‘Tis the season when business begins to taper just enough for us to embark on a hiring push, to onboard and train our newest team members. For the fall and winter months, this is our window of opportunity to ensure we’re ahead of the hiring curve before it’s too late. If our hiring initiatives during this time fall short of our goals, recruiting is already in a reactive state. Fortunately, our referral program continues to drive serious results while allowing us to focus on outbound recruiting. Here’s our referral strategy and some insight on how it can work for you.
Our referral program continues to be the leading source of hires in terms of quantity and quality; this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Of our 800+ hires year-to-date, our referral program has accounted for just over 34% of our hires. Diving deeper into our referral program, we learned that referrals in the months of October, November, and January have proven to be some of the highest referral months. Referrals decreased significantly in December, which is most likely due to a company-wide shutdown and minds being elsewhere. Keep in mind, the uptick in referrals isn’t exactly organic but strategic on our part.
Here are five simple points that you can quickly implement:
- Don’t have a referral program?
I told you this was simple! If you don’t have a referral program, Google “Employee Referral program” and get building. Keep it simple and create an incentive… $$$ always helps!
- Diversify your internal marketing of the referral program
Your referral program should help you work smarter, not harder. Consistently position it in front of employees to drive results through call to action messaging. For our organization, we focus on promoting the referral program through various media and at multiple times throughout the year.
- Employee benefits: We actively promote this as an employee incentive/benefit during their hiring process. Showing employees that they can play a part in shaping the workforce and earn money in the process underscores the importance of the program.
- New hire orientation: A perfect time to gain the individual attention of new hires! During new hire orientation, we cover the details of the program and how they can submit a referral. Quick and easy.
- Email: Again, this seems too simple but timing is everything. Determining the right timing and frequency is extremely important. For us, it seems to work best to send reminders on a quarterly basis and calls to action prior to holidays. Email isn’t our only marketing tool, which is why we don’t have to over use it.
- Team meetings: Managers consistently promote our program and openly discuss needing referrals.
- Print: On a quarterly basis, our marketing team creates and ships new internal print ads to help capture the attention of our team members; this is especially important for those who do not have email access.
- Be target-specific
Like most, we have a wide range of positions that often have different priority levels based on the specific business unit. To ensure you are taking full advantage of your employees’ networks, specify what you are looking for and highlight the top three or four open positions with the greatest need. You will have a much higher probability of gaining the right talent.
- Make it easy! Treat your employees like applicants.
During the application process, it’s the standard across all industries to optimize the process and make it as seamless as possible to help reduce applicant drop-off rates.
With that in mind, why create a referral process that requires your employees to jump through multiple hoops to submit a referral? Strive to create a simple referral process that allows employees to share jobs and refer employees in just a few clicks or steps.
- Incentivize while promoting quality of referrals
For our referral program, we offer either a $500 or $1,000 referral bonus based on the specific role. This bonus is paid in two installments. The first half is paid after 30 days of the referral’s hire and the second comes after six months of successful employment. This helps ensure we only pay bonuses for quality candidates. Secondly, it gives our employees another reason to help their referrals during the transition into our company. The referring associate becomes an advocate when they are invested in the success of your new hire.
Ultimately, the main points from the five tips mentioned above are to keep it simple and let the process work for you. A successful referral program engages employees so they become actively involved in the building and shaping of the workforce. When you have a simple and repeatable process, it ultimately makes our jobs easier when it comes getting talent in the door.
Like many others, Corey Burns fell into HR & Talent Acquisition by accident. He got his first taste of Recruiting at a Fortune 500 company, where he quickly found his niche. When he was young, his father taught him the valuable lesson of “no risk, no reward,” so Corey moved from the stable corporate nest to a relatively unknown company and industry that were ripe for disruption. Now, as the Director of Recruiting & Development at General RV Center, a parent company comprised of 3 organizations in the Recreational Vehicle industry, Corey has led talent initiatives that have contributed to more than 300% growth in both employee count and revenues! As of 2017, General RV Center has been named the 6th fastest-growing and 31st largest privately-held company in Michigan.
He formed the company’s Recruiting & Development division in 2013, as the company entered a hyper-growth stage, and he now oversees all human capital strategies. Corey’s approach begins with building trust-based relationships, which lead to talent solutions that support the four pillars of the company’s talent strategy: Attract, Develop, Retain, Grow.
While Corey focuses on strategic initiatives and managing his two teams (Recruiting and Learning & Development), he is a player-coach who thrives on facilitating trainings and picking up hard-to-fill reqs. You can talk to talk to Corey via email or LinkedIn…