Employee Journey Mapping: Plotting the Right Course

August 29, 2023

Like a traveler's itinerary, employee journey mapping details every step in an employee’s experience with a company. Learn why it’s helpful to intentionally plot a course and log experiences.

Understanding the employee experience is as central to the success of your business as mapping out the customer journey.  Every company needs a roadmap or a big-picture view of the employee journey, but getting a handle on this can be daunting.

Don’t worry; we’re going to examine how employee journey mapping can help you avoid sailing blindly into the icebergs of attrition. We’ll also show you how to start charting your own course.

Key Takeaways:

  • Employee journey mapping is the process of envisioning an employee’s experience with your company from start to finish.
  • The aim is to keep your people happy and productive, and make sure you retain the best talent.
  • By mapping the employee journey, you can ensure your workforce is engaged at every stage of its time with your company.

What is Employee Journey Mapping?

Employee journey mapping is a process designed to identify every touchpoint and milestone an employee goes through at a company, from recruitment and onboarding to their eventual exit.

It’s a strategy managers and HR teams use throughout an employee’s tenure to assess and improve the overall employee experience. The long-term aim is to maximize employee performance and retention.

What Are the Benefits of an Employee Journey Map?

An Employee Journey Map Can Lead You to a Treasure Trove of Benefits:

  • Easier insights. When you have a clear roadmap of how your workforce moves through the employee lifecycle, it’s easier to collect data, analyze, and derive helpful insights.
  • Improved employee experience. Intentionally mapping out your employees’ journey paves the way for a smoother experience. Plus, it’s easier to identify bumps in the road and fix them.
  • Stronger employee engagement. A rock solid employee experience dramatically increases employee engagement (by 16 times!)
  • Better retention. An employee journey map helps uncover hiccups in your employee experience that could lead to an employee exit, like a sub-par onboarding experience or limited professional development opportunities.

The Employee Journey Stages

While each organization has a unique set of employee journeys, most roles can be broken down into common phases based on the employee lifecycle.

These stages provide an important framework for your employee journey map. Let’s explore each step of an employee’s lifecycle and the key considerations to build into your employee journey map.

1. Recruitment

Your new hires will have a powerful impression of your company before they ever walk through the door. Everything from your job posting to how engaging your interview process was to your company’s values and culture will shape their view of you.

Key Considerations:

  • How long was the time to hire?
  • Did your recruitment methods attract the best candidates?
  • How did your company come across to the applicants?

2. Preboarding

Preboarding is the period between accepting an offer and the starting date. The proper preboarding protocol can set your new hires up for success before their first day.

Key Considerations:

  • What communications do new hires receive before their first day?
  • What administrative tasks should be complete prior to Day One?

3. Onboarding

HR departments are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of employee onboarding. Your onboarding processes start on a new hire’s first day of work. They bring new people into the fold and set them on the path to success.

Key Considerations:

  • How easy is it for new hires to acquire necessary equipment?
  • What does the orientation process look like?
  • How does the new hire get acquainted with their team?
  • How can employees enroll in eligible benefits?
  • How comfortable do new hires feel in their role one week, one month, and three months after their first day?

4. Learning and Development

An ambitious employee will want some idea of their career trajectory, which makes learning and development vital parts of the employee journey.

Key Considerations:

  • What types of professional development opportunities are available? Consider both optional and mandatory.
  • How are growth opportunities promoted within the organization?
  • What does the formal review cycle look like?
  • Is there a well-defined career path for each role?

5. Offboarding

No one likes to see team members go, especially in HR. However, we know some employee attrition is inevitable. The silver lining of the offboarding stage is it gives you a chance to find out why.

Key Considerations:

  • What reasons do employees give for leaving?
  • How are you capturing feedback as employees exit the organization?

How to Create an Employee Journey Map

With these journey map waypoints in mind, it’s time to start plotting a course of action.

Identify Workplace Personas

First, organizations need to realize that different roles can require slightly different maps.

For example, someone in the IT department isn’t going to follow the same path as someone in sales. They’ll deal with different people that’ll require different equipment and training.

Identify your employee personas and tailor their journeys accordingly.

Gather Feedback and Data

After you’ve segmented your employee types, gather data about your employee experience and use this to flesh out the specifics of your employee journeys.

Dive into the numbers. For example:

  • Slice and dice your turnover rate. When are employees leaving, and which roles are seeing higher or lower attrition?
  • Conduct an employee net promoter survey to get a more quantifiable employee engagement level.
  • Look into the engagement rate of your HR software, employee self-service, and learning management.

Don’t forget qualitative data. Solicit feedback through tactics such as:

  • Initiate automatic surveys at specific touchpoints, like 30 and 60 days after hire, or after an annual review.
  • Use 1:1 exit interviews to uncover why employees are leaving.
  • Schedule stay interviews to see your rockstar employees remain at your organization.

This part of the journey mapping process isn’t a one-and-done effort. Collect feedback and data on an ongoing basis to continually optimize your employee journey map.


Draw visual workflows of the employee journey map. It won’t necessarily be linear, but you should be able to create a visual timeline of the events from hiring to exit.

Break down each stage of your employee lifecycle and consider noting the following information for each phase:

  • Key interactions
  • Employee expectations and emotional state
  • Business goals
  • Feedback touch points
  • Pain points

Tackle Pain Points

Compare the data you collected with your employee journey map imagery. Look for differences in what’s most important to your employees and what’s emphasized in your employee progression map.

Improve and Continually Optimize Your Journey Map

Align the employee journey map for each persona according to the data. Make sure you have feedback mechanisms in place to measure the impact of the changes. Use HR tools to monitor key metrics that may inform how your employee journey evolves.

Level up Your Employee Experience with Your Journey Map

Keeping employees happy and engaged isn’t something that just happens by accident — no matter how hard you wish! As we’ve learned, the employee journey map is a great way to plan and monitor the crucial parts of the employee lifecycle.

But mapping out the journey is only part of maintaining an engaged and happy workplace. You also need the right tools to drive engagement and level up the employee experience.

With Paylocity’s HR and Payroll software, you can improve every aspect of the employee journey. Our employee experience platform empowers your team with self-service and drives effective communication and collaboration.

Why not partner with us and see how we can help you today? Request a demo today!


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