Subject: Employee Referral Programs—Win-Win for Employees, HR

In yesterday’s Advisor, we covered ROI and best practices for employee referral programs. Today, more on making such programs successful, and an introduction to the unique one-stop HR solutions center,

Today’s tips come from human capital solutions company CareerBuilder® and it’s recent publication, Referral Madness—How Employee referral Programs Turn Good Employees into Great Recruiters and Grow Your Bottom Line. Here are CareerBuilder’s tips for keeping employees involved in the program:

Communicate with employees about the program. Regularly encourage employees to make referrals, starting as early as the onboarding process, says CareerBuilder. Get in front of them often and present a clear message of how your employee referral system works, why they are an integral part of its success, and what’s in it for them.

Show them the jobs. Make it easy for employees to keep your job listings top of mind by putting the message out about what’s available on a regular and frequent basis.

Give employees status updates. Employees regularly cite frustration with the lack of follow-up on the status of their referrals, CareerBuilder says. It’s important to let both the referred candidate and the employee know where things stand throughout the process. Not getting back to a potential candidate reflects poorly on your company and your employment brand, and shows a lack of respect for your employees and their contacts.

Make it meaningful to them. Make sure your employees understand not only how the program works, but why you have it in place and how their individual participation is particularly valuable.

Help them help you. Don’t make your employees go it alone—train them to be better networkers. Educate employees on soft skills like how to identify valuable contacts, make solid introductions, establish mutually beneficial dialogues, and determine if and when they should consider referring someone to your organization.

Get leaders on board. Show top management figures about how your employee referral program works, and more importantly, how it affects your company’s bottom line.

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Measurement and Assessment

As with any business initiative, it is crucial that you create metrics that enable you to measure the success of your employee referral program to ensure the best return on your investment.

Set a goal. If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, how do you know if your program is working, and worth the time and effort you have put into it?

Assess your program regularly. Develop a system to track your progress to see if you are meeting your goals or need to change some things, CareerBuilder says. Ask:

  • What percentage of hires come from referrals?
  • What is the turnover rate of referred hires?
  • How does a referred hire’s on-the-job performance compare to that of hires obtained through other sources?
  • How easily can employees refer someone, and how quickly do they receive feedback and their reward?
  • How quickly does the process work from point of referral to point of hire?
  • How many employees participate? Has participation gone up or down significantly since you last assessed your employee referral program?
  • How much money do you spend on hires acquired through your employee referral program? How does this number compare to cost-per-hire from other sources?

Recruitment and retention, two major HR priorities to be sure, and increasingly difficult, what with changes in the laws, stretched budgets, over-worked people. Of course, recruitment and retention are just two of what, a couple of dozen recurring HR challenges? What about new COBRA rules, FMLA intermittent leave, overtime, ADA accommodation, and sexual harassment, to name just a few?

You need a go-to resource, and our editors recommend the “everything HR in one website,” As an example of what you will find, here are some policy recommendations concerning e-mail, excerpted from a sample policy on the website:

Privacy. The director of information services can override any individual password and thus has access to all e-mail messages in order to ensure compliance with company policy. This means that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in their company e-mail or any other information stored or accessed on company computers.

E-mail review. All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the e-mail system grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system in printed form or in any other medium.

Solicitation. In line with our general nonsolicitation policy, e-mail must not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the company’s business.

We should point out that this is just one of hundreds of sample policies on the site. (You’ll also find analysis of laws and issues, job descriptions, and complete training materials for hundreds of HR topics.)

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