Why Employee Referrals are your Most Powerful Sourcing Strategy

Do you have a written candidate sourcing strategy that you regularly review and update? Does that sourcing strategy include an effective employee referral program? Does your employee referral program get the results you want? If not, you may want to take a long, hard look at your recruiting process and make some changes in both your sourcing strategy and your employee referral program. Wouldn’t you rather have a working system that brings you qualified, interested candidates instead of just another source of resumes to screen?

Consider these facts presented in Oracle’s January 2013 white paper “The Shortest Path to Better Hires: Best Practices for Employee Referral Programs”:

• Employee Referrals account for between 24 percent to one-third of all hires.

• Employee Referral hires perform up to 15 percent better than other types of hires.

• Employee Referral candidates accept offers 15 percent more often than non-referral candidates.

• A study by Ohio State University and Workforce Management found employee referral hires have a 25 percent higher retention rate than other types of hires.

Would you like to see these numbers in your candidate sourcing strategy and employee recruiting process? To make that happen, you’ll need to market your employee referral program and develop the employee and candidate experience.

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Market Your Employee Referral Program

Drive participation in your employee referral program by making it an integral part of your sourcing strategy and recruiting process and market it to all of your employees. Use good branding, including appealing and memorable program name, tagline, logo and message, as well as branded giveaways like coffee mugs and other gifts. Create additional incentives beyond referral bonuses, such as periodic prize drawings for those who make successful referrals. Consider an employee referral program newsletter or blog to spread the word about the program and keep it relevant for everyone.

Develop Employee Experience

If your sourcing strategy and employee referral program is a manual process, you are missing out on the efficiencies of social media and technology. Don’t make it difficult or cumbersome for your employees to let their friends, acquaintances, and colleagues know about your openings. Consider automated employee referral program software such as JobVite that lets your employees share your job openings easily with their social networks and tracks referrals. Make your referral rewards attractive to employees, and make it easy for them to send referrals by instituting a choice of rewards and optimizing your program for employees to use on mobile devices. Ask for employee referrals on an ongoing basis, in a variety of ways, such as on your company’s employment page, on your employee intranet, and in employee newsletters.

Develop Candidate Experience

Use your employee referral program as part of a strong sourcing strategy for the best hires. An employee referral program can help you develop a better candidate experience while contributing to your employer brand. Make continued contact with referred candidates a part of your employee referral program with newsletters or email campaigns that provide some value such as industry news or information about careers at your company and training and certification resources. Announce referred employee hires as originating through the referral program, along with the referring employee, to raise awareness and provide recognition. Part of your sourcing strategy should be to make sure every contact with referred candidates is positive, with the goal of having good comments about your company on employer review sites like Glassdoor.com.

A strong and effective sourcing strategy is key in a successful recruiting process, and an ongoing employee referral program that gets attention, creates awareness, and generates steady referrals should be part of that strategy. Take a good look at your sourcing strategy and make sure your employee referral program is working to get the numbers of referral hires you want and need.

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