It’s quicker, it costs less and the return is higher. Sounds great, but what’s for sale? It’s the power of finding great new hires using referrals from your current employees. Jobvite.com reports that referred applicants are hired more quickly, the cost to recruit them is lower, and they are likely to stay on the job longer. So how do you encourage your current staff to identify potential employees? Here are three ways to get started.
One of the reasons employees don’t volunteer names of potential candidates is because they’re never asked. Yet their knowledge of your business and what it takes to work there puts them in a unique position. Current employees can likely provide the highest quality of potential recruits. So make it part of your culture when you have a vacancy to first ask current employees who they think might be a good fit. It might be an announcement at an employee meeting, a notice on their paycheck stub or a sign in the break area. Ask employees who they know that might be a good fit to work at your business.
Provide help in describing the kind of employee you want to find. Start by identifying your ideal employee. What skills do they possess? How do they work with other people? What can your business do for them? Some businesses actually develop a fictional sketch of their ideal candidate. Employees can share that with potential recruits so they can evaluate whether or not it might be a good fit. Collateral materials like this help you communicate with a consistent voice to people who might be interested in working at your business. Paired with the first-hand information from your current employees, a would-be employee gets a good picture of what it might be like to work for you.
Recognize employees for providing a referral to a potential hire. Some businesses have a formal program that provides monetary rewards. Typically, it is a cumulative amount where the first reward is given when the application is submitted. Then, an additional amount might be given at hire and another one year later, if the new associate is still employed. That tends to produce higher quality referrals, and it gives current employees an incentive to assist with retention. Some businesses allow spouses, vendors and customers to be eligible for rewards. Remember that non-monetary rewards can also be just as effective.
It makes good business sense to tap your current employees as sources for finding great new hires. They know the job and your business, so they’re in an excellent position to identify quality candidates. Consider these three ways to start an employee referral program in your small business.