The Employee Life Cycle

Posted on 1/3/2019 by Complex HR

Start of Cycle: ‘Just grab anyone. If they have a pulse – that’ll do!’

End of Cycle: ‘We’ve decided we’d like you to work from home. Preferably for someone else’

Like every story, a firm’s employee lifecycle has a beginning, middle and end (although we sincerely hope your ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ are considerably more robust than the above statements imply!)

When a firm experiences a surge in growth a natural reaction is to pore over the business strategy, scrutinise current market trends and make plans for managing further growth.

But what many firms fail to do is focus on their employee life cycle to ensure they acquire, develop and perhaps most importantly, retain the best talent through times of growth and change.

Recruitment, induction, performance evaluation and exit procedures are all key stages in the cycle – neglect them at your peril.


Have a structured interview process, make sure candidates are clear of what will be expected of them and provide timescales. A rejected applicant will be as open about their bad experience as a disgruntled employee. Solid “customer service” is essential during this stage of the employee lifecycle.

The recruitment process is an extremely important PR exercise for your business. 

Transparency is also crucial – potential hires will notice if you don’t acknowledge their original application or let them know if they made it to the next stage.

A new client of ours recently lost ‘the perfect candidate’ because they failed to respond to him for over 3 weeks following an interview. Not even a ‘thank you for your time – we’ll get back to you’. Nothing.

When they eventually did respond, the candidate had already decided not to pursue the opportunity further based on his concerns regarding their professionalism. 


Most employees decide in the first 90 days whether they plan to continue in their new role or not.

This thought process starts on Day 1 highlighting the importance of a robust, effective Induction procedure. This procedure needs to include clearly drafted employment contacts, vigorous new joiner forms and a well thought out timetable for the few days of employment to ensure the new joiner formally meets their colleagues, are familiar with all IT systems and know where to find information regarding the firm’s policies and procedures.

Performance Evaluation

Formal processes that evaluate, measure and acknowledge an employee’s contribution to the business, are vital.

We advocate a system of continuous professional development as opposed to annual appraisals but, however you wish to review performance, make sure you do it regularly for it to be effective. 

Everyone wants instant gratification these days and your employees are no different. They expect frequent (sometimes too frequent!) feedback on their performance. If you’ve taken the time to nurture effective channels of communication, it’s much easier to provide constructive feedback and you’ll see positive change far more quickly.

Exit Procedures

It’s time for your employee to leave. We’ve seen many managers ‘take the hump’ when a person resigns. But exit procedures should be just as strategic as your recruitment process.

Undertake an exit interview – find out exactly why they’re leaving and ask them to be specific – ‘career development’ isn’t a response that’s going to assist in rectifying anything. Ask them if the firm could improve on anything and again, request specific examples (this will avoid a laundry list of gripes ranging from the selection of milk in the canteen to the wrong hand soap in the washrooms).

Similar to the recruitment process, Exit Procedures are incredibly powerful PR processes for any business.

If the leaver writes a resignation letter which could be classed as a grievance, make sure you deal with it as such.  More and more employees are doing this, then going straight to ACAS before making a claim because, even though they have not stated that their resignation constitutes a grievance, this is what it was. Deal with it early on, and you will save yourself a lot of time and money.

Listening to your employees is one of the best and easiest ways to keep their experience of your firm positive, from the initial interview to the day they retire.

More and more law firms are realising that success depends on improving the entire employee lifecycle.

About Complex HR

Complex HR is a unique HR consultancy providing the highest quality, individually tailored solutions and advice to legal practices.  

Helen Kirk-Blythe and Helen Manson have over 25 years' experience in HR within highly regulated industries including legal and accountancy practices.

They work with clients on matters ranging from performance management, disciplinaries and grievances, through to more complex matters such as TUPE and redundancy programmes. 

In addition, they review existing processes such as promotion, salary reviews and team structures and provide solutions to improve these processes from a commercial perspective.

To learn more, visit

The Employee Life Cycle


  • Realm announces a raft of promotions
  • How To Assess and Increase Your Market Value
  • The Lawyer's Path to Partnership – Client Management
Cookies on this website
We aim to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish, you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.