Finding that rare gem in a fiercely competitive talent market these days is a long and costly process. Recruiters use multiple recruiting strategies but often forget the most obvious: the recommendations of their employees. A well-run referral program can give you access to a new pool of candidates, and many other benefits.

The Untapped Benefits Of Referral Programs

Money And Time Savings

Recruitment expenses can eat into a company's bottom line. But when your employees promote open positions, you reduce your distribution and marketing costs, and have more time to spend on screening, interviewing, and onboarding. You also speed up the process since you eliminate certain steps. Of course, such a program comes at a price, but when you compare the costs and benefits, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Compatibility

No one knows or understands your corporate culture better than your employees. Chances are, they'll recommend candidates who share their interests and values, so you will strengthen that culture and team chemistry by hiring them. In addition, an employee who recommends a friend or family member demonstrates their commitment to the organization. And because they'll share their experiences with the potential recruit, they'll better understand your culture and job expectations.

Increased Quality And Commitment

According to LinkedIn's 2017 Global Recruiting Trends Report, 48% of employers believe employee referrals are the best source of quality hires. Since your recruit knows at least one person in the organization, they will be more committed from the start, and their integration will be easier.

Retention Tool

Faced with networking sites like LinkedIn which are increasingly hampering employee retention, it is essential to be creative to motivate them. A referral program allows them to participate in the future and the growth of the company, not to mention that they are proud when a candidate they have suggested gets a job: they feel that they are trusted and that their opinion is valued.

Yet referral programs remain a very untapped resource in a highly competitive talent market: they are part of the recruiting budget of only 9% of employers. If you need advice on how to start your own and take advantage of all of its benefits, contact an Adecco advisor today.

Why Do Employee Referrals Work?

Employee referrals can add substantial value to your organization, and as a consequence, they are on the rise, all the more reason to get started with an employee referral program if you haven't done so yet.

Let's be honest. If a colleague says he or she knows the perfect candidate to fill that position you so desperately need to find someone for, what do you do? Chances are, you invite them for an interview straight away, and as the biased human beings we are, you may see the referred candidate in a more positive light. After all, the fact that he or she comes recommended means they've already been vetted, right? Yes. As weird as this may seem, in a way, referrals have been preselected by the simple fact that if your current employees weren't convinced they would be a good fit, they wouldn't have made the recommendation. Of course, this is in no way a data-driven or objective selection method, and yet, it works.

Research shows that new hires that come via an employee referral program are more likely to stay with your company.

It also shows that referred employees start their job sooner than hires from other sources and that they tend to be fully operational faster. Apart from these research-based findings, there is a myriad of other reasons why employee referrals work. Let's go through the most relevant ones.

Referrals are a better cultural fit. Again, if your employees thought their referral wouldn't be a good fit, both for the job and for your company culture, they wouldn't put them forward as potential candidates. As such, your staff preselects the candidates for you, and who knows better what your company culture is like and what type of a person it takes to excel in your organization than your current employees? Besides, an employee that refers a candidate will want to make sure they only present the best possible person for the job because they'll personally feel responsible for the success of the referral in the company. Number

They are more engaged. Since referrals are more likely to be a good culture fit, they'll probably feel at home right away. They'll get along well with your other employees because they'll know at least one person already who will introduce them to the rest of the team and show them the ropes.

Referred employees are happier, less likely to leave, more productive, you name it. As a logical result, referred employees are happier, less likely to leave the company prematurely, and more productive than people who've been hired via a different source. Needless to say, this can drastically improve your quality of hire and organizational performance overall.

Tips To Make Your Referral Program Effective

A few simple tips can help you get the most out of it:

Communicate regularly

If you want your employees to be encouraged to share relevant references with you, you need to bring your program to life and communicate regularly on the subject.

Do rigorous follow-ups

Employees recommend profiles but don't always get feedback or follow-up from recruiters, which can raise questions about the effectiveness of the program.

By identifying a key person who will be responsible for the referral program, you will ensure that the process runs smoothly. 

Invest in your employer brand

Your employees are your best ambassadors, provided you provide them with a work environment in which they can thrive. It is therefore essential to pay particular attention to the culture of the company, the environment, the conditions offered, and the managerial practices of the organization.

Recognize your employees

The financial compensation offered through the referral program is certainly an incentive, but this is not enough to make employees want to participate. As a recruiter or manager, take the time to recognize and thank the employee for their contribution.

In conclusion

Employee referral programs can lower the costs of attracting talent while unearthing rare gems that will develop a strong commitment to the company.

However, an effective process must be put in place which will lead to concrete results. While the reward is a great incentive, the best way to foster referrals from real talent is to be in an environment where your workers are happy.

We cannot say it enough: take care of the culture, the environment, the conditions, and the managerial practices of the organization. Your employees will then want to showcase it themselves and encourage their acquaintances to join it.