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Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid 7, spoke at Sapling’s Connect Summit covering the importance of having an Employee Lifecycle Playbook to guide your processes and the employee experience from talent acquisition and onboarding to the transition and alumni cycles.

First, she strongly suggests you figure out the most critical element: what your company culture is. You need to establish who you are and what your guiding principles are before moving forward. The Employee Lifecycle stages include: Talent Acquisition, Onboarding, People Strategy, Workplace Experience, People Development, Transition, and Alumni.

Talent Acquisition is the first step in the employee lifecycle. From the very first phone call, you are building a relationship with that employee.

  • Employee Branding —In those initial conversations, try to convey your employer brand. You want people to really understand who you are as a company, not just what you do.
  • Candidate experience – think about things you can do to make the employee comfortable in your facility. Be sure to give them a tour, give good driving and parking directions, prepare well for their arrival and really think through the experience so you can help them understand what it is like to work for your company.
  • Hiring the best candidate —be thoughtful and careful in your decision-making. Expanding the slate so you have a greater candidate pool will ensure you hire the best possible people. Make the hiring as inclusive as possible.
  • Employee referrals —Christina says, “you know that you’ve created a good company to work for when your people are raising flags and saying, ‘come work here’. If you can continue to drive people’s engagement to the point that they are so excited to refer their people here…you’re doing a good job.

Onboarding is the next step, once you’ve hired them, your new employees want to feel included. Help prepare them to contribute early on.

  • Help them understand how they fit into the mission of the company. Give them as much knowledge as you can right from the beginning so they feel like they can hit the ground running.
  • Don’t pile everything on in the first day. Spend some time thinking about the process.
  • Coach your managers on how to make it the best possible experience.
  • Rapid inclusion. Use the onboarding experience to build culture. Make it about more than just the work that you do, but how you do what you do. Encourage and help them to build relationships.

People Strategy

  • Employee experience – strive to be the organization that you say you are, daily. This will affect your ability to attract and retain people in the long run, so make it a priority.
  • Promotions – this will tell what behaviors are valued in your organization. Making sure you are promoting people for the right reasons. Christina suggests having multiple members of the management team participate in the promotions decisions to avoid political behaviors or bias.
  • Org Planning and Design – plan for what makes sense for the strategy, not just for today, but three years from now.
  • Real-time feedback – feedback will mean much more in the moment rather than days later. Immediate communication offers a more natural rhythm to continue a dialogue. Daily feedback will prevent carrying issues over into other dates.
  • Legal and compliance - stay in conjunction with the legal team to understand what is absolutely necessary and will allow you to get creative with guidelines. It all ties back to the employee experience.

Workplace Experience

  • Physical manifestation of our culture – put thought into where and how your people work. Are there spaces for quiet concentration, or for group collaboration? Sometimes there might be an interest in a more sociable setting. Put this thought into the design of physical workspace.

People Development

  • Individual learning plans – You may be tempted to bypass this when you are busy, but these are important to people. Employees are interested in opportunities. Remember that some may want technical growth, for example, so don’t focus only on management promotions.
  • Management boot camps - teach managers the fundamentals such as how to run a one-to-one meeting, how to give feedback, developing themselves and their teams.
  • Leadership training – try customized programs and internal coaching.
  • Learning Management System – some people like to learn on their own. Provide access to a variety of training modules.

Transition

  • Trends and analysis - watch for cues that employees are losing interest. If you are seeing a loss of staff or reports of poor hires, dig deep to understand the reasoning.
  • Get well plans – instead of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), Christine recommends a “get well plan” that documents and shows what success looks like for the employee. You want to set your employee up for success. The message to the affected employees is that if they follow the clearly laid out process you create for them, they will get well and will be back on track. Sometimes employee performance issues arise because managers aren’t as clear as they could be. If that is the issue, this provides an opportunity to correct that.
  • Process and experience - be thoughtful about ways you handle the transition period. Try to establish goodwill and make it a positive experience if possible. If employees leave feeling that they had a great experience at your company – even if they were terminated – it might reflect positively on you in the future. They may refer friends back to you.

Alumni

  • Reputation management– If employees leave feeling that they had a great experience at your company – even if they were terminated – it might reflect positively on you in the future. They may refer friends back to you or speak positively of you.
  • Boomerangs – employees sometimes feel that the “grass is greener” but then later they want to return. Be thoughtful before letting them return. Think hard about why they left, and whether they would cause problems if rehired.

Key takeaways:

  • Before you execute the elements of an employee lifecycle, you must first understand and establish your company culture.
  • Tackle the most impactful parts of the lifecycle first – it doesn’t need to be in order.
  • Follow the basic playbook but make it authentic to YOUR company. Include components of your culture into the playbook, so that it will provide the best employee experience for your organization.

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