The 5 Stages of the Employment Cycle

The 5 Stages of the Employment Life Cycle in Need of Improvement


This article is an overview summary of what is known as the Employment Cycle. Despite the best of intent including mature management systems and procedures, employee/employer related disputes can occur and find themselves within the parameters of Fair Work or similar in order to resolve. The Tasmanian Hospitality Association recognise like all responsible employers seeks to ensure proactive and mature management of people and process will avoid unnecessary risk and costs associated with workplace disputes that escalate.

If your business continues to have escalated disputes, it may be time to review your employee management capability and systems and the below outline may assist in that determination.

  • Like many other areas of life and business, people and employees have a unique life cycle.
  • The employment cycle involves the stages employees go through and the role HR or similar support takes on during those stages.
  • Each stage of the employee cycle has its own challenges, opportunities, and benefits. For instance, if your small business is experiencing excessive employee turnover, it’s likely that the Motivation stage of the employee cycle needs attention. If an employee’s skills aren’t improving, you will want to address the Evaluation stage.
  • When there’s a breakdown at any stage of the cycle, you need to take the necessary steps to correct the problem so both your employees and your business continues to grow.


The Circle of Life for Your Business

The typical employee experiences five different stages during their employment with your business:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Education
  3. Motivation
  4. Evaluation
  5. Celebration


1. Recruitment

Growing your business starts with hiring the right people.

Hiring decisions play a critical role in turnover, productivity, and growth. In order to succeed in the recruitment phase of the HR life cycle, your company needs to:

  • Create a business staffing plan that includes understanding positions that need to be filled, what will be expected of an employee, a strategy for attracting the best of the best and other hiring concerns
  • Analyse compensation and benefits packages to see if they’re competitive enough to attract the top talent
  • Develop an interviewing protocol, which may include written tests and multiple interview requirements, as well as a focus on active listening
  • Genuine reference checks substantiate bonafide previous work performance

2. Education

Begin the education process from the moment employees start in their new position. Employees should know their role in the company, your expectations, and their responsibilities.

During this phase of the cycle, it’s important to:

  • Communicate your company’s culture, values and expectations
  • Ensure clear duty statements or position descriptions are made available reviewed and signed off for new hires to ensure employees fully understand their job’s duties and responsibilities
  • Where practicable, assign a co-worker to new employees to support their transition and help them feel more connected with your company
  • Introduce new employees to the rest of your staff and make sure they have everything they need to get started (including passwords, voice mail, parking passes, etc.)

3. Motivation

Turnover is highest in the first ninety days, which is often due to a lack of motivation. Leaders who focus on building bonds with employees in the first ninety days retain employees longer than those who do not make this effort.

Keeping them engaged, performing at a higher level, and showing commitment to your company

  • Offering reasons to stay motivated, such as compensation, benefits, and opportunities for growth
  • Providing recognition to employees who perform at a high level
  • Appreciating their contribution to help make your business more successful

4. Evaluation

In this stage of the employment cycle, a supervisor evaluates and measures an employee’s performance. The review provides leaders and the employee specific metrics and helps determine if he or she is the right fit for the job.

Focus on the following:
No Surprises!!!

  • Employees should never be surprised by feedback on lesser standard work performance in an annual review process (or hearing it for the first time in the annual and formal review)
    • If employer managers are reviewing work performance with direct reports, or team members in an open and transparent process on a regular basis in identifying areas for improvement with a plan, will ensure clarity at all times.
    • This will minimise and in most cases, circumvent potential escalation of disputes and third party intervention.
  • Challenge, support, and evaluate employees while offering constructive feedback on a regular basis (not just at evaluation time)
  • Conduct performance conversations based on facts, not on feelings
  • Spend more time discovering employees doing a good job rather than constantly criticising
  • Offer training and where appropriate professional development to help employees reach their goals and move further ahead in your company

Three things every employee needs to understand, as we all do:

  1. What is my job? i.e. role clarity, standards and expectations
  2. How am I going? i.e. two way feedback what is going well, opportunities for improvement
  3. What is my future? i.e. whilst largely dependent on 1 and 2, it’s job security career growth
  4. Process and People: Get the process right and your people and business will be more productive and risk minimised
  5. Celebration

The fifth stage of the cycle gives you the opportunity to re-energise your staff, thank employees for their hard work, and recognise important milestones. Show your appreciation by offering or considering benefits (such as flexible work schedules, gift cards, and flexibility where possible for time off). Great businesses find a way to motivate in such a way that employees want to follow them to achieve company goals. A smart leader makes employees feel empowered by giving them a sense of ownership.

Remember look after good employees and they will look after your business!


The End of the Cycle

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

Investing the time to manage termination right is just as important a part of the employee lifecycle as recruiting, training, or development.

While going through these critical stages of the employment cycle may seem overwhelming to a small business owner or an “Accidental HR Manager,” it doesn’t have to be.

Get Assistance

Improve your employees’ performance, engagement, and payoff with any support training and or advice by contacting The Tasmanian Hospitality Association.

Solutions to your challenges are as close as your phone or face to face with a representative of The Tasmanian Hospitality Association.


Merv Saltmarsh

Employment Relations / Business
Improvement Manager