5 reasons employee referral will be critical to recovery post COVID-19

Employee Referral for Economic Recovery

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented time in global history.  Every country has reacted differently to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impact on local economies and the global landscape is yet to be fully understood. 

In the shadow of global economic turmoil modern businesses are once again faced with the challenge of streamlining costs; relying more heavily than ever before on technology to run their business and of course recruitment freezes are widespread across a large number of industries (though as ever some industries continue to succeed and even thrive on the back of this situation). 

Employee referral as a part of a business’ talent acquisition strategy has always been a cost effective and impactful tactic for recruiting high quality candidates with higher engagement and lower attrition rates. 

According to a study run in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis: ‘Employee referral schemes are the best talent acquisition strategy during economic uncertainty’ 

When businesses are attempting to reduce costs and improve efficiency, from a recruitment perspective employee referral when done well is a quicker and cheaper alternative to other recruitment methods.  This makes it an important part of business recovery as we all take the first steps towards some sort of normality, BAU and future growth. 

In this context we’re talking about fully automated employee referral platforms that import all employee’s social connections from a variety of platforms.  Using gamification and competition to engage employees. Implementing micro rewards to keep them active throughout the recruitment process and two way communication so TA teams can proactively suggest referral candidates, as well as employees putting candidates forward.

5 ways effective employee referral will help support business recovery

1.  Reducing the cost of recruitment  
Employee referral is one of the most cost effective recruitment methods.  Especially when a lot of businesses find that large monetary rewards aren’t as motivating for employees as smaller, incremental less expensive rewards.  For example, we’ve seen much higher engagement with referral through £50-£250 Amazon vouchers, distributed at different stages of the candidate journey than a £5000 reward for a hire at the end of the process.  It also allows you to avoid hefty agency fees and streamline your recruitment budget which will be a critical part of keeping your business lean and prepared for recovery.

2. Keeping talent acquisition and employees engaged and connected
Employee engagement has been a significant challenge for most organisations during COVID-19.  Maintaining a high quality talent pipeline and keeping employees connected with each other, as well as talent acquisition teams connected to the business can be enabled through the use of automated employee referral systems; internal competitions and social sharing. 

3. Fundamental shift to online 
With enforced home working, businesses who perhaps hadn’t implemented flexible and remote working practices have been forced to.  Relying on technology to communicate and get things done has rapidly become the new norm.  It’s likely that investing in new technology like automated employee referral will now be a lot more effective than pre-COVID as reliance on digital technology is far more widespread and accepted by employers and employees alike.

4. Talent overflow as a result of furlough and redundancy 
There’s no two ways about it, there’s going to be a significant spike in unemployment as life begins to return to normal.  This will mean a huge influx of talent into the market place at the same time.  According to the CIPD, for many organisations placing staff on furlough redundancy is likely to be a very real consideration; if not in the immediate term, then potentially whilst staff are on furlough or when the furlough scheme comes to an end on 30 June 2020.  Beyond furlough this will mean a higher volume of applicants for every role advertised, far more time consuming for TA teams.  Using employee referral may reduce the volume and increase the quality of applications.

5. High levels of competition for great talent
If you’re fortunate enough to operate in one of the few sectors that will either thrive or be relatively unaffected by Coronavirus, competition for great talent in those sectors will remain high, if not increase as demand for the product or service continues to grow.  Within your market place, it’s likely you’ve always faced a competitive hiring environment, but if demand for those skills spikes, adding employee referral to your recruitment armoury will set you apart from the competition, giving you access to a totally unique talent pool. 

If you think automated employee referral will help support your business with recovery, why not book a Real Links demo today and find out more.  We also offer low cost pilot schemes for up to 100 employees if you’d like to try before you commit.

Tailoring your employer brand for tech…how to get the best talent to want to work for you

Tech talent – often seen as Unicorns of the recruitment game. 

61% of CEOs say a shortage of great dev talent is more of a threat to their business than investment; talent acquisition teams anecdotally tell us that they struggle to compete with ‘cooler’ tech businesses on either brand reputation or perks and pay and often, there’s discord between the consumer brand and employer brand.

For example, a slot machine gaming platform that caters for 50+ females with a talent requirement of bright University graduates who demonstrate high levels of skill.  It’s highly likely those graduates haven’t even heard of the brand as they’re not the right target audience and amongst their peer group there will be ‘cooler’ better known brands to aspire to work for. 

So as a talent acquisition leader under pressure to hire great tech talent for a brand that’s not necessarily got talent throwing themselves at you, what do you do?  You start with marketing.  

For some businesses, their consumer brand feeds their employer brand, for others, you’re targeting two completely different audiences with different messages. 

To add another layer of complication, employer brand can’t be one size fits all.  You need to tailor your messaging according to who you’re trying to attract.  For example, what interests a management accountant in working for your business will probably be different to the motivations of a tech professional.  

In this case we’re focused on hiring tech, so what does your employer brand need to demonstrate to attract the right tech candidates? 

Research from the Stack Overflow Insights Report, 2019 highlights:

  • 51% of developers are self-learners, learning to code by themselves through accessible online resources.
  • Developers working in small companies are more professionally fulfilled than those in large groups 
  • 80% of developers work on code outside of work as a hobby
  • 68% of developers consider that the ability to learn new things is more important than salary when considering a new role

What we can deduce from that, as well as anecdotal evidence we’ve gathered is that there are a handful of areas in your employer brand that can be easily tailored to attract a tech audience. 

For them it’s all about the projects, what they’ll learn, how much autonomy they have to be creative.  If you’ve provided that kind of non linear development with an environment that motivates them, your consumer brand suddenly becomes less of an issue:

  • Attraction messaging 
  • Communication channels 
  • The candidate experience during assessment and on-boarding 
  • Working conditions 
  • Gamification of projects 
  • Learning and development 
  • Benefits 

Based on this research, we’ve developed a check list of ideas that have the potential to change, or promote your employer brand perception in the mind of the tech candidates you’d most love to work with. 

Case Studies
Do you have case studies written for tech talent, by tech talent, showcasing your most interesting recent projects?

Dedicated developer blog
Do you have a blog written by tech professionals for tech professionals? Check out this example from Monzo. They talk in detail about specific projects and problems they’ve solved, providing candidates with detailed insight into what a day in the life might look like in your company.

Tailored job adverts 
Do you tailor your job adverts in a way that inspires tech talent to take action? A simple ‘about us’ won’t cut it for this audience. Lead with the most unique and attractive aspects of the project or tech stack they’ll be working on. In many cases, incorporating a logo of programming language or software will have far more impact than a text-based explanation. checklist how does your employer brand measure up when it comes to tech talent?

Social proof 
Are you leveraging social proof? Using employee testimonials and leveraging employee advocacy from your current tech team will exponentially increase your success. In tech in particular, there’s nothing more powerful than positive insights from their peers.  This is one of the reasons employee referral and advocacy platforms work so well in the tech community – because they’re very well networked; share a common passion and spend a lot of time online they’ve got fantastic access to diverse talent pools. 

Competitor analysis 
Do you conduct regular competitor benchmarking against salaries and benefits to ensure what you’re offering to candidates matches up?

Bespoke benefits
Have you considered redefining your benefits package to attract specific talent? A benefits package for a tech employee may differ from customer service for example – but advertising a bespoke benefits package can really enhance your employer brand.

Promoting your tech stack
Your brand may not be the coolest or most sought after in the tech talent market. But by promoting the virtues of your tech stack, you may just spark the interest of some great talent.

Nonlinear career paths
Tech talent have an appetite for fast moving personal development. They’re often self-taught and motivated by constant learning and development. If this is something you can offer, make it a part of your employer value proposition.

Real time communication 
Tech talent are used to using technology to communicate instantly through platforms like Slack. Is your HR or Talent Acquisition team readily available for real time communication with both new talent and existing employees? It’s a real bonus if you are, as it positions the brand as forward thinking and tech savvy in the mind of the people you want to engage with.

There’s a multitude of actions you can take to make your brand more attractive to a tech audience, improving the volume and quality of applications and hires.  

For more support on hiring tech talent download our whitepaper or book a demo to find out how employee referral could revolutionise hiring for tech. 

Learn more about how you can source tech talent today.

When it comes to hard to fill developer roles – have you thought about this?

the problems companies face when trying to attract great tech talent

If you’re a tech business or hiring manager you’ll know how hard it is to attract great tech talent for developer and engineering roles.  Developers who fit your tech stack and who have the skills and commercial understanding to grow the company and develop the product for the future are Unicorns, very rare and tricky to pin down if you’re lucky enough to find one.

In a report from Digital Ocean, hiring managers ranked the following as the most challenging aspects of hiring for these roles:

  1. Lack of formal software engineering education (39%)
  2. Limited pool of candidates with relevant job/technical skills (18%)
  3. Lack of soft skills/workplace competencies (15%)
  4. Losing top candidates to competing offers (15%)
  5. Salary demands too high (13%)

For a tech business, not being able to hire developers and engineers has a huge impact on revenue.  Not having the right talent in place means missed deadlines, projects being left incomplete and a total inability to scale up.

For hiring managers, developer roles bring an onslaught of frustrations from achieving stretching D&I targets as the talent pool is largely male to huge amounts of wasted time on candidates who are unable to fill even baseline requirements.

Traditional hiring methods aren’t providing the quality or volume of developer candidates required to make a great hire.  Niche job boards, sector focused recruitment agencies and social media go some way to filling the talent pipeline, but there’s a huge database of talent that is currently untapped.

Your employee’s personal networks.

untapped networks at your fingertips

On average, individuals on LinkedIn have 930 connections.  Facebook 338.  Twitter 707.  Let’s take the example of a 20 person organisation.  Potentially you’ve got an untapped audience of 39,500 people.  And that doesn’t take into account the fact that your current tech team are probably active on sites like GitHub, which has a user base of over 40 million tech professionals.

accessing employees networks

It’s no secret that referrals make great hires.  Cost per hire is significantly reduced and retention rates for organisations operating an effective referral scheme average a 46% retention rate in comparison to industry averages of 33%.

Historically employee referral schemes have a high failure rate for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. A lack of ownership internally
  2. Leadership buy in
  3. Manual rather than automated through tech
  4. Lack of employee buy-in
  5. Weak employee advocacy
  6. The wrong incentives

The primary foundation for a great referral scheme is building employee advocacy.

Employee advocacy goes deeper than employees promoting an organisation’s brand.  It’s a culture of believing in the content a firm produces and actively seeking opportunities to share that content and the job roles available.

According to Hinge Research, 80% of businesses do not have a formal employee advocacy program in place.  That’s a huge competitive advantage to those that do.

so what should you consider when using referral to attract great tech talent?

If you’re going to introduce an employee referral scheme where the goal is building a tech talent pipeline, it’s critical you consider the personality traits and motivators of that specific audience.

Your ideal employee referer for development or engineer roles is likely to be your own tech team so you need to carefully consider the following:

  1. They know tech, it’s their passion, so using the best quality employee referral technology is critical to generate engagement.
  2. If you decide to roll out a piece of referral technology, be mindful that the language you use to roll it out to the wider business may be very different to the language you need to use for the tech team.  Stick to the facts and the merits of the tech.  They’ll be interested in benefits, features and the back end development.
  3. Review your content strategy.  Building employee advocacy requires employees to be engaged with your brand, believe in its value and be inspired to share the content you’re posting.  It’s not just about being rewarded for sharing job ads.  Consider the subject matter and the language.  Keep content for a tech audience short, factual and to the point.  Don’t over explain.
  4. Gamification is a great way to create and maintain engagement with your referral scheme.  Putting tech teams in competition against each other to share the most, or increase referrals is likely to appeal to their nature.
  5. When offering rewards for sharing content or referring someone for a role, make sure you get feedback from the tech team on what motivates them.  There’s a tendency to assume monetary rewards work best, but it’s often not the case. You also can’t assume that what motivates someone in the finance team for example will be the same for someone in tech.

Developers and engineers will continue to be a challenging area to recruit for.  There is a war for talent, but if you can become part of the 20% using employee advocacy and referrals effectively, this will position you head and shoulders above the competition, filling your talent pipeline, reducing time and cost to hire and supporting you to scale.

Learn more about how you can source tech talent today.

 

the employee referral process

referral visibility

We recently released our findings based on a survey with 100 employees, which investigates the current landscape and shortcomings of employee referrals: “Rewarding Referrals: Strategies & Insights to Increase Employee Participation & Longevity”. One of our key findings was the necessity to include reward systems into your referral strategy in order to successfully increase referred hires from an industry average of under 10% to over 30%.

the referral process

Previously, we wrote about the types of rewards that can be used when providing bonuses for employee referrals. We found that while money is effective, there are many other forms that increase participation, such as time-off, personal development and experiential rewards. However, choosing the right type of reward isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered. When and how to reward referrals is equally important. Therefore, a clear, well-defined employee referral process that includes game mechanics, is what takes referrals from a passive benefit for recruitment teams to an active source of hard-to-reach candidates. In this blog, we will explore some of the dos and don’ts of the referral process.

when to reward referrals

Through our survey, we found that 34% of companies only offer rewards for referrals upon a hire being made with a further 65% once a referred candidate has passed their probation period. Only 1% of those surveyed said that their company rewards earlier in the application process. To put this into context, when considering hiring timelines (as seen below), it could take up to one year before employees are recognised for making a referral. In addition, since a majority of candidates will not pass the interview stage, most employees who have referred someone from their network will see no recognition for their efforts.

referral bonus timeline

a lack of transparency

Worse yet, due to the inability to easily track the status of their referred candidates in the hiring process, employees are left in the dark on the progress of their referrals. This is even more damaging, when considering that a number of employees will refer someone and never receive a reward, creating mistrust in not only referrals but also the company they work for. In fact, our survey shows that 83% of employees are unable to track the progress of referred candidates. This means that for most employees, their experience with referrals will be a negative one.

gamification & reward systems

Looking at game mechanics as an indication for how likely employees are to participate, it’s clear that instantaneous rewarding is a key factor to success. If the employee performs a positive action, in this case an introduction to a candidate, or the very first step of a referral, they need to be immediately rewarded. Here, microrewards are powerful, and when correctly used, result in employees continuously referring. It’s important to break down the application process and to incorporate gamification into the various stages of referrals.

For example, successful forms of rewards for when a referral is made could be raffle tickets, which result in a prize at the end of the month. The more referrals an employee makes, the more raffle tickets they earn, increasing their chances of winning. When a referred candidate moves onto the interviewing stage, another micro-prize could be offered. Even something as simple as a free lunch can be highly motivational. This lets you use gamification to experience much higher returns on your referrals.

a tailored referral process 

But do your employees prefer raffle tickets or a points-based system? Are they fans of leaderboards or do they dislike competition? Much like what type of reward to choose, the only way to know how to formulate your process is to ask your employees. At Real Links, the first step to creating our clients’ referral strategies is to hold focus groups with their employees. We rely on their feedback to create a referral process that increases participation and longevity. We then setup the gamification elements of our platform based on these results, ensuring that referrals are a key recruitment component in our clients’ organisations.

Interested in learning more about how you can transform referrals into a key source of hires? Download our whitepaper now.

The Benefits of Employee Referrals

The Benefits of Employee Referrals

11th September 2019

Employee referrals are a recruitment channel with a number of benefits such as boasting an extremely high conversion rate, where only 7% of applications come in through referrals yet they’re responsible for 40% of all hires. For employees, referral programs often feature appealing bonuses such as time off, cash, physical prizes and much more. Similarly, the secret to success when it comes to candidates finding their ideal, next position often lies within their professional networks. Employee referral programs, when handled correctly, create a best-case scenario for all stakeholders: employers, employees and applicants. 

Benefits for Employers

A referral program is a great way to source pre-qualified applicants, passive talent and even poach candidates from your competitors. It’s simple really, the people who you trust to produce results in your company have a vast network of likeminded individuals, who are more likely to be a cultural fit and get the job done. They also on average carry a 39% higher employee retention rate than candidates sourced through agencies and other recruitment tactics.  

A solid employee referral program is also more cost and time efficient than other forms of recruitment. From a financial perspective, recruitment agencies are known to be extremely expensive. Thanks to aggressive commission schemes, they often care less about matching the ideal candidate with the role than they do about fulfilling their quotas and generating revenue. On the other hand, internal recruiters spend a significant amount of time searching for candidates, qualifying them and setting up conversations. For hard to fill roles, these considerations can be extremely difficult challenges to overcome.

Finally, assuming your employees are appropriately incentivised to refer candidates, the success of your employee referral program can speak volumes for the rate of satisfaction your employees experience in the workplace. After all, an employee that cherishes their position and company is much more likely to recommend their friends and the people they trust, if they’re happy with where they work. They’re also more motivated to recommend people they believe will truly make a change at your organisation and satisfy your growth targets as they truly care about what’s best for your company. 

Benefits for Employees

While most employers have financial incentives in place when it comes to referrals, they also opt for other bonuses ranging from free travel to prizes such as bikes, gadgets and much more. On top of this, recognition in company communication channels as well as from supervisors are great motivators that push employees to become active in an employee referral program. However, there’s also the recognition within their personal networks, such as their social media channels, and the satisfaction of knowing that they helped someone close to them progress in their career. 

Successful and happy employees have your company’s goals in mind and are looking for solutions to hit their personal and professional goals. For example, a software engineer may have a daunting roadmap in front of them, which an additional, productive team member would help them achieve. Finally, the prospect of having an active hand at choosing their colleagues, and working alongside people they like and respect, is very motivational. 

Benefits for Candidates

Being referred for a position by someone who already works at a company often grants job seekers the coveted status of a fast track candidate by getting their CV in front of the right people at the right time. Rather than submitting their CV to hundreds of companies and filling out tedious, often painstakingly long application forms, their own networks can be a great first step to finding their next position. Or, better yet, perhaps one of your employees will reach out to them, whether they’re actively looking for the next step in their career or not, with a recommendation for the position of their dreams. 

Employee referral programs are one of the strongest forms of sourcing talent that focuses on quality. They feature multiple benefits for all stakeholders and have an active hand in creating a tangible, positive company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about employee referrals, Real Links’ platform automates the entire employee referral program through an intuitive matching system that promises to reduce the time spent and costs of recruitment.

Get in touch with us now.

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.