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.
While the short-term work involved in implementing an employee referral scheme is greater than posting on job boards and instructing recruitment consultants, we think the long-term gains make it well worth the effort!
Don’t just take our word for it though, let’s have a look at some of the key stats…
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.
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.
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.
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.