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Jun 2, 2017

Develop a Strong Case for Referrals and Turn Employees into Recruiters


By Danielle Jenster, Marketing Analyst 

How much are great hires costing you? Probably much more than they should be. You are almost certainly taking your recruitment strategy cues from B2C principles and applying them to your own hiring activities, but if you are skimming on referrals you are missing out.

Within the social networks of your employees exists a vast pool of talent which can be your best hiring source if utilized with an effective employee referral program (ERP). No one can deny that referral programs are great for reaching out to and engaging with new talent at a cheaper cost than traditional methods of engaging with candidates. Studies have also shown that referrals are faster to hire and onboard. A company’s current employees continue to be top assets for recruiting: in fact 48 percent of quality hires come from employee referrals.

So the benefits are as clear as day. Read on and discover some of the main points you should consider when designing your employee referral program and for engaging employees so that they feel like stakeholders in the recruitment process. 

Leverage referrals as a core employer branding opportunity

Avature gives you the power to tap into this gold mine and increase employee engagement in your ERP so that you can maximize the results of this powerful sourcing channel.

According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, people trust their peers more than experts or organizations. They will show more interest in, and apply more often to, companies that someone has vouched for. From an employer brand point of view, that makes your current employees valuable brand ambassadors – so your first step is putting referral activity as top of mind.  Some quick ideas, are encouraging employees to keep their LinkedIn profile up-to-date and share corporate content snippets on their social media profiles daily. 

Understand key success drivers  
Unlike in B2C where customers are incentivized by store credits and discounts, social considerations are what often drive behavior during talent acquisition. To turn your entire workforce into recruiters, try to put yourself in their shoes and consider their thoughts about referring someone: 

  • What’s in for me if I refer a friend to the company? Do I get any additional benefits or rewards for such referrals?
  • What opportunities are available at the company, and what are the recruiters looking for in a candidate?
  • How does the company appear to an outsider? Is the career site and application process simple for them? Is there a special section for them to apply?
  • How will my friend be treated by HR? Will they receive a timely response throughout the process and be considered for a position?
  • If my referral does not get hired how does this make me look? Do I risk my reputation / name by recommending people I might not know that well?
To ease employee concerns and to encourage them to submit referrals, ensure that your career site is optimized for a referral. For example, provide options to apply or refer right next to each job posting. Or even better, create a dedicated referral site where employees can quickly and easily upload their friend’s resume, details, and why they would be a great fit for the company. 

With Avature Referrals Portals, all employees who submit a referral have full transparency of where their referrals are in the process. Keeping the referrer updated on the status of their referrals keeps them engaged and they’re less likely to lose interest in the referrals process.

Last but definitively not least, make sure the referral is treated with the utmost care and gets a great candidate experience. This is important because a poor candidate experience can reflect poorly on the employee, and that person may not refer anyone again.

It’s all about timing

Think about it. When are you most likely to get an employee to take five minutes and refer someone?  Probably when their enthusiasm for your company and for their position is at its highest. In the first few weeks after a new hire joins the company, for example, the excitement and thrill are high: There are lots of new people, fun activities and a structured onboarding process to introduce that person to the culture and to the work.

As part of the onboarding process, a new hire could get an invitation to join the referrals program, or go to a dedicated landing page where they can upload a friend’s resume and describe the referral’s fit. In other words, work to identify such opportune moments and find ways to channel employee enthusiasm to benefit your ERP. 

Make it easy for your employees, in order to drive adoption  
For open job positions, offer options that let employees share a job posting both internally and externally. Offer quick links to your internal community, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Or offer an email option, which tends to produce better results than social sharing. 

Alternatively, plan casual gatherings where employees can bring a friend to learn more about the company and what opportunities await new hires. This is another great way for the employee to feel like they are really involved in the hiring process, while at the same time helping out their friend or contact. 

The submission process should be brief and the portal should let the employee see the status of each referral as well as the feedback received after the initial call, interview or offer. This further allows the employee to feel like an involved stakeholder in the recruitment process.  

Many companies successfully implement reward systems to engage their employees in a referrals program. By incorporating a gamification aspect in an ERP, employees will feel more positive towards it, and it may increase the word-of-mouth potential internally. 

Celebrate success stories publicly

Reiterating the value of referrals by sharing real stories, instead of just telling employees that referrals are welcome, adds a human touch and provides more memorable evidence that referrals can lead to high-quality employees. Share stories at welcome events and weekly meetings, or encourage hiring managers to share the Referral Portal details throughout the onboarding process for new hires.

Put it into action 
The easy-to-use Avature Referral Portal can serve as the base of operations for your employees, as they become active participants in the recruitment process. They can view open positions, recommend people to these positions, and track the status of their referrals throughout the application and hiring process.

By leveraging the social networks of your employees and creating an employee referral program, you’ll engage a vast pool of talent with a similar cultural fit thereby reducing turnover and streamlining onboarding.
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