Mapping the Employee Journey: From Onboarding to Resignation

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In today’s modern workplace, it’s vital to understand the journey your employees go on. 

Not only is this key in terms of helping your employees to grow and develop but it’s imperative in terms of overall business success.

This journey is not just about processes and policies; it’s about the individual’s emotions, expectations, and engagement levels.

With that being said, below, we’ll map out the typical employee journey in full.

What is the ‘employee journey’

The employee journey can be best visualized as a roadmap, detailing every key touchpoint, experience, and milestone a worker encounters from the moment they join a company until their eventual exit.

The importance of understanding the employee journey

It’s vital for both employers and employees to understand the employee journey. There are numerous reasons why:

For employers:

  • Optimize processes – If you understand every phase of the journey, you can then refine processes effectively, from recruitment to retirement. 
  • Increase employee retention – A well-mapped journey helps identify areas of employee discontent early on. Addressing these issues proactively can reduce turnover and related costs.
  • Enhance your brand as an employer – A positive, clearly defined employee journey can become a strong selling point for prospective talent, establishing your company as an attractive place to work.
  • Create a feedback loop – You’ll have a structured framework for gathering feedback, which means management is empowered to make timely, data-driven decisions.
  • Growth and development – With clarity on how your employees progress through your business, you can invest effectively in targeted training and upskilling.

For employees:

  • Clear career pathway – An outlined journey will give your employees a sense of direction, helping them visualize their growth and progression in your company. 
  • Empowerment – Knowing the journey fosters a sense of ownership. Employees are better positioned to voice concerns, seek opportunities, and actively engage in their roles.
  • Personal growth – As employees understand the journey, they can identify areas of personal development, be it skills, relationships, or leadership capabilities.
  • Transparency and trust – A documented journey promotes openness, enabling employees to know what to expect. They’ll trust in your commitment to their well-being.

Consider creating an employee handbook

To further support these goals, having a comprehensive employee handbook is essential. It serves as a foundation for clear policies and processes, enhancing both the employer brand and the employee experience. You can use this employee handbook template to get started.

The power of preboarding

Preboarding is the phase that bridges the gap between a successful job offer and an employee’s first day.

Think of it as the prelude to onboarding, setting the stage for a new hire’s journey in your organization.

Importantly, preboarding is not just an administrative process.

It’s an opportunity to create the first real impression of the company culture, the teams, and the role itself.

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Especially for top talents, who are brimming with enthusiasm, this phase offers a window to channel their excitement and to ensure they feel valued and engaged even before their official start date.

Activities typically involved in preboarding

✔️ Paperwork

✔️ Setting up tools and systems

✔️ Initial introductions

✔️ Preliminary training

The impact of a smooth preboarding on the overall onboarding experience

By developing an excellent pre boarding process, you’ll set the tone for your employee’s entire journey with your business. 

This matters for a number of reasons:

  • Boost confidence – Your employee will feel prepared and ready to take on their new role. 
  • Create excitement – A glimpse into your company’s culture, values, and teams can amplify enthusiasm, ensuring new hires are eager to contribute from day dot.
  • Promote early engagement – New hires want to get started right away. Preboarding leverages this enthusiasm. It makes sure that new workers feel part of the team, even before they officially start.
  • Reduce first-day jitters – Being a new person is always daunting! However, when a new hire is already familiar with tools, systems, and a few faces, it can make the first day more productive and less scary.

The significance of onboarding

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – How many times have you heard this quote from Will Rogers?

The onboarding process is basically your new hire’s introduction to your company. 

This initial phase has a big impact on how an employee perceives your business. Whether positive or negative, these perceptions often last.

Laying the foundation for a productive and engaged employee

Onboarding is not just about introductions and training. It’s about laying the foundation for an employee’s future with your company:

  • Relationship building – By introducing new hires to their teams you can create camaraderie, ensuring a collaborative work environment
  • Feedback channels – If you establish clear communication channels from the beginning, employees are able to voice concerns, ask questions, and seek guidance. This promotes an environment of continuous learning and improvement.
  • Cultural immersion – Onboarding allows new employees to dive deep into your company’s culture. Activities, team lunches, or group projects can give insights into team dynamics, company traditions, and the unwritten norms of your business.

Early days: Settling In

In the initial days, new employees are often raring to go but may also feel like a fish out of water. They have the skills and enthusiasm but may lack the specific knowledge and context to perform at their peak.

This is where training programs and mentorship come into play.

Customized training programs, which are tailored to the employee’s role, will enhance skills, help them get familiar with tools, and understanding processes.

Pairing a newcomer with a seasoned employee is also beneficial. Mentors can guide new hires through the intricacies of their roles and responsibilities.

Plus, by giving someone a go-to person for doubts, feedback, or even general company queries, you make the settling in process a lot easier.

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Maintaining engagement and motivation

Now that your employee is part of the team, it’s all about keeping those engagement and motivation levels high. We’ve identified three critical ways of doing so:

  1. Recognition and rewards – Employees thrive in an environment where their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Recognition and rewards send a clear message that your employees’ efforts matter. They also boost morale and encourage healthy competition. 
  2. Work-life balance and employee well-being – Rested and well-balanced employees are often more productive, innovative, and driven. Plus, they take fewer sick days and are more consistent in their attendance.
  3. The role of leadership and communication – Leaders need to articulate a clear vision, ensuring every team member understands and feels connected to the larger company goals.

Explore tools like Great People Inside Instruments to enhance your employee journey.

Continuous learning and skill development

Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback loops are critical. They help to align your goals with your employees’ goals, fostering a culture of mutual growth. 

Simultaneously, if you provide opportunities for employees to move up the career ladder and take on more tasks, there are two clear benefits:

  • You show commitment to your employees’ futures
  • You’ll have a more skilled workforce, which can propel your business forward

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Recognizing signs of disengagement

It’s often said that employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers or a toxic work culture.

An individual’s disengagement doesn’t just affect them but has ripple effects across the team and business. It can:

  • Drain morale
  • Reduce collaboration
  • Increase workload for others
  • Disrupt ongoing projects
  • Tarnish your work culture

Disengagement is like a silent alarm, signaling deeper issues in the fabric of your business, whether it’s leadership, work culture, or employee relations.

Recognizing and addressing it is not just about retaining an individual but safeguarding the collective spirit, productivity, and future success of the team.

Addressing concerns and providing support

It’s essential to establish open communication channels so you can truly understand and address employee concerns. Examples include surveys, one-on-ones, and robust feedback systems.

This will foster a transparent environment where employees feel valued and heard.

Receiving a letter of resignation

When employees want to leave, they’ll hand in a letter of resignation. You can see these letter of resignation examples to get an idea of what to expect.

While each individual’s journey is unique, there are common factors that often lead to resignation:

  • A perceived lack of advancement opportunities or role stagnation
  • Issues like unsupportive managers, toxic team dynamics, or an incongruent company culture
  • Insufficient remuneration or benefits compared to industry standards
  • Overburdening workloads or inflexible schedule
  • Sometimes, individuals seek fresh challenges, a change in career direction, or personal growth outside the current business

If someone wants to leave, it’s important to conduct an exit interview.

Direct feedback can reveal systemic problems or specific areas of concern that may have been overlooked.

Plus, learning why employees leave can provide guidance on how to better attract and retain talent.

Post-resignation: Offboarding and alumni relations

Even after an employee departs, maintaining a positive relationship can have benefits. Former employees can be ambassadors for the brand, vouching for the company’s values and work culture.

Such relationships ensure departures are amicable and open the possibility of rehiring should circumstances align.

To turn offboarding into future opportunities, you should offer one-on-one exit interviews, uncover possible areas for improvement in the business, reinforce confidentiality, and sign them up for your alumni program. In fact, a lot of people do the latter early on.

Conclusion: The cyclical nature of the employee journey

The employee journey isn’t linear; it’s cyclical. From the first introductions to offboarding, and sometimes back to a reunion, the journey is evolving all of the time. Therefore, understanding and perfecting the employee journey is something that requires your continual attention. It’s not a one-time thing.

Article By Kerry Leigh Harrison 

Kerry Leigh Harrison has over 11+ years of experience as a content writer. She graduated from university with a First Class Hons Degree in Multimedia Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys attending sports and music events.

Why don’t you trust your employees?

Trust is one of the most essential forms of capital a leader can have. When employees trust their leaders, it unleashes higher performance. Employees are more engaged, productive, and innovative. They experience lower levels of stress and burnout and are more likely to stay in their jobs. Good leaders understand these benefits and actively work to earn and develop the trust of their team members and colleagues.

But sometimes, a lack of trust flows in the opposite direction, and leaders find themselves in the uncomfortable situation of distrusting someone on their team.

In this unique age of remote and hybrid work, it’s perhaps no surprise that a scarcity of trust among leaders for their employees is now at an all-time high, a perspective confirmed in the recently published Microsoft Work Trends Index. Lack of trust in an employee leads to troublesome outcomes. It can cause leaders to feel anxious and frustrated, hesitant to delegate, and prone to micromanaging. Unfortunately, the adverse effects of leader distrust can also extend beyond the specific leader-employee relationship, stealthily diminishing innovation, morale, and performance of the broader team.

Steps to Take When You Don’t Trust Your Employee

Two-way trust is paramount to a healthy and productive leader-employee relationship. If you find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of distrusting a team member, here are five steps to help you address the issue and move forward.

1. Pinpoint the source of your distrust

We often hear (and make!) comments like “I don’t trust them” or “They aren’t trustworthy.” We talk about trust in all-or-nothing terms, but trust is not some global entity — trust is situation specific. Rarely will you distrust everything about someone. For example, you may trust your team member’s technical expertise but not their ability to present their ideas to clients effectively.

Research shows that trust can be broken down into three components:

  • Competency
  • Consistency
  • Character

Trusting someone’s competence entails having faith in their ability to do the job. Consistency is the belief that the person is reliable — they do what they say they’ll do and perform as expected. Finally, trusting their character is believing that they have integrity and care about others and their needs as well as their own. Like the indispensable legs of a three-legged stool, each component of trust is crucial in a relationship.

To move past the black-and-white impasse of “They aren’t trustworthy,” ask yourself: Which component of trust is lacking here? What exactly did this person do or not do that has led to my distrust? Separate facts from assumptions and focus on specific problematic behaviours.

2. Identify the specific situations or assignments where you are willing to trust them

Make a list of the areas in which you do trust your employee, and consider how you might incrementally build on these areas in low-risk ways. Here’s how this might look like:

If you trust your employee to communicate effectively within the team, try involving them in cross-functional meetings or broader discussions.

If you trust your employee’s technical skills, try having them mentor a newer team member or guide them through a complex task.

If you trust your employee’s problem-solving abilities, try assigning increasingly complex tasks or providing more autonomy in tackling problems and coming up with their own solutions.

Focus on clear and frequent communication as you delegate and build on their tasks and responsibilities. Communicate the purpose and desired outcome of the task, your specific expectations and standards, deadlines, and their level of authority in making task-related decisions.

It’s also important to maintain regular one-on-one check-ins to ensure you remain aligned, offer the right amount of support, and create trust. To reduce hesitation in approaching you between these regularly scheduled meetings, share that you have an “open-door” policy.

When we feel like we can’t trust someone, we fear what might happen if we extend our trust, which often leads to more widespread micromanagement. So it’s critical that you give this person the opportunity to prove their trustworthiness. Excessive control and scrutiny will likely reduce their motivation, productivity, and feelings of ownership, which could result in behaviours that further erode your trust.

3. Provide feedback on the specific behaviours that are leading to your distrust

Recall which of the three components of trust is low (competency, consistency, and character) and specify the behaviours that have degraded your trust. For example, let’s say you identified that the source of your distrust is a lack of consistency. What exact behaviours have you observed that make you feel you can’t rely on them? Missed deadlines, failure to follow through on a stated commitment, or failure to respond to you in a reasonable amount of time?

Provide descriptive and specific feedback on the problematic behaviours, describe the resulting negative impact, and align on moving forward productively. For example, you might say, “For the last two weeks, you’ve missed the weekly project status report deadline. Consequently, I haven’t been able to provide a complete project update to the executive team. Can we discuss what’s causing the delay and create a plan to rectify the situation?”

High-quality feedback strengthens relationships with your team member and builds trust. Remember that no one considers themselves untrustworthy, so avoid using the “trust” word during your conversation.

4. Reflect on what you might be doing (or not doing) to contribute to the situation

Each person shapes a relationship’s dynamics and outcomes, so it’s essential to consider your role in the current situation. Trust can erode when employees don’t have a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Is it possible that you haven’t provided sufficient clarity or guidance?

Trust is inherently reciprocal. In other words, the more someone trusts you, the more likely you are to trust them in return. As such, try boosting trust in this relationship by shifting your focus away from what this person needs to do to regain your confidence to how you might signal your own trustworthiness. Again, recall the three components of trust. How might you demonstrate your judgment and expertise, integrity and care for them, and your dependability? For example, could you show your character by being honest, transparent, and accountable for a recent mistake?

Also, consider whether a lack of visibility might be contributing to your distrust. With sparser in-person interactions, there’s more room to make negative and baseless assumptions about others. Would scheduling more face-to-face time with this person be helpful? Alternatively, do you need to let go of “seeing” them work and focus on impact instead?

5. Ask yourself whether the breach of trust is irreparable

While trust is a tangible asset you can create in a relationship, sometimes a situation is severely beyond repair; for example, discovering that your team member has lied, breached confidentiality, or engaged in deeply disrespectful behaviour. If a team member has crossed certain boundaries, the right course of action — for the integrity of your leadership and the health of your team — might be to trigger an immediate investigation or consider dismissal.

This unfortunate situation can also develop when the behaviour is less severe, but your dedicated trust-building efforts haven’t led to improvement. In these cases, consulting with HR and considering parting ways may also be warranted. Bi-directional trust is a fundamental aspect of a healthy-employee relationship; without it, the leader, the employee, and the broader team suffer. Create a plan based on the steps outlined above, give it time, and know that trust can be rebuilt in most cases, leading to a happier, more productive workplace for all.


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What Companies Still Get Wrong About Layoffs

Today it’s difficult to read the news without seeing an announcement of layoffs. Just this week, Morgan Stanley announced it will reduce its workforce by 2%, Buzzfeed said it would cut headcount by 12%, and PepsiCo said it plans to cut “hundreds” of jobs. The same is true at Redfin (13%), Lyft (13%), Stripe (14%), Snap (20%), Opendoor (18%), Meta (13%), and Twitter (50%). So many companies have initiated layoffs recently that tech and HR entrepreneurs launched trackers like TrueUp Tech and to dedicated to monitoring the staff reductions across the tech sector.

Traditionally, employers resort to layoffs during recessions to save money. Companies continue to cling to the idea that reducing staff will provide the best, fastest, or easiest solution to financial problems.

As if layoffs aren’t painful enough, many companies make matters worse by handling them poorly. Handling layoffs in a humane way is important for the morale of both the impacted and retained employees, it will impact the company’s ability to hire strong talent later, it affects litigation risk (people who feel mistreated are more likely to sue), and, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

Layoff Myths and Mirages

Contrary to popular belief, there’s not much evidence that layoffs are a cure for weak profits, or, to use the current euphemism, that they reposition a firm for growth going forward.  It’s very difficult to sort out the relationship because firms that are laying off are almost by definition in trouble. The research evidence has not found any support for the overall idea that layoffs help firm performance. There is more support for the idea that where there is overcapacity, such as a market downturn, layoffs help firms. There is no evidence that cutting to improve profitability helps beyond the immediate, short-term accounting bump.

Employers also often underestimate the cost of layoffs in immediate financial terms, as well as in the lingering burden it places on remaining resources — both financially and emotionally. There is a huge problem in HR generally that the stuff that is easy to put on a spreadsheet outweighs the stuff that isn’t.

The toll of layoffs is high. In many industries, layoffs beget lower productivity and profits. When sales are slow, for instance, many retailers cut staff. But several studies show a correlation between bigger staffing and substantially higher sales.

Layoffs destroy trust

Eighty-five percent of respondents rated job loss as their top concern in Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer. Layoffs break trust by severing the connection between effort and reward. The premise of a layoff is that if it weren’t for the economic conditions facing the firm, employees would keep their jobs as long as they perform them well.

The fact that this is a psychological contract rather than in most cases a legal one is beside the point. In the domain of trust, what matters is that employees are being asked to willingly be vulnerable to the power their company has as an employer, and trust that the company will act in ways that don’t violate their trust. Research finds that, once betrayed, this trust is hard to recover.

Forgetting to be human

In the process of trying to do everything “right,” some managers forget to be human. It’s amazing how often people rigidly follow a script during notification meetings for fear of saying something wrong. It’s even more amazing how often they forget to mention the niceties, like the fact that they appreciate everything the employee did for the team or affirmation of the employee’s abilities. Layoffs are emotional and raw; it’s critical to show empathy when delivering such painful and often scary news.

It’s also critical to help employees maintain their dignity. That’s why having a security guard escort the employee out the door should be avoided, except in the rare cases where it’s truly needed.

Failing to plan ahead

Founders and executives at high-growth companies are often caught unprepared for layoffs. Many assume the only possible direction is up. With pressure to grow, it’s easy to hire too many people too fast, and later need to lay off employees quickly. And, even under conditions of sustained growth, layoffs can become necessary due to acquisitions.

Successfully managing workforce changes within today’s landscape ultimately requires evaluating your actions against the backdrop of trust. Your company will weather the storm of layoffs more successfully if you can maintain trust with three groups who will determine your success in the future: employees you let go, employees you retain, and employees who don’t yet work for you.

You have a great opportunity to be better at this than other companies. Keeping trust at the centre of your decision-making can lead to surprising, beat-the-odds success, as the above examples from Honeywell and Nokia show. Centring trust also offers leaders a reminder: Your actions will have consequences that are more visible than they’ve been in the past and you will be judged as trustworthy — or not — based on them.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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