How to start a top notch employee referral program?


Employee referral programs (ERPs) are gaining importance by the companies across sector especially in IT. Almost 30 to50 percent of the hires are recruited from this channel by the IT MNCs. It has been observed in many surveys that use of ERPs lead substantial increase in the quality of the hired candidate. They perform better than candidates recruited through other recruitment channels and have far better retention rate. The recruitment process gets faster and leads to decrease in the hiring expenditure. Hence, it makes sense to initiate and optimize the employee referral programs by the companies.

Creating an employee referral program entails more than setting up policies and back end process. The ERP needs to be marketed well among the employees. Employees are the backbone of ERP. They are people responsible for bringing in quality referrals. So, how does one start the process of setting up top notch employee referral program?

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The ERP to be implemented should be given a catchy name and a tagline so that the employee gets to connect with the program. The inherent message should underscore the benefits to the employees, company and the yet to be hired candidates. It should also speak about the enhanced employee experience.

Clarity over the skill requirement of the hires is very essential to weed out unsuitable candidate. They should not go ahead with hiring just because one of your top employees has referred the person. The HR should meet the project manager of the concerned vertical to get the projected requirement. They should also consult the operation manager and the sales manager for getting the specific skill set required. As they are the people directly handling the project and working with the new hire. It will lead to setting up a quality team for the project. Try to find out the exact skill set for hiring. For example, your pre-sales guy or the account manage might be saying that they need resource with JDA skill set but the HR might not be knowing whether it is for Manugistics, Intactix or Red Prairie. So the HR should first clarify on the exact skill set and then only open the requisition for hiring. It will be nice to involve people with JDA skill set to refer JDA profiles as they will know exactly about the niche area.

The internal budget for the recruitment should be discussed and should be sent to the accounts department for approval.

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The details of the job opening should be shared with the employees for immediate action. Timeline should also be fixed in case there is any urgency in getting the project started quickly. The HR should get in touch with the most resourceful employees and also the employees who are already on board of the project. Spreading information regarding the project and hiring to be done pulls in people who show more interest in joining via word of mouth. Employee participation in the ERP should encouraged by declaring good incentives and bonus. Joining bonus and niche skill incentives can also be declared for the hires if the project is very important and requires special skills.

One of the problems faced by the ERP is the use of internal portal. If the process to be followed is cumbersome, it will discourage employee from sharing the resume of their candidate. The portal should have smooth flow of the procedure to be followed and the employee should be given special training to handle the portal effectively. It gets very easier for them to track their uploaded resume status. Many companies lose quality resume due to improper follow ups in the portal. The portal becomes the first level of recruitment process. The resumes could be shortlisted and send for background verification by the HR. it increases the pace of the hiring process.

One the preliminary checks have been completed, the selected resume should be sent to the hiring manager. It should also be shared with the project and sales manager. Scheduling timely interview is also very crucial element in the ERP. Delaying the interview process can lead to suitable candidates getting hired by other companies. People who are looking for job do not like to wait for longer duration and join the company whose offer they receive first, even if they have to compromise on salary to an extent. Many times, employees on the bench are given the responsibility of conducting interview to save valuable time of the concerned hiring manager, project manager and sales manager. Many a time it gets difficult for all the concerned people to get together for interview at the same time. The HR should ensure that such responsibility to be given to those people on the bench who are aware of the skills required and heave the k knowledge of the same. Good candidates get rejected often due to lack of knowledge of the interviewer.

Once the candidate has been selected, the HR should not delay in giving the offer letter and give the employee who has referred, the responsibility of getting him to join as soon as possible. In case there is delay in the project, the HR should encourage creating bonding outside the office premise by regularly meeting casually outside for coffee or dinner. The HR can get small budget sanctioned for such activities.

A successful company does not let a good candidate get away.


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