Hiring Best Practices: Employee Referrals

A good company is like a family. Now, I don’t mean that you should look at your employees like kids or yourself as married to any of your colleagues. Family is there for each other when the chips are down and stick together through the good times and the bad. While you can’t reasonably expect somebody that you hire to remain part of the team for the rest of their natural lives, a workplace that feels like a bit like home can help to prolong the time that your employees choose to remain with your company. Besides fostering all of these familial feelings through your management, beefing up your employee referral program can help to create this sort of environment naturally by making hires that are already connected to members of your existing staff. Referral hires are also statistically more likely to be qualified for the job and have a higher retention rate to boot!

If growing this workplace camaraderie through your next round of hiring sounds like just what your team needs, then the first thing that you need to do is make sure that they’re all on board with the idea. While this can be as easy as announcing that you’ll be hiring an employee referral, some salesmanship can get them motivated to go the extra mile. Get them excited about the idea of working with some of their favorite former co-workers again. You can also provide incentives for employees whose referral results in a hire (extra vacation days, a bonus, a gift card, etc.) to sweeten the deal. In order for your employee referral program to be a success, buy-in from your staff is essential. If they aren’t behind your referral efforts, then the whole project will be dead in the water before it even starts.

If you still aren’t convinced on why you should step up your employee referral program, here’s an article from renowned HR thought leader, Dr. John Sullivan. According to the article, while referrals only make up 6.9% of applicants at top firms, they account for 46% of the hires that they make. This means that referred candidates are statistically of a higher quality than candidates from other sources.

Once you’ve gotten everyone excited about or at leas paying attention to your employee referral program, its time to push out your job to their networks. No matter which social networks your employees use, you want them to both push your job out through their own profile as well as to any industry, alumi or company specific networks that they belong to. The connectivity of social media can potentially expose your open position to most of the people that your staff has worked with in their lives as well as their colleagues from college and friends. By hiring through your employee referral program, you start to build that sense of family that I was talking about earlier. Referred hires are much more likely to remain for longer because they have a connection to your company through the employee that got them their job. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty, but, with a little employee participation, you can hire for it.

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