Employee Referral Programmes - Yes or No?

Employee referrals are often considered to be one of the most productive recruiting strategies.1 An employee referral programme (ERP) is a structured programme employers use to encourage their existing employees to recommend job candidates for open vacancies. Unlike the usual sourcing methods, employee referral is an internal method that’s used to find and recruit good talent from your employees’ existing networks.

At Impellam we have 3,200 Impellam people across 165 locations working closely with our clients to provide Managed Services or Specialist Staffing, or providing support services to our Group. Our people therefore have a wealth of expertise and growing networks in various sectors. Because of this, we have decided to launch an exciting internal employee referral programme to leverage our employees’ existing networks to help us fill open roles.

“Our new and exciting employee referral programme will be launched globally across all of our 165 locations. It’s truly a win/win for us as we give our employees the opportunity to introduce Virtuosos into our brands and support functions in order to help grow our business, and they also receive a referral bonus!” – Liz Borland, Impellam HR Shared Services Director

Only time will tell whether the programme will prove to be successful. The programme will undergo constant review to see if it’s working for our employees and our business. According to Aha! Business Consulting, there are many pros and cons to ERPs.

Pros to helping your business include:

- If you have referring employees that are trusted and do great jobs, their recommendations could be extremely valuable as they know your company culture, and if they believe someone is a good fit, they probably will be;

- You’re reaching qualified people that you might not have reached otherwise;

- It’s empowering to employees knowing that their referrals are sought after, and this increases engagement

Cons to your business include:

- Depending on your referring employee’s new working relationship with the hired referral, either one may be reluctant to share ideas or critiques, as they don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings or ruin their personal relationship. One way to avoid this is to initiate more one-on-one, casual conversations so that employees have more ways to express their views2;

- If the employee’s referral is not hired, your employee could feel it reflects negatively on them, possibly making them feel ill towards your company. To avoid this, provide constant feedback to your employee who referred the candidate so that they’re always kept in the loop, and they fully understand why you have not chosen to go with the candidate they’ve referred.3

- While it could be tempting to quickly hire a good referral, you may be overlooking a more qualified candidate you would have found through usual recruitment methods. Spend some time going through candidate applications in the traditional channels as well, as you might find someone more suitable there.3

That said, you should be taking all factors into account when deciding whether to implement an ERP, and continuously review your programme by listening to your employees’ views. By implementing this initiative at Impellam, we believe that it provides another way for our people to help us fulfil our vision of becoming the world’s most trusted staffing company, and also helps us help our customers build better businesses in a changing world.

Notes
1   TalentLyft: talentlyft.com
2   Harvard Business Review
3   Social Talent: socialtalent.com

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