More than 51% of recruiters prefer using employee referrals, according to a recent study by HR consultancy firm Bersin. And it’s no surprise, as experts from recruitment software firm Jobvite found that applicants from referrals are hired 55% more quickly than the ones from job boards.
They stay longer, too. The study found that 46% of referral hires stay for three years or more, compared to only 14% of hires from job posts. An added benefit is that employees who successfully refer candidates are also more likely to stay in your firm longer.
Employee referral programs (ERPs) are a boon for recruiters everywhere, so if yours isn’t working out, you may need to change gears. Improve your ERP using these suggestions:
Provide Meaningful Rewards
Over 69% of companies in the U.S. offer cash rewards for successful referrals. It makes sense at first glance, as it’s a versatile gift that will presumably be valuable to any worker. However, companies like InMobi and Google would beg to differ. Both ditched their money rewards for experiential ones like vacation trips and good-old recognition. Here are their stories:
- Google: Asking the Right Questions – In the late 2000s, Google noticed that its employee referrals dropped significantly. So, they did what (they thought) made the most sense at the time: increase the reward from $2,000 to $4,000. But that didn’t work, either.
What did work, though, was simply asking the right questions. Instead of asking employees if they knew a good accountant, they began tweaking the questions to “Who’s the greatest finance person you worked with?” or “Do you know a good salesperson in Los Angeles?” With specific questions like those, employees were more likely to provide a referral. Employees value recognition as much, if not, more than cash.
- InMobi: Live the Reward – In 2015, enterprise platform provider InMobi managed to get over 50% of its hires through referrals. They stopped giving out cash rewards and provided employees with bonuses they can experience: all-expense-paid trips to Hawaii and motorbikes.
The company based this decision on a 2009 study, which found that people saw experiences more rewarding and motivating than cash. After all, who wouldn’t want to miss out on a week of relaxation for free?
Turn Workers into Employment Wizards
Even if your employees are motivated to provide referrals, they may not be well-versed in persuading their acquaintances to apply. Give them a recruitment crash course that they can take voluntarily. Apart from imparting your hiring knowledge, give them a refresher on your company’s values and goals. This way, they can identify which of their acquaintances are a great fit for your culture.
Digitize the Process
Use a referral software or online platform that employees can easily use to add applicant details and resumes. Some sites even allow employees to share referral links to their acquaintances, so the applicants can fill out the details and take the employment aptitude tests themselves. It lessens the hassle of filling out physical forms and printing out resumes. Make the process as easy as possible, and your workers will be more than happy to provide recommendations.
Employee referral programs attract employees that get hired faster and stay for significantly longer. As such, they’re worth the time and money you invest in improving them. With experiential incentives, an expert referral team, and an easier referral process, you don’t have to worry about applicant shortage again.