their workplaces are worth joining and staying in.

Delivering an exceptional onboarding experience, for example, has the potential to boost staff retention by almost 82 per cent, according to ProHance research.

Meanwhile, employees who receive daily feedback from their managers are typically three times more engaged than those who only hear from the boss once or twice a year, when their scheduled performance reviews roll round.

Taking a systematic approach

While ad hoc initiatives can be effective, the best way for businesses to ensure they’re engaging productively with their employees throughout every phase is to develop a holistic employee lifecycle strategy.

Doing so enables them to view the entire employee journey, from recruitment to separation, as a cohesive, interconnected process, and to give every phase due attention.

By aligning the employee lifecycle strategy with the company’s overall goals, values and culture, they’re able to ensure every interaction is positive.

Risks associated with employee turnover, disengagement and dissatisfaction can be identified early and proactive measures implemented to address them.

Doing more with less

Taking a strategic approach doesn’t only enhance the overall employee experience, from first to final day on the job. It also creates an opportunity to streamline processes and eliminate inefficiencies. Minimising the time and resources required for tasks such as onboarding, performance evaluation and knowledge transfer during transitions enables HR departments to contain their overheads without compromising on the quality of the service they deliver.

Moreover, adopting an employee lifecycle strategy also makes it easier to gather and analyse data on each lifecycle phase. Insights into trends can be gleaned, areas for improvement identified and opportunities to optimise workflows and employee experience actioned.

Tools to make the task easy

Maximising engagement at every stage of the employee lifecycle is easier when you have the right tools. Deploying a workplace analytics and operations enablement platform will help you optimise your activities and measure the success of your efforts across the enterprise.

Choose a solution that allows you to perform in-depth data analysis, monitor your employee engagement initiatives in real time and extract actionable insights and you’ll be in the position to foster the sort of supportive, high achieving workplace culture that makes employees keen to join and loath to leave.

Being able to retain the services of committed, high calibre employees will provide you with a competitive advantage over businesses where the hellos and goodbyes follow one another in swift succession.

If you’re committed to growing your people, productivity and profitability in 2024 and beyond, it’s foundation technology that’s guaranteed to deliver an oversized return.

Brendan Maree is vice president and country manager ANZ at ProHance.