Employee Referral programs are one of the best ways to source quality candidates. I strongly believe that our employees are the best spokespersons and brand ambassadors, and the marketing that they can do for the organisation cannot be compared to any other source of recruitment or campaign. If they like the company culture and believe that it is a good place to work, they will do all that is in their power to improve the quality of recruits and also improve the retention ratio in the business. A strong employee referral program not only supports the recruitment process, but also builds a strong sense of ownership amongst employees. I have noticed employee referral conversions increase from 2% to 28% of employees referred, and this comes at a lower cost of acquisition than the external market.
If you decide to push for improving employee referrals, ensure that you have a great incentive plan in place. An employee can refer as many people as they want provided they are not a part of the interview process. The interview is completed using independent assessors, and irrespective of the clout of the referee, only those who fit the culture and have the right skill sets are considered. In case the referred candidate is not selected, the reason for the same should be communicated to the employee through a robust feedback mechanism.
Special campaigns should be run at regular intervals, where employees can enjoy the benefit of earning attractive incentives and rewards by referring candidates for niche positions, and at the end of the year, employees with the highest conversions should be recognised separately. I remember in the year 2004, Convergys ran such a program and the one with the most referrals was actually awarded a car.
Improving working culture and employee morale is a must in all organisations, as the benefits are profound, and the need to do something about this is quite evident to improve your top line, the csat and the bottom line.