How to map the employee journey at work (with tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you work for an organisation, you go through several different stages during your employment. Some organisations refer to this as the employee journey. Mapping out this journey is beneficial for both employers and employees, as it helps employers support their staff with their career development when necessary and helps employees understand their position more clearly. In this article, we define an employee journey and how to map it, the benefits of doing so and some additional tips to help you.

What is the employee journey?

The employee journey, sometimes called the employee life cycle, describes all the stages employees go through during their time with an organisation. It begins when the organisation recruits them and ends when the employee leaves. A map provides a visual representation of this journey. Different employees working at the same organisation are at different stages in their journey, as they join and leave the organisation at different times. The experience may also be very different for certain employees, depending on what they do.

Stages in the journey

Several stages make up the employee life cycle. These stages generally apply regardless of the nature of the job or employer, but some variation is still possible. Usually, the stages in the employee life cycle are:

  • Recruitment and hiring: An employee goes through the initial recruitment process and the employer offers them a job.

  • Onboarding: An employee starts working at the organisation. Onboarding includes welcoming them to the organisation and beginning their training.

  • Engagement: The employer keeps the employee engaged through various measures like performance reviews and morale-boosting activities.

  • Development: The employee starts to develop further and may take on additional responsibilities or training opportunities.

  • Retention: The employee is well-integrated into the organisation and feels supported and connected to continue in their position.

  • Separation: The employee leaves the organisation, either because they resign or their employment ends for other reasons.

Related: A complete guide to the stages of the employee life cycle

How to map the employee life cycle

Learning how to map the employee life cycle helps you identify where you or a subordinate stands within an organisation. An effective map allows you to glean insights when assessing either yourself or a colleague. Follow these steps to map the employee life cycle:

1. Divide employees into segments

Start mapping employee life cycles by dividing employees into different segments. This is important because different employees are likely to have varying experiences. When you divide employees into segments, it's usually sensible to base this on their relationship with the organisation. For example, you might want to separate full-time and part-time staff members. This is usually more accurate than dividing them by factors such as gender or age.

2. Establish what the journey is for each segment

While there may be some similarities between different employee life cycles, the journey for each segment is likely to be different. You may require a multidisciplinary team to do this effectively because employees interact differently with the organisation during each stage. Begin with the initial recruitment process and follow the journey through to the end of employment. Try to also consider an employee's actions after employment. For example, some employees may return to work at the organisation after leaving.

3. Gather and apply feedback

Once you understand the journey for each segment, gather feedback during each stage and use this information to develop your map. More feedback makes the map more insightful. It's worth considering how to gather feedback at each stage in a timely manner. The feedback you collect promptly is more likely to be accurate than the feedback you obtain during annual surveys. Considering feedback helps you understand each stage of the journey and identify potential issues.

Related: 10 strategies for getting feedback from your team at work

4. Measure feedback consistently

Gaining useful insights lets you measure feedback consistently. Different parts of the organisation might have their own approaches to measuring feedback, but developing a consistent approach makes it easier for everyone to understand the feedback. The feedback that's managed consistently also gives a more valuable overview of an employee's experience rather than focusing on individual parts of it.

5. Automate feedback

Automating feedback is sometimes useful, especially in organisations with a large number of employees. Being able to automatically send surveys or feedback requests when an employee does things like attending a new training course saves a significant amount of time. It also makes gathering feedback more straightforward and ensures it's done promptly.

Related: The importance of feedback (with types and examples)

6. Integrate engagement surveys

It's useful to integrate employee engagement surveys into journey mapping. While journey mapping involves seeking regular feedback, this feedback may not indicate how engaged or productive employees are. Annual or more frequent engagement surveys support work on staff journey mapping and give insights into the overall mood of the workforce.

Related: How to measure employee engagement and why it's important

7. Define how to measure success

Mapping the staff journey gives employers insight into the employee experience, but it's important that the organisation defines how to measure success. Identifying what to consider success and how to measure success makes it more straightforward for the organisation to identify areas for improvement and decide on priorities. For example, you might measure factors like employee satisfaction or staff retention.

What are the benefits of mapping staff journeys?

Mapping staff journeys help employers understand the stages that each employee progresses through at work. This helps them identify how different stages affect employees and develop strategies to support and engage staff members more effectively throughout the cycle. Doing this may improve the company culture, in addition to boosting employee morale and retention. Understanding staff journeys also helps the organisation gain feedback about staff members' experiences, such as how they felt about the onboarding process. This helps the employer address any areas that require improvement.

Related: How to improve employee retention (with definition)

Tips for staff journey mapping

Mapping staff journeys may feel like a big task, especially if there are a large number of employees to think about. Although it might feel intimidating, there are some helpful tips to make the process easier. Try these suggestions when you're working on journey mapping:

Use software

Specialist software for creating staff journey maps is available and makes the process easier. You might also use templates that you may adapt for different employee life cycles. Using software or templates makes it easier to create clear and useful maps. Digital versions of journey maps are also easy to amend.

Identify key stakeholders

To understand a staff member's journey correctly, try to identify the key stakeholders in each segment. This is likely to differ between different jobs and industries. Different stakeholders are present at different parts of the employee life cycle, and knowing who's involved may clarify any points made during feedback or assessment.

Related: How to identify stakeholders (with tips and examples)

Get feedback regularly

To make the map as thorough as possible, try to gather feedback regularly. It might be worth considering how you currently gather feedback and what you might do to improve this. For example, employees may be more comfortable using a digital suggestion box or other informal feedback methods. Regular feedback allows you to look for common patterns and add these to the journey map.

Act on feedback promptly

When you notice patterns in feedback, it's sensible to act on these promptly. This improves the employee experience, which affects the employee life cycle map. Gathering feedback from new hires about the recruitment and onboarding processes gives valuable insights that the organisation may quickly apply in the future.

Related: How to respond to and handle negative feedback at work

Pay attention to the employee experience

Try to pay attention to the employee experience and make an effort to ensure staff are happy at work. Staff who are happy and feel supported by their organisation are more likely to be productive, engaged and have good morale. It may also be easier to retain staff in these circumstances. Recognising what staff require to succeed and helping them do well encourages them to be more honest with their feedback, which improves their journey through the organisation.

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