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A Guide to the HR Lifecycle

Updated: Feb 4

01.01.23 10:37 AM By Victoria Akinwande

Like many other parts of life and business, human resources has a unique life cycle. The HR life cycle is basically the sequence of the stages employees go through and the role human resource managers are tasked to take on during each one of those stages.

The HR lifecycle is a concept in human resources management that describes the stages of an employee’s time with a given organization and the responsibilities of the human resources department at each stage. Each stage of the HR lifecycle presents its own challenges and opportunities.

When there’s a breakdown at any stage of the HR lifecycle, you need to take the necessary steps to sort out the issue such that both your employees and your business continue to grow. Below are the seven stages of the human resource’s lifecycle that you need to be paying attention to as a manager:


The first step to having great employees on your team is attracting them to your workplace — getting them to notice your employer brand. However, employer branding is not about advertising that you are a good employer. It’s about being one. It’s easy to think that throwing cooler, wackier perks in the workplace is the key to attracting the very best talent to your team but that just isn’t it.

Yes, perks are cool — playing ping pong at work is really fun. Yes, they improve day-to-day life for your employees. However, they alone aren’t going to attract and keep people at your company. Your mission, current employees, company culture, and the opportunities for growth in your organization offers carry far more weight than any exciting games or free snacks.

Your employer brand is what helps prospective job applicants buy into what your company is all about — your culture, people, and purpose. Your employer brand effectively highlights these qualities that make your organization a special place to work, setting you apart from the crowd, humanizing your organization, and ultimately inspiring candidates to apply for your consideration.


Hiring the right people is very vital to the growth and productivity of any business. In order to succeed in the recruitment phase of the HR lifecycle, your human resources department needs to:

  • create a strategic staffing plan with a thorough understanding of the positions that need to be filled and what will be expected of an employee;

  • create compensation and benefits packages competitive enough to attract the top talent;

  • develop an interviewing protocol suitable for the positions looking to be filled;

  • place the job ads in the right channels where they can be picked up by the right talent;

  • select candidates whose résumés look promising, conducting employment interviews, and;

  • administer assessments such as personality profiles to choose the best applicant for the job.


Onboarding is the process by which new employees are introduced to your organization. It is through this process that the employee becomes a member of the company’s workforce through learning her new job duties, establishing relationships with co-workers and supervisors and developing a niche.

The role of human resources management at this stage is to:

  • convey your organizational brand and values;

  • explain your company culture (both people and professional), and;

  • align institutional expectations and performance.

Creating a structured onboarding program is the key to getting the most of out of this stage of the HR lifecycle. According to a 2007 study by the Wynhurst Group, when employees go through structured onboarding, they are 58 percent more likely to remain with the organization after three years.


This stage of the HR lifecycle entails orienting new hires and formally introducing them to your organization and its culture, mission, vision, and values. Orientation is usually conducted as a conference-style event where information is delivered to the new hires through presentations and question-and-answer sessions. Companies often schedule time for each of their leaders to come in and greet new employees, introduce themselves and explain their roles within the business.

The roles of human resource managers during the enablement stage include:

  • introducing the new hires to the company mission, vision, and values;

  • guiding new employees through the paperwork they need to complete;

  • introducing new hires to benefit plans, answering questions about how and when to use them;

  • introducing new hires to the workplace’s safety, health, and any other key policies;

  • ensuring new employees have all the tools they need to get started with the actual tasks of their new position including passwords, identification, parking passes, etc., and;

  • introducing new employees to the rest of your staff and assigning a coworker to them to support their transition and help them feel more connected with your company.


This is the stage at which the employee and the human resources department work out her long-term career goals with the company. Human resource managers can use personality profile testing at this stage to help the employee determine their best career options with the company.

Career development opportunities are essential to keep an employee engaged with the company over time. Once an employee has established themselves at the company and determined their long-term career objectives, the HR department must try to help him meet their goals, if they are realistic. This can include professional growth and training to prepare the employee for positions of greater responsibility.


This stage of the HR lifecycle gives you the opportunity to re-energize your staff, thank them for their hard work, and recognize important milestones. HR departments can show employees appreciation by offering unique benefits such as flexible work schedules, gift cards, and extra paid time off.

Great businesses find a way to identify and celebrate the employees who are going above and beyond, and then take deliberate measures to nurture and groom them to continue working for the company.


All cycles must come to an end — including HR life cycles. Sometimes it ends with retirement, leaving to return to school, leaving for more pay or better benefits, to tend to family responsibilities or involuntary downsizing for economic or strategic reasons.

Whatever the case, the role of HR in this process is to manage the transition by:

  • ensuring that all policies and procedures are followed;

  • carrying out an exit interview if that is company policy, and;

  • removing the employee from the system as smoothly as possible.

All these stages of the HR lifecycle require your organization to have the right people, processes and HR technology in place in order for them to happen smoothly and run effectively. A well-executed HR lifecycle is often what separates companies enjoying high performing staff from those suffering from high turnover rates.


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