Strategic HR and The PEOple Cycle:
Part I of 3

Whitney Bower, Lauren Kersten, and Liz Warren
Published in PEO Insider

When people think of human resources, they often think of payroll, benefits, rules and regulations, and the everyday compliance items that must be handled. At Employer Services Corporation, we handle these items, but we believe the true value of HR consulting is the strategic component that leads to results in increased productivity, culture changes that impact engagement, and assistance to help clients become employers of choice (EOC).

One of the components of human resources consulting that we focus on with our clients is the HR prevention management system, which we call the “PEOple Cycle.”  The PEOple Cycle is the “life” of an employee throughout her career with the organization. The process begins from the moment a client identifies the need for this employee and goes all the way to when the employee leaves the organization and even some possible steps beyond that.

Recruit, Interview, and Select

Once a staffing need is identified, it is important to have a clear understanding of the open position and how it will affect the organization. The first step in the PEOple Cycle is recruiting and interviewing. We recommend the client have an established written recruitment plan and mandate training or individuals who will be part of the interviewing process.

The Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP) is able to provide training for both new and seasoned managers about interviewing compliance and questioning strategies that will contribute to finding the best candidate for the position. Our team of HRBPs also assists the client in adopting standardized behavioral and skill-based interview questions tailored to key competencies imperative for a successful match. Many candidates have mastered the interview process and say all the “right” things. This is the point where it’s imperative to evaluate the culture fit and non-teachable characteristics. Last, within this part of the PEOple Cycle, we assist hiring managers with strategic selection decision questions to choose the candidate for the position and to appropriately communicate the decision to non-chosen candidates.

Provide Orientation

The hire and orientation process of the PEOple Cycle is designed to successfully convert new hires into productive members of the organization.  This is often referred to as the “onboarding” process.  It includes sourcing, selecting, orienting, assimilating, and retaining new employees. From the moment a candidate applies for a job opening, the onboarding process begins. Many leaders believe the onboarding process is nothing more than having the new employee complete paperwork.  This process is so much more.  Six best practices can help senior leaders with this process and boost productivity:

• Integrate onboarding into a process;
• Partner with HR and the boss or sponsor;
• Extend onboarding to at least six months;
• Focus on the executive’s network;
• Put out the welcome mat; and
• Offer transition coaching (Cashman & Smye).


The leaders of the organization have a responsibility to ensure that the employee is given the necessary tools to be successful. A comprehensive onboarding process provides the employee with a higher chance of being successful with the organization. It should include more than just the necessary paperwork. It should be an in-depth program that assimilates new employees with their job duties, co-workers, and the culture of the organization.   With this in mind, we recommend you:

  • Provide employees with handbooks. They should explain everything from the company’s non-harassment policy and the at-will statement to the dress code and the procedure to request leaves of absence.
  • Provide up-to-date job descriptions. Explain the job descriptions as necessary.
  • Have a process to introduce new employees to team members of other departments so that they feel welcomed and comfortable.
  • Provide an overview of how individual jobs contribute to the business as a whole. This will reinforce the value they bring to the organization.
  • Present employees with a written training schedule to help ensure that they are properly trained, even in busy times.
  • Conduct a short evaluation after 60 or 90 days of employment.  This is a great way to provide essential feedback to new employees. (Even if they are doing a great job, they might not realize it until you tell them!)

We have discussed the recruiting, orientation, and onboarding process.  Next comes one of the most important parts of the Cycle: Manage, Coach, and Discipline. We will look at this in Part II of our series.