(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by iCIMS, a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses. Last week, iCIMS acquired its former partner, social recruiting solution provider, Jobmagic. Prior to the acquisition, Jobmagic’s advanced social media tools had powered iCIMS’ Social Distribution solution, allowing customers to quickly and easily promote job openings on over 300 social media sites.)
Whenever times get tough, I hear two phrases at work. The first is “Everyone is a part of the sales team.” And the other is “Everyone’s a part of the recruiting team.” While the unemployment numbers are still a concern, there’s a growing conversation about skills. Employers are becoming very vocal about the fact that they have jobs. What they don’t have are skilled candidates to fill them.
This is how the War for Talent starts – challenges filling jobs.
In my experience, no matter what kind of recruiting strategy you employ to fill open positions, at some point the company will have a discussion about the employee referral program. At which time a senior executive usually says, “Whaddya mean employee referral program? Everyone’s a part of the recruiting team here!”
That’s why it’s essential to have an employee referral program without making it look like a “program”. Before you say “What the….?!?!” let me elaborate – the employee referral program needs to be so integrated into the recruitment process that it doesn’t look like a separate program. It just needs to effortlessly be a part of what happens. Otherwise, the efficiencies never really materialize.
If by chance, you don’t have an employee referral program, let’s quickly review a few reasons why you should:
- It’s the most cost efficient source of finding quality talent.
- The program increases offer acceptance rates because referred employees tend to have a connection to the organization.
- Employee engagement increases because the entire workforce is encouraged to participate.
- And lastly, did I mention it’s the most cost effective way to find qualified candidates?
Years ago, employee referral programs were a shining symbol of human resources bureaucracy. People complaining they didn’t know about open positions to tell their friends. Employees requesting and filling out forms. And HR tracking forms for payroll submission. Today, organizations have the ability to leverage technology and take their employee referral programs to the next level. No more tracking and completing forms!
As a human resources professional, I’ve always felt simplicity was key in the recruiting process. Applicants need to feel it’s easy to apply with the company. Candidates should feel the company is prepared and consistent in their process. It’s equally important that employees are able to quickly recommend great employees.
I don’t like to admit this but I’ve had employees complain they didn’t know job openings existed. It didn’t matter that we posted all job openings at every employee entrance and next to every time clock. We also listed them in every newsletter. Managers mentioned open positions during their daily shift meetings. Our payout bonuses were in the thousands of dollars. Employees would still stop by HR and tell me if they had known about the opening, they had the perfect candidate for the job.
The managers and I were totally frustrated by this. We kept saying to ourselves…but we told them! Now, the process of getting the word out about open positions is much easier thanks to social networking. With iCIMS Social Distribution tool, companies can make sure their openings are everywhere. This includes on their career site along with social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know our employees are using these social sites. By using tools like Social Distribution, we enhance the employee referral engine because employees can forward openings with a single key-stroke to their friends.
When you have a great company with terrific employees, why not get them to sell their friends on coming to work for you? Forgive me for getting on a bit of a soapbox here. But I’m serious. We shouldn’t make it cumbersome for employees to tell us about great candidates.
So, when my company’s top sales person knows someone who would be fantastic in the sales department, I’m not going to make them fill out a bunch of forms. Back in the day, I filled out the forms for them. Why? Because they made my life easier – they found me a great candidate at a lower cost per hire. Today, I don’t need to do that. Because iCIMS has built an employee referral feature into their Talent Platform.
iCIMS employee referral capabilities allow all referrals to be stored in the Talent Platform. The data is available real-time (no more stacks of papers to sort through). The reporting feature allows companies to not only understand the number of referrals made but also run an analysis of referral sources and the quality of those referrals. Great info to know when you’re trying to sell senior leadership on the referral bonus structure.
If you’re looking to implement or upgrade your employee referral program, be sure to check out what iCIMS has to offer. You can learn more on their website, visiting their blog, liking them on Facebook or following iCIMS on Twitter. And they will be at the upcoming HR Technology Conference in Chicago – stop by their booth 401 and let them know HR Bartender sent you!