Studies show that an employee referral program brings more than just "acquaintances" to the team. Employees recruited in this way bring quality and stay longer.
Referrals from current employees to suitable candidates and potential colleagues, play an increasingly important role in recruitment strategies for a number of reasons: they save time, expanses are convenient and sometimes free. The former motto of recruiters "Just fill the position as quickly as possible" doesn't apply in referrals. It attempts to find "the right talent to the right place" for companies.
It is generally the fastest and least expensive form of recruiting. The JobVite study produced some interesting findings. It takes an average of 29 days to hire a referred candidate, compared to the 39 days to hire a candidate through a traditional job posting and 55 days to hire a candidate using a career site.
The recommended candidate is cheaper
Although in many cases you will pay a fee for a successful referral, you don't fill these positions as often, thus the lower expenses are expected. A faster hiring process reduces an internal labour expenses. Moreover, you don't pay usual recruiting costs incurred to acquire employees. In specific figures, it looks like this : a staff hiring agency charges 20% of a hired candidate's salary for one year. At a salary of €1,500 per month, which is €18,000 per year, they take €3,600. If you donate the €1,000 successful referral fee, you still save money compared to the agency fee.
More efficient, more loyal
Employees recruited in this way perform better at work and tend to stay in the role longer. A study by JobVite found that 46% of referred employees stayed in their role for at least one year after being hired, while only 33% of employees hired through career sites stayed the same amount of time. Referrals show great value for money. With an employee referral program, you get an HR department where recruiters will bring distinctive talent to the company.
Talents as a scarce commodity
The job market today is literally hungry for talent. The current low unemployment rate continues to fall and if this trend continues, there may be more open positions than available candidates. Not to mention the qualifications, talent and experience that job seekers often lack. Recruiters spend considerable resources, time and effort to find them and motivate them to join the team. Despite the fact that talent can be increasingly difficult to find, having them "on board" and working with them will pay off for the company many times over.
The biggest aces in the game rely on it
For accommodation leader - Booking.com, employee referrals are the most important part of the recruitment process. They are the most effective source offering quality employees. According to a LinkedIn Talent Solutions study, 41% of customer service reps operating in the U.S in 2015 were recruited based on a recommendation. Of those, 12% stayed on the job longer, while being more engaged (9%) than their peers. The referral program has spurred the company to further expand into new markets in South America and Eastern Europe.
Even Googlers are in "it"
Google also belongs to the referral fan club. They managed to increase the volume of referrals by more than a third by giving employees a good "memory jog". In the early years of the company, referrals were the biggest source of new hires. At one point, they accounted for more than half of the hires. In 2009, however, the numbers began to decline. Suddenly, it wasn't an increase in the reward for a successful referral that helped, but the right "kick" consisted of employees being asked specific questions that motivated them to take action. Essentially zero increase in spending resulted in a 33% increase in the number of people hired due to referrals. The obligatory question Do you know someone suitable for the role? Asked in a completely different way: who is the best finance person you've ever worked with?
In 2019, referral has also made its presence in the world of sport. Stars of the American NBA changed clubs and recruited their teammates with them. Several scouts were left surprised when LeBron James recruited forward Anthony Davis from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019. Kawhi Leonard, in turn, recruited six-time All-Star Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Keep reminding and motivating
Studies show that successful referral programs are actively managed through an intuitive digital platform. In practice, this means brisk and regular movement of job openings, regular reminders to employees that prompt them to recommend a suitable candidate and an attractive incentive system. This does not necessarily have to consist of staggering financial rewards. Various vouchers and non-financial rewards have also been successful with employees. You just need to be able to 'strike the right chord. Companies that apply these elements to recruitment will get better quality candidates and fill vacancies more quickly.
Recommenders and ambassadors
As qualified candidates are as plentiful as saffron on the job market, recruiters are reaching for every recruiting source. An effective internal channel is referrals. Firstly, the recruiter knows exactly what skills and abilities the position requires and what kind of person would be a good fit for the team. And secondly, he or she surrounds himself or herself with many acquaintances and former professional colleagues. Such employees are authentic ambassadors of the corporate brand, showcasing the company's benefits better than any Employer Branding campaign.
Quality over quantity
The experience of companies shows that employees recruited through referrals are integrated into the "running" of the company more quickly. A referred employee is more likely to open up to the colleague or supervisor who referred them. He or she perceives him or her as a friend, is not afraid to ask questions and thus integrates more quickly into the company culture. By choosing their colleagues, employees shape the company, giving the employer a kind of power and strength in their hands. They create a more personal and authentic recruitment process and increase its success rate. The latter places a premium on the quality of the talent recruited. Thus, in the long run, employees help create a decent talent pool. This channel significantly complements the recruitment strategy of companies.
How to set a referral effectively?
When setting an employee referral program strategy, you should take into account the industry you are in, the company culture, the size of the company, as well as internal programs and structures. If you want to groom talent, not average employees, set your strategy as follows:
- Take a proactive approach to both the implementation and execution of an employee referral program. Post a reward for filling an open position, waiting is not enough.
- Be creative with a reward. Taking company culture into account, offer a reward that is appealing to your employees. It doesn't necessarily have to be about finances.
- Expand your horizons! Increase the reach of your open positions online. Talent can be recommended by people outside the company, as well as those who work externally.
- Don't overwhelm the HR department with administration. Select and set a referral program via a simple digital platform according to your needs and requirements.
Are Slovak companies open to employee referral?
According to Barbora Kulčárová, HR process optimization expert at Nalgoo ATS, most local companies, regardless of their size, have already encountered employee referral in HR. However, the difference lies in their approach. "There are companies that want to have the process digitised and highly transparent. At the same time, we are also noticing requests for gamification of some of the activities that employees or scouts perform during referrals. They are aware that referrals can bring them multiple benefits and are looking to engage their employees in recruiting new colleagues." He admits it's not always easy. "There are industries and companies where getting employees to participate in recruitment is very difficult for a variety of reasons. For example, because of low digital literacy of some groups of employees, other times because of poor company culture and low trust in the company's strategy."
Efficient and clear
Based on field experience, the company brings a digital smart employee referral system to the market. The company's mainstay recruitment management system, Nalgoo ATS, already included basic functionality for tracking referrals. In 2022, they decided to bring their own solution to customers. "It includes a great user experience, easy bonus and rewards management, but most importantly, it helps the company easily source new candidates through their scouts and diversify recruiting resources. Our goal was to create an opportunity for employees to be actively involved in the hiring process and through this to increase engagement and improvement of the company culture," Barbora describes the new addition to the HR market.
First-class support as part of the product
Several ATS systems have integrated external referral management services. "Unlike our competitors, our customers enjoy a simple and fine-tuned system," continues the HR process expert. "No complicated integrations, different GDPR processes, subcontractors. Everything nicely under one roof. Customers know they're getting a first-class product from us and the excellent support."