If you are a HR or an employer, you probably knew the importance of employee referral program. In a time where companies are prioritizing cost cutting measure, an effective referral program can be a cost-effective source of high-quality hire. According to Harvard Business Review, referrals contribute 70% more good hires than non-referrals.
The question now is how do you build an effective referral program? This is important consideration given that healthcare organizations around the world are facing intense competition within their countries and beyond. For many countries, the demand for healthcare workers far exceeds the supply of it.
In this article, I will share with you 5 tips on how to improve your existing employee referral program. Even if your organization currently do not have any referral program in place, this information can help to form the structure of your initiative.
Point 1 – The Power of Visibility
As a HR practitioner, information about the company referral program is probably stored in a well camouflaged folder within the HR department shared drive. While this information may be accessible by most HR folks in your organization, it’s easy to assume that colleagues from other departments are aware of it.
If the HR or talent acquisition team aren’t actively promoting the employee referral program to the rest of employees, chances are that nobody would care about it. After all, employees these days has limited attention span, and are busy with their own work. No matter how good an idea is, if nobody knows about it, it isn’t going to work!
Tip: Make a point to share about the employee referral program once a month, whether it is via internal newsletter, notice board, email or company meeting. While most HR do not have the habit of selling, this can have a profound impact on the success of the referral program. Just do it!
Point 2 – No Money, No Manuka Honey!
I have known of at least 3 organizations that does not offer any incentive for the employee referral program. If you are in an industry that faced an overwhelming competition for skilled labour, then employee referral is a no longer an option. I believe healthcare industry falls under this category.
It’s important for HR practitioners to be aware if their employees find the referral program attractive. If your company is offering $500 - $1,000 for each successful referral, yet no one is taking it up, it’s a tell-tale sign. One way is to ask your employees about it, nothing beats hearing it from the horse’s mouth.
Tip: Offering an attractive incentive is half the battle won. It can be in the form of monetary reward, paid leave or even paid holiday trip. E.g. 5 days 4 nights trip in Thailand or 3 days cruise. Ask your employees what they want! Don’t guess. Meanwhile check out these 7 employee referral program examples.
Point 3 – Clarity Breeds Success!
Do your employees know who they should go to or what they should do if they have a referral in mind? It’s best not to assume since most employees tend to be clueless about it. By providing clear information, this will empower your employees to be more pro-active about referring candidates for your healthcare jobs.
Common questions about the employee referral program:
1. How much is the referral amount and in which currency? (Applicable to organization with overseas presence)
2. Do I email my referral resume to the HR or submit it to a HRIS system/ career portal?
3. When will I receive the payment upon successful referral?
4. How do I know if my referral is successful in the job application?
Point 4 – Measure, Tweak, Iterate
Use the data that you have collected from your recruitment activities, analyse, and improve it. For example, you can always compare the percentage of new hires that come from referral source, compared to other sources. Then you can strategize accordingly. Or perhaps you can look into department/ business unit that has the highest success in generating referral or conversion rate and evaluate the reasons for its success. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and continuously refine your program for maximum impact.
Tip: If you are using an advance HRIS (Human Resource Information System) or ATS (Applicant Tracking System), pulling out such information should be a breeze. The reward for using this information and enhancing your employee program can be substantial. You can learn more about HR Analytics in this article written by HiBob.
Point 5 – Hygiene Factor Matters too!
I am not referring to the level of hygiene in your organization washroom, although this can potentially be a contributing factor. Lol. If your company employees aren’t enjoying their work environment, high likelihood they will not refer their friends/ network to you. Make a point to regularly engage the employee and inquire about their well-being. Be genuinely concern and help to improve the work environment whenever possible.
Tip: If the work environment is tense and unhealthy, then the employee referral program will probably not work well. In this case, it’s better to use a job portal or employment agencies.
Questions to ask:
1. Does your employee laugh or share light moment together? Do they seem like they are enjoying each other company?
2. Do they do have those tense plastic smile out of courtesy or a genuine smile with a crow foot under their eyelids?
3. Do the staff help one another?
Concurrently if your organization is presently going through the following scenarios, then it makes sense to adopt other form of recruitment channels.
1. Your organization is presently going through retrenchment or restructuring. Given that there is a great deal of uncertainty, employees might not be comfortable in recommending their referral.
2. If your organization is small or operate in a niche field, then there is a high possibility that your employees’ network might not provide a significant pool of qualified candidates. In this case, traditional means such as job portal, career page or employee agencies might be a better bet.
3. If your organization has a culture of favouritism or clique forming, the referral program might hamper the objectivity of the recruitment process. HR might be under pressure to hire a particular referred candidate, even though that candidate might not be suitable for the role.
4. If your organization is having a high employee turnover rate. This maybe an indicator that there are internal issues to be resolve before deploying the employee referral program. Learn 5 effective ways on how to reduce employee turnover.
In a nutshell, employee referral program is one of the few ways for an organization to attract qualified healthcare workers. If it’s implemented well, it can have a positive impact on the quality of talent pool while boosting the morale of your existing program.
Read Next Article: 7 Signs You Need To Overhaul Your Talent Acquisition Strategy Now!
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