The 3 biggest problems with referrals and how you can overcome them

The 3 biggest problems with referrals and how you can overcome them

21st May 2019

Employee referrals are considered by many to be the best source of quality hires. But, while they can assist in bringing in great candidates, there are a number of common problems that companies will encounter. Here we discuss strategies that you can implement to solve them, whilst still utilising one of the most effective hiring channels.

Unconscious Bias

The human element in recruitment can introduce an element of human bias which can lead to unfairness and inequality during the hiring process. That’s why many companies are now investigating and implementing artificial intelligence in the recruitment process to help reduce the effects of unconscious bias.

When a ‘robot’ is separating qualified individuals based on merit and not perceived value companies can ensure they are treating each candidate fairly.

[To learn more about how AI is changing the recruitment process click here]

Platforms like Real Links use artificial intelligence to select the best candidates from employees’ networks and match them with roles that they are most qualified for. The anonymity of potential candidate profiles for recruiters until the candidates apply, helps to root out any unconscious human bias and is a valuable method to ensure hiring is based on talent, whilst also increasing workplace diversity.

Lack of motivation and engagement

Many companies do not fully incentivise their employees for taking part in their referral scheme. But doing so can be a win win, helping to reward employees in even a small way can get much bigger results for a company and help them to hire better quality candidates at a lower cost.

In 2015, Intel decided to accelerate their diversity through an incentive led referral program. By doubling the referral reward from $2,000 to $4,000, Intel decided to take drastic steps in order to diversify their predominantly white and male demographic. By introducing a worthwhile incentive program, they were well on their way to meet its diversity goal with 41% of 2015 hires coming from underrepresented groups, up from 32% in the previous year.

At Real Links we recommend our clients implement a referral reward for any successful hire (however small) as well as a incentivising the actions that lead to a hire through an employee leaderboard that tracks shares, applications and other actions on the platform. This keeps employees engaged over the medium term by allowing them to compete against each other or against other teams/departments in the company.

 

Creating a Similar Workforce

In 2019, a diverse workplace isn’t just desired; it is considered essential.

Diversity has been proven time and time again to have a wide array of benefits for any workspace including;

  • Recruiting top talent
  • Driving creativity
  • Helping to break into new markets

Using sports as a metaphor; a baseball team entirely composed of pitchers  can exchange tips and techniques and become experts in the role of pitching, however, when they go out on the field their prospects of winning are low compared to a well balanced and diverse team with a range of experience and specialisms. Having a team of diverse individuals who can bring unique talents and be able to cover all sides of the field will better increase the possibility of winning the game.

Employee referrals are often thought to impair a company’s efforts to diversify, as people have a tendency to seek out and associate with people who are like-minded and similar to themselves. In a phenomenon known as “sorting” when a referral is sent in, the chances of the referred individual being very similar to the person submitting the referral are high.

However companies are getting creative in their attempt to diversify their employee referrals. When thinking about ways to encourage more diverse referrals, Pinterest had a very simple yet effective strategy: just ask employees to refer more diverse candidates. The genius lies in its simplicity, sending a message to their employees about the value they place on diversity.

Abby Maldonado, HR Business Partner at Pinterest, revealed the challenge the company presented its engineering team to refer 10x more candidates from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds and 2x more women over the next six weeks.

The results speak for themselves: They saw a 24% increase in the percent of women referred, as well as a 55% increase in the percentage of candidates from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.

Women make up only a quarter of executive boards at top accountancy practices

Women make up only a quarter of executive boards at top accountancy practices

15th April 2019

We researched and analysed the data from the top 25 accountancy firms in the UK and found that women make up just a quarter of the executive boards.

In the top 25 executive boards, there are 518 members; 381 of which are male compared to 137 female board members. Twelve of the companies are male dominated, with 70% and 90% having male board members.

According to statistics, women made up 44% of full-time accountants in the UK in 2014. However, our research found that only two of the top 25 firms reflect this and a further six boards were only one third women. Shockingly, four executive boards had no women on them at all, with all four ranking in the top 20 firms.

When studying the data we found that out of the top 10 most common names of board members, nine were male names, with the first female coming in at the number 10 spot. Out of the top 20 most common names only two were female.

Here are the top 10 most common names:

  1. Mark
  2. David
  3. Andrew
  4. James
  5. Richard
  6. Paul
  7. Peter
  8. John
  9. Nick
  10. Sarah

Mark was the most common, appearing 20 times on executive boards, with David closely following in second place, with a total of 19 occurrences.

The first instance of seeing a woman in the list was Sarah, with seven board members having this name. This was followed by Caroline and Michelle, with both names only appearing three times each.

The largest accountancy firm in the UK had just a third of women on the board at 33%, whereas the 19th largest firm’s executive board boasted the most even split, with 52% male and 48% female  board members.

Sam Davies, CEO and co-founder of Real Links, said,

“While statistics show that the accounting industry has a relatively even split between men and women, it seems women are still struggling to climb to the top of their firms.

“The statistics we discovered were shocking and show that inequality is still prevalent in the industry. Despite targets and policies designed to encourage more women into senior roles, progress has been slow. The recent gender gap reporting has shown that parity is still a long way off, so at Real Links, we think that employers need to consider anonymising recruitment to ensure candidates are chosen on experience rather than being subject to any unconscious bias.

“The top 25 accountancy firms need to ensure they’re leading by example to try and close the gender split at the most senior levels in their industry.”

Employee Referral Rewards; Transforming Engagement

Employee Referral Rewards; Transforming Engagement

19th March 2019

Whether you work in an early-stage startup or a longstanding global corporation, increasing employee engagement and cutting costs will certainly be at least two objectives that everyone everywhere has in common. Employee referrals are the solution!

Often one of the most overlooked elements of corporate employee referral schemes are the rewards themselves. In an ever-evolving world, people care about more than just money and Amazon vouchers; it’s time to get creative.

We’ve been out in the market finding out which creative rewards would help boost employee engagement with referral schemes…

12 of the most riveting referral rewards around; just our way of helping you engage employees everywhere!

4 Cracking charity rewards; it may come as a surprise, but the majority of people love to give just as much as they love to get!
So here’s four great ways to give:

Plant a tree with The National Forest
Adopt a panda with WWF
Deciding vote: Company’s nominated charity
Donation to an academic institution of their choice

4 Scintillating social rewards; not only do social rewards allow for peer recognition, they can also benefit those very same peers and thereby foster further engagement!
So let’s get social:

Company drinks to celebrate your top referrer
Deciding vote: Team night out
Mention in company newsletter
Recognition at next company awards/retreat

4 Glorious gift rewards; innovation doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel, sometimes it’s just about finding flashy rims!
So here’s four presents you might not offer at present ?:

Extra day of annual leave
Gourmet Cookery Course
Local Coffee Card (Based in London? I’d recommend Coffee Works)
Meditation Retreat

So now you know how to engage your employees through the power of rewards!

Interested in implementing a referral scheme or improving your existing one? Real Links can help!

If you’re looking to learn more, feel free to get in touch by emailing asher.austin@reallinks.io; I love a good chat! 

Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing for recruiters

Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing for recruiters

15th March 2019

According to the most recent LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report, the biggest trends set to change how recruiters hire are:

Diversity: the new global mindset
Candidate assessment tools: newest ways to identify top performers
Data: the new corporate superpower
Artificial Intelligence: your secret workhorse

The annual report, published last year, surveyed over 8,800 recruiters and hiring managers from 39 countries to better understand these trends and help recruitment teams prepare their strategies. Artificial intelligence is the one trend that recruiters can tangibly use to transform the hiring process.

Real Links is firmly aligned with these trends with it’s referral platform which uses AI & automation to select the best candidates from employees’ networks and match them with roles at a company, rapidly increasing the speed and effectiveness of the traditional referral scheme. The fact that potential candidate profiles are anonymised for recruiters until the candidates apply, helps to root out unconscious bias in the hiring process and is a valuable method to implement workplace diversity.

Artificial intelligence is at times seen as a threat to existing positions in the job market, and although this may be true for some sectors, for recruiters in Human Resources the prospect of having a secret assistant that has indefinite stamina and assured dependability should be exciting and attractive.

Allocating the more administrative duties of collecting and going through CVs and profiles to AI, recruiters gain the opportunity to spend more time sourcing, screening and nurturing potential candidates. As one of the newer trends, we are only just learning its capabilities in transforming sectors for the better. While AI can replace much of the process, only 14% believe it will eliminate recruiters’ jobs. AI is simply a tool being used to generate more meaningful time for the recruiter and eliminates the jobs that clutter the process.

Jon Addison, Head of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn UK, commented “Over the past few years, hiring talent has become a repetitive, and sometimes transactional, process. But there is a shift happening, and these emerging trends are helping to elevate recruitment to a more strategic profession that focuses on the most important and gratifying parts of the job – the human part and thinking critically about how to win the right talent. It’ll be a keen finger on the pulse with these trends that will help recruiters stay alive in our ever-evolving market.”

Taking advantage and capitalising on emerging technology is the best way to ensure longevity and efficiency. Artificial intelligence and automated tools are some of the most creative and innovative solutions that have come out of the tech world and should be utilised by recruiters all over the sector to help them increase the speed and quality of their hiring capabilities.

If you would like to find out more about how Real Links is using artificial intelligence and automation to improve traditional referral schemes please contact sales@reallinks.io

Real Links coming to UNLEASH 2019

Real Links coming to UNLEASH 2019

13th March 2019

The 5th Annual Spring UNLEASH Conference & Expo will be held in London and RealLinks will be attending!

UNLEASH 2019 showcases smarter ways of working, powered by innovative HR technology and the latest business transformation insights led by global executives from some of the world’s most exciting brands and reputable organisations.

Join RealLinks at UNLEASH 2019 on March 19th & 20th- Booth #622

 

Why should I improve my employee referral scheme now..?

Why should I improve my employee referral scheme now..?

15th August 2018

Successful employee referral schemes are a powerful recruiting tool for businesses – they provide significant cost savings and help companies to make more productive hires who stay long term. The problem is that increasing referrals still tends to fall quite low down on the priority list for companies.

Don’t just take our word for it though, let’s have a look at some of the key stats…

9 Key Statistics

1. Highest ROI

82% of employers rated employee referrals above all other sources for generating the best return on investment (ROI)

2. Better quality hires

88% of employers said that referrals are the #1 best source for above-average applicants

3. More likely to be hired

Employee referrals are 3-4x more likely to be hired than non-referral candidates

4. Better retention rates

Employee referral candidates have an average retention rate of 46%, compared to the 33% retention rates of organisations that only use career sites

5. More affordable

 Hiring through employee referrals saves companies at least £2,270 per hire

6. More likely to accept the job

Referred candidates are more likely to accept the job

7. Reduce time to hire

Employee referral candidates are 55% faster to hire, compared with employees hired through other channels

8. Good for diversity hires

Employee referrals are the #1 most productive source of diversity hires

9. Attract passive candidates

Employee referral schemes are more likely to attract passive candidates than other recruitment channels

These are just some of the key stats which show how running a successful referral scheme can be transformative for companies.

If you’re interested in implementing a referral scheme or improving your existing one, Real Links’ employee referral platform can help!

If you’re looking to learn more, feel free to get in touch by emailing sales@reallinks.io. We’re always happy to chat!

How to nail your employee referral program with tech…

How to nail your employee referral program with tech…

15th August 2018

How Real Links, the employee referral platform, uses technology to solve the problems with employee referral schemes…

My role as co-founder of Real Links is to undertake the software development and product design of our platform. My colleague Sam Davies has already written about the problems that companies typically encounter with employee referral programs after surveying HR professionals and employees.Today, I want to explain how we’ve harnessed technology to solve these problems and build a simple process to increase employee referrals and decrease recruitment spend.

My referral scheme is getting results, couldn’t my company solve the problems with our referral schemes without third party software..?

Undoubtedly, there are some solutions that companies could implement. However, these processes are very labour intensive so it’s our belief that any company looking to improve their existing processes or create new ones could gain a lot from an automated and efficient system.

Visibility?—?I’m not told about vacancies at my company:

The companies with the most successful referral schemes think carefully about who in their company might have good connections for a specific role, for example those of a similar age or with connections at previous companies, and then make them aware of such roles.

We’ve made this super simple with a one click email to employees asking them to share the job vacancy via email or in their social networks.

We’ve also built an employee referral portal that houses all your current job postings from your ATS which an employee can access to view the current postings.

Time?—?It takes too long to refer someone.

Time and again the feedback we got from candidates was that they are too busy to share jobs with their friends or, if they do, it’ll just be someone in their immediate social sphere.

We’ve made it possible for employees to refer their network through our easy to use one click sharing features while also tracking the results.

Recognition:

The best referral schemes had employees rewarded for simply taking part. We spoke to one company where their employees would get a £20 gift voucher simply for sharing a job on LinkedIn. Now, that might be on the generous side but giving employees an incentive to be engaged in the process makes a lot of sense?—?maybe the first few times they try to refer a role they don’t know anyone suitable, but what if they do on the third attempt.

With a typical referral incentive scheme where a hire is rewarded, employees often lose interest.

At Real Links, we have a leaderboard that encourages employees to keep coming back to collect points (gamification) and also the opportunity to win prizes as they score to certain levels.

Conclusion:

Individually, these are all pretty straightforward steps you can start to implement today to improve your scheme, in fact you are probably already doing some of these things. However, it takes time to monitor, optimise and implement these features manually and suggest using a software tool would be preferential.

What’s going wrong with employee referrals..?

What’s going wrong with employee referrals..?

15th August 2018

We’ve been out speaking to HR teams about our new employee referral platform and one thing is abundantly clear?—?everyone thinks employee referrals are great! The problem is that, despite us all being more interconnected than ever, employee referral hires are, with a few exceptions, very low.

Do your referral hires account for less than 10% of your annual hires? Don’t worry, our research suggests you are firmly amongst the majority. Even if you’re getting more referral hires, unless you are securing 30% of your annual hires through referrals, we don’t think you are fulfilling your employee referral potential.

So, what’s the problem..? We went out and spoke to employees across a range of industries to find out…

1. I’m not told about vacancies at my company

It was surprising to hear how many people cited a lack of visibility as a key reason. To be fair to the employees, there’s not much they can do if they’re not told about roles.

2. It takes too long to refer someone

What does that mean..? Well, we weren’t sure either so drilled down a bit further.

Basically, a lot of employees said that, if they receive an email about a vacancy, they simply don’t have the time to draft messages and contact their network. They tell themselves they’ll come back to it later but, of course, they rarely do. Another common gripe was “archaic processes” to submit a referral.

3. No recognition unless a referred candidate is hired

There seems to be a feeling that, while it makes sense to only pay recruitment consultants if a candidate is hired, a company’s employees should be treated differently.

Ultimately, they feel that they have put a lot of effort in and recommended a strong candidate, albeit a candidate not hired for that role, and that should be recognised.

4. Companies could offer more interesting incentives

Are you telling me that a big fat referral bonus isn’t enough..? In fairness, it’s not as greedy as first glance suggests. The point made by a few respondents was that not everyone is motivated by money and their company could potentially offer other awards (e.g. a cookery course).

What’s the solution?

It’s pretty simple really. You just need to use our employee referral platform, Real Links (www.reallinks.co.uk).

While that may be a shameless plug, all the employees and companies that we have spoken to agree that Real Links goes a long way to solving the problems mentioned above and will increase employee engagement.