employee lifecycle

Do your employees come and go? And is learning a one-off event in your organization?

Connecting the learning lifecycle with the employee lifecycle (or employee journey) is good for business. Furthermore, the connection can attract and retain employees even longer, before they reach the final destination at your company and wave goodbye.

The Three Stages in the Learning Lifecycle

  1. Pre-training
  2. Training
  3. Post training


Readiness, motivation, and objectives. These three words are key to understand the first stage in the learning lifecycle. The first two: Readiness and motivation are pointed at the learner itself. They should be ready and motivated to do the training. In that case, it is important to create awareness about the training. Moreover, learners need to know what exactly they get out of the training. This leads us to the third word: Objectives.

Learning creators must have clear objectives in mind for their learning and development when designing and launching new learning initiatives. What should learners be able to do after completing the learning? Give them the arguments about what is in it for them. Secondly, ask: How does it connect to business goals and your company strategy? As a result, you get a clear response to what is in it for the company to do the learning.


The second stage in the learning lifecycle is the training itself. Here, it is important to feed the awareness you created about the training. Not just fill up learners with irrelevant and heavy-loaded learning content, that will leave them bored.

Provide engaging content that makes learners curious, and let them discover new knowledge that sticks.

Inspiration? Look into specific learning types, that can motivate learners to keep learning:

Other tools to boost your training is looking into gamification, and how game mechanics can change learners' mindsets from 'I have to' to 'I want to'. Last but not least, try and look more into how you can create a digital development plan for employees


Now, the training is done. It is time to transfer the new skills into the job and daily tasks. This is key to retaining the learning and helping the new knowledge to stick.

Follow-up on employees. Conduct surveys and quizzes on the learning. Ask: How do they apply it in their daily workflow? Re-practice what they learned in, for example, real-life settings, and conduct refresher courses digitally.

Furthermore, as learners apply the new skills to their role, they might find new skills they need, and here, the learning lifecycle starts again.

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The Employee Lifecycle/Journey

  1. Preboarding
  2. Onboarding
  3. Development & Growth
  4. Reboarding
  5. Offboarding

94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they invested in their learning and development. This tells us, that continuous learning is important throughout the entire employee journey.

It helps attract and retain the talent in your company. Furthermore, it is an investment in building a strong learning culture and keeping your organization innovative as well.

Here's how to connect the three stages in the learning lifecycle to each step in the employee lifecycle/journey.

Stage 1: Preboarding

Definition: This happens prior to the first day at a new job.

What is important? To let the employee know you are excited to get them onboard. They are already motivated to start - feed that motivation.

Introduce your new employee to the employee culture, the company values, the mission, and vision through a digital learning module. Use, for example, gamification to create visual impressive learning universes that speak your company brand.

Blend in welcome videos with team members and the CEO - letting the new employee know they are all excited to meet them.

Post training:
Make sure digital learning paths are available for the new employee to re-visit for a brush-up on the company mission, vision, history, and employee handbook. A good idea is to send out certain parts of the preboarding again, when the employee enters the onboarding stage.

For more inspiration read the full Preboarding-guide. 

Stage 2: Onboarding

Definition: Starts the first day at a new job.

The objective here is to make the new employee feel welcome, and, as a result, merge them into the company culture, and reduce time-to-performance.

Onboarding is full of different training activities - both in real-life and digitally. Some examples:

  • Create a scavenger hunt around the office for the new employee to learn about the different people and places at the workplace.
  • Let the new employee complete digital learning modules as a top-up on the training activities on the floor.
  • Make a specific onboarding assignment for the new employee. It should not be too big or too small but will let the employee show his or her worth. At the same time, it will feed into the employee's eagerness to get started with the job tasks.

As with preboarding, it is important to make onboarding modules available digitally for the new employee to re-visit for a brush-up. Furthermore, it is a good idea to conduct an evaluation of the onboarding to see where to improve the learning content for new employees in the future.

Get inspiration for more onboarding activities in the full Onboarding-guide.

Stage 3: Development and Growth

Definition: Learning activities that make employees grow and develop the right skills for their job roles.

Upskilling and reskilling are some major priorities for HR and L&D in this new decade. The important part here is to connect learners to the skills they need to fulfill their job role. Do not just conduct training for the sake of the training. Have a clear objective in mind. At the same time, employees want to learn, and they want more unique and relevant learning experiences.

As with pre - and onboarding, it is important to mix up learning activities to get the maximum learning outcome of the training. Use blended learning, social learning, and/or stretched learning as tools to reach the learning goals.

Tips to create more relevant and personal, digital learning experiences

  • Create unique digital learning paths for a specific department or roles in your organization
  • Make learning adaptive: Use gamification and let learners choose and create their own character, and let them map their own way through the learning content
  • Give the control back to learners: Provide accessible learning content on all devices, ready for learners to complete in their own time
  • Use social learning tools, and let learners create and share learning content with the rest of the organization

Transfer the new skills to the job role. Make sure the skills can lead to taking, at least, a tiny step against achieving the company's vision and mission. At the same time, this will create purpose for the employee to help fulfilling the company's mission and vision.

Repeat the training if needed, and conduct new training if new skills are must-haves in the job role. As a result, this will make employees and organizations keeping up with constant changes, and making them ready for the future of work. 

Stage 4: Reboarding

Definition: Happens when an employee comes back after paternity leave, sick leave, etc., or when an employee starts in a new role within the same company, but in a different department. 

Here, a clear objective is to make the employee comfortable coming back to work or in a new job role. When the employee was away it is possible, that they have had time to think about their current work situation. So, it is key that you let them know, they have been missed, and that they still fill an important role at your company - and you would not be without them. 

Reboarding activities are similar to pre - and onboarding activities, except that these employees are already familiar with the company culture, mission, vision, etc. Here, it is instead important to keep them up to date with changes and news at your company.

Provide it as a digital learning module for the specific employee, no later than a few weeks before they return. 

For employees starting a new job in another department, it is a good idea to let them know about the new responsibilities or perhaps a different culture in the specific department. This could be provided as a digital learning module with a mix of new co-workers in video presentations.   

Have a talk about how the reboarded employee can contribute to potential changes in the company strategy.

Conduct new training activities to upskill the employee. A good idea is to get an evaluation, as well, of the reboarding activities to improve the content for other employees in the future. 

Read more about giving experienced employees a fresh start in the full reboarding-guide. 

Stage 5: Offboarding

Definition: Happens when an employee leaves the company

It is often a sad event when an employee leaves your company, but, however, it can also be an emotional affair, which must be handled with care. Your employer brand can be damaged and prevent future talent applying for jobs at your company, if an employee leaves and slams the door at the same time. 

Say goodbye properly. A classic offboarding activity is throwing a small goodbye event - letting the employee know he or she was appreciated. If we talk specific training activities, however, it is a good idea to give the employee a survey, where they can tell about their experiences, and where the company could improve. 

Instead of creating more training activities for the employee, you should let the employee create training for the rest of the organization. The leaving employee is potentially an inhouse-expert in a specific field. Tap into this knowledge before it leaves with the employee. Let the employee create how-to-videos, blogs, or maybe sound bites or presentations to help new and old employees in the future. 

Create an Alumni-community for old employees, where they can share insights and, at the same, keep up with future job openings. Who knows? Maybe they will return one day, starting a brand new employee journey in your organization. 

Learn more about the employee journey.