The Employee Life Cycle: Hire, Inspire, Admire, Retire (HIAR)

Keep Employees Happy and Reduce Turnover

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An employee life cycle consists of the four stages employees go through from the time of hire until they retire. Often, human resources professionals focus their attention on the steps in this process in order to make an impact on the company's bottom line and reduce the company's cost per employee hired.

Unfortunately, these professionals aren't the ones who make a difference -- the managers are. On a day-to-day basis, people don't work for companies; they work for a boss. If you learn to be a good boss, you can keep employees happy and reduce the costs associated with employee turnover. In the process, you'll make your own job easier and increase your value to the company.

Employees are one of a company's biggest expenses and, unlike major capital costs (like buildings, machinery, technology, etc.), human capital is highly volatile. As a manager, you are in a position to reduce that volatility using the employee life cycle of HIAR (pronounced hire), which stands for Hire, Inspire, Admire, Retire.


This first step is probably the most important because you have to hire the best people for the job. This is not a time to be frugal because the cost of replacing a bad hire far exceeds the cost of hiring the appropriate person in the first place.

  • Hire talent, not just trainable skills. While skills can be taught to a talented employee, a skilled employee cannot be taught to be talented.
  • Improve your interviewing skills. Often this can be as simple as knowing what questions to ask during the hiring process.
  • Make your company a place people want to come to every day. Company culture can be a powerful recruiting tool, so make sure your culture supports people, not just things.


Once you've recruited the best employees, the hard part begins. You have to inspire employees to perform to their capabilities and motivate them in the process. 

  • Make them welcome and make them feel like they're a part of the team.
  • Set challenging goals that can be achieved, such as SMART goals.
  • Be a leader, not just a manager.


Once you've hired the best employees (and have challenged and motivated them), don't ignore them. The same attention you paid to work assignments, employee satisfaction, and being a part of a team needs to continue. As soon as you slack off, employee satisfaction and motivation decreases, employees become disenchanted and quit. You've only succeeded in contributing to the "employee turnover" statistic you were trying to avoid.

  • You want TGIM (thank goodness it's Monday) employees, not TGIF (thank goodness it's Friday) employees.
  • Give them positive feedback as often as possible.
  • Provide appropriate rewards and recognition for jobs done well.
  • Create referral programs and reward your employees for referring other candidates.


When employees see your company as the employer of choice that they want to join and stay with, you've succeeded. Whether an employee retires at age 60 or 70, as long as you continue to inspire, motivate, and challenge them, they will contribute at the high level you need to beat the competition. Additionally, a life-long satisfied employee will refer other quality employees to your company. This enables you to attract and retain second and even third generation high-quality employees who ultimately save the company money that can be used for bonuses and raises.