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Improve Employee Experience By Understanding The 8 Stages

April 8, 2022
6 min read
Improve Employee Experience By Understanding The 8 Stages
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Most methodologies frame the cycle needing to represent 7 stages of recruitment, onboarding, engagement, performance, development, and departure. While all are important, two areas many orgs underestimate how much they can influence are the pre-recruitment and post-departure phases of an employee’s journey.

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We see it as an 8-stage journey based on the importance of those additional or extended stages.

Improving Employee Experience by understanding the 8 stages
Important Stages to Improve and Understand

The 8 Stages of the Employee Experience

Focusing on the employee experience can feel like a daunting task when reviewing the many different stages. This blog will help you understand how the different stages impact employee-related business outcomes and how to gain competitive advantages if actioned.

However, suppose you aren’t too familiar with employee experience as a concept. In that case, we strongly suggest you read our blog that answers, “What is the employee experience, and why does it matter?”(What Is The Employee Experience & Why It Matters)

Still with us? Excellent! Let’s dive in.

The following are the 8 stages we will be reviewing. Understanding and improving these stages can lead to a positive employee experience, from beginning to post-departure.

  1. Pre-recruitment or attract
  2. Recruitment or hiring
  3. Onboarding
  4. Engagement
  5. Performance
  6. Development
  7. Departure
  8. Post-Departure or Alumni

Step 1 | Pre-recruitment or attract

This stage in the employee experience is often underestimated, or not enough time and effort is spent. If EX is tackled well, there will be significant benefits to the pre-recruitment or attracting step in an employee’s journey. Still, if we forget to engage here, it can lead to missing out on some of the best talents the industry has to offer.

For many companies, when you think of your brand, you think of how it relates to attracting more customers or increasing customer loyalty. In this same way, we need to consider how our brand, purpose, and culture should attract more employees and increase employee loyalty. Workplaces today are highly transparent, especially as it relates to what the employee experience is like within your organization. Internal employee experiences can significantly impact your organization’s external reputation and the signals for what your organization stands for make highly valuable talent interested.

Step 2 | Recruitment or hiring

In the recruitment step, the second employee experience stage, it is essential to have an excellent EX that aligns with your cultural environment.

Every hiring process should be clear, engaging, and fair for the new hire. As a result, we need to ensure that the employee experience is supported by transparency, streamlined processes, high manager and peer engagement, and uses objective evaluations that help predict fair expectations and optimal performance and balance out manager bias.

Step 3 | Onboarding

If a train is stopped, it is very easy to get on. However, jumping on a moving train can prove, well, difficult. The same scenario, minus the bumps and bruises, can be applied to organizations. Very few employees typically agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding and the reason is because moving trains are hard to board. Of course, there are ways to improve this but the following number shouldn’t surprise you.

Only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that their organizations do a great job onboarding new employees.


Successful onboarding employee experiences need to start before the first day of employment. At the same time, onboarding shouldn’t end in the first week either. Every onboarding process should engage the employee and shouldn’t be focused on one-way communication.

This engaged onboarding should be evident in the employee experience, whether it be helping employees socialize with their team, understanding how the organization functions, or learning its purpose and where their team and contributions fit in.

Step 4 | Engagement

Engagement is how we sustain a vital connection between the employee and their workplace. Employee engagement is about more than making sure employees are satisfied with where they work. Instead, it’s about ensuring they have the right conditions to give their best each day, are committed to the organization’s goals and values and are motivated to contribute to its success.

This is based on a two-way commitment between the organization and the employee and can often be measured based on employee experience.

When supporting this step of the employee experience, it is important not to emphasize perks over relationships. A manager who is engaged in coaching, keeping the organization accountable, and focusing on the individual’s potential and growth all matter far more than workplace perks or programs will.

So, our employee experience investments here have to foster the right outcomes as there are big mistakes companies can make here. The manipulation of an employees’ commitments or emotions should be avoided at all costs, as it can lead to employees becoming cynical or disillusioned, leading to poor business performance.

Take a look at this video on how employee engagement has evolved and staying connected in a hybrid world to make sure your approach this stage responsibly.

Step 5 | Performance

This is about more than just an annual performance evaluation. Performance evaluation is a core part of the employee experience. It is optimal when done more regularly (at least quarterly), combined and based on informal feedback (for a complete picture), and includes significant praise and recognition. This should be driven by peers and managers.

It should be reflective of individual achievement and a comprehensive review that incorporates impact on others, the impact others have had on them, whether that be team collaboration, organizational impact, or a measure of customer and partner value.

Step 6 | Development

It is easy to think of this step of employee experience being represented by the training offered by an organization. However, improving outcomes in this step of the employee experience require us to think of development more comprehensively.

Employees need to be engaged (a parallel step mentioned earlier), and they need to be able to see a path of growth in the organization. That growth might include job title changes, pay raises, new skills, doing less of what they don’t like, working with new people, having more autonomy, and/or more support.

This is often heavily supported through ongoing coaching conversations and led by peers, managers, and business leaders. These ongoing coaching opportunities may take the form of short discussions measured in minutes to deeper and more structured feedback from peers, managers, or self-reviews.

Make sure your on top of corporate communication by understanding how its changed, in our video below.

Step 7 | Departure

This stage can be one of the most impactful events in the employee experience. More so, arguably, than any other for the employee. The departure is a great opportunity to have an exiting employee help us understand what the employee experience has been like, how it could be improved, and their perceptions of the organization.

Every exit program always works to meet the needs of an employee being heard, their feedback being actioned, being appreciated for the work they have done, and being seen for the potential they possess. The last item of potential importance, as it leads to a stronger post departure or alumni stage, is ensuring that even if it didn’t feel like it was the right fit for either side, the engagement ends on the right foot.

This process can potentially lead to better chances of re-recruitment or positively supporting future recruitment efforts.

Step 8 | Post Departure or Alumni

Each departed employee should be seen as a brand ambassador. They either bolster, harm, or are neutral to your organization’s reputation.

Investing in a departed employee’s experience is a great way to increase the long term likelihood of them returning or helping positively influence your recruitment efforts to find top talents that align with your organization’s culture, purpose, and brand.

As your cultural environment, technology environment, or the physical work environment changes, finding ways to inform these alumni can be extremely valuable. An employee may depart due to one or more of those environments not meeting their needs.

Sometimes An Idea Is All It Takes

Now that you understand the 8 stages of employee experience and its importance, we’re here to help guide you to a better employee experience by sparking the right idea. Our latest eBook has over 35 solution ideas across 8 areas of business.

Unlock Better Employee Experience
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