Employees who join a company through employee referral are likely to be better, more loyal performers according to the Financial Times. Additionally they’re more likely to be well informed about the company after seeking insight from their contact before applying.
Rather than setting an arbitrary goal for employee referrals, employees sharing job vacancies should be the goal every company strives towards. After all, nothing says you’ve created a great place to work than your current employees voluntarily encouraging their contacts to apply for available roles.
But how do you turn your top employees into valuable recruiters? Does splashing the cash work, or is it all about creating a great company culture?
1) Referral schemes
Many businesses offer financial incentives to employees once the candidate has accepted the job offer or completed their probation period. Although incentives carry huge weight they’re not right for every organisation, and ideally you want to create an environment that inspires your employees to spread the word without the promise of personal gain.
2) Company culture
Once a month I get a free massage at work. There’s a range of herbal teas in the kitchen cupboard, a fancy coffee machine at my disposal and I’m treated to a number of lunches and dinners with my colleagues each year. They’re small things that make a huge impact. And they’re the things I make small talk about with friends, acquaintances and new people I meet at networking events.
However company culture isn’t just about nice things you do for your staff and the talking point opportunities they offer. Ultimately it’s about the following:
Culture guides discretionary behaviour and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.
Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, Harvard Business Review
Create a great company culture and you’ll only have to hire when you grow as a business – not to replace staff that wanted to leave.
You can’t prevent employees from using social media and expect them to spread the word about open vacancies in their spare time. Trust your staff to manage their time appropriately and allow them to access Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin during working hours. You’ll soon see positive chatter about your business begin to grow as they share company updates, write positively about events at work and promote job opportunities to their network.
Employees need to know what positions are open in order to refer people. Even Google found that they needed to ‘nudge’ employees into making more referrals by reminding them about specific open positions. Whatever size company you are be transparent and share job descriptions and relevant opportunities, whether that’s in person at a company meeting or by sharing a post on the company intranet.
5) Showcase your business online
With a great company culture and employees in a position to share what’s good about your company online, make sure your social media profiles and website are up to date and represent your organisation’s culture too. Your employees best connections will spend time researching your company before applying for a position; help them get a good idea of who you are so they can make sure they’re a good fit.