Student attrition remains a persistent problem within the Australian higher education sector. Contributing factors include financial, reputational and quality issues, which can pose significant risks for a university’s sustainability. Institutional culture is fundamental to decisions student make about withdrawing or remaining in higher education. Therefore, student retention requires a sustained, deeply embedded commitment from all parts of the institution, placing student experience at the forefront of all activities in the student lifecycle. Applying a lifecycle approach to the way in which institutions think about student retention benefits students by providing comprehensive and consistent support. Given that less is known about how professional staff contribute to student academic learning journeys as part of whole of institution responses to student retention, this paper focusses on the contributions that professional staff make within the student lifecycle and how they can most readily map their contributions to student retention and success.