The Employee Lifecycle in 4 Stages

The employee lifecycle revolves around four key stages, based on this theory I have. These stages begin the moment an employee joins a new company till the time they decide to leave. If you’re a manager or team lead, hopefully this information can be relevant.

It’s not a scientific research by any means. These are points based on personal experience and observations of people I’ve worked with. These four stages I’ve distilled to Assimilate, Integrate, Evaluate and Evacuate.

4 Stages of Employee Lifecycle

1. Assimilate
Assimilate is the phase of the employee cycle when they’ve just joined the firm.

This is the stage when they’re absorbing a lot of new information; getting introduced to the job, their colleagues, the company culture, etc. For the first 3-4 weeks, they’re coming to terms with this new work environment.

2. Integrate
Integrate is the next stage of the employee lifecycle. That’s when they understand the corporate culture better and become more confident about blending in.

During this stage, the staff becomes more active about being part of the gang. They are more vocal with colleagues; get involved in meeting other departments; and they may also start to socialise with other employees more outside of work.

As time passes, the employee strengthens his bond to the company.

3. Evaluate
After months, or maybe years, there’ll come a time when the employee starts to evaluate his time at the company. Should they stay or should they go?

At this stage, they might become more distant, less involved or less enthusiastic at work. The energy level starts to dip and you can tell that this staff may have his/her head elsewhere.

There can be push factors for wanting to quit, just as there might be pull factors. Whatever the motivation, each employee will definitely hit upon this ‘Evaluate’ stage. If they decide to move on, then it’s off they go. If the decision is to stay, it just means the evaluation stage is extended.

My personal belief is that any employee who enters this stage (even if they don’t resign straightaway) is going to quit sooner rather than later. That seed has already been planted in their minds. And it’s unlikely to go away unless something major happens to convince them otherwise.

4. Evacuate
Once the employee’s decided to quit, then it’s that final evacuate stage. They start looking out for job openings, brushing up on their CVs, updating their LinkedIn profile, and such. They become more distant, listless and unmotivated. Once they find the right exit opportunity, this staff will take it.

I’ve added Advocate at the start and end of the Integrate stage. I’m referring to how as employees buy into the idea of their new company, they’ll be keen to share more about how great their workplace is. They might brag about their new organisation’s achievements, show off the fancy pantry or slip in details about their cool colleagues in conversations with friends.

Over time, this Advocacy dilutes and ends once they enter ‘Evaluate’ stage.

Applying this at work
As a team lead, understanding where your staff is at in terms of this lifecycle can help you customise your management approach.

If you have a new employee, how can you help them ‘Assimilate’ and ‘Integrate’ quicker and better? If you notice a team member who seems to be losing steam and possibly drifting into the ‘Evaluate’ stage, how can you motivate them? If you have someone who is already in the ‘Evacuate’ phase, then is your team ready to replace that person?

This isn’t a topic I usually write about but having worked on a lot of teams over my 14-year career, I think it’s worth sharing. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!