Shane’s tenacious spirit and exceptional worth ethic solidify him as an international leader in the Talent Acquisition world.
Knowledgeable, Innovative, and Visionary - Shane is One in a Million
He implements and manages the global in-house recruitment with a clear focus on sourcing, selection & service. He is directly responsible for all hires from interns to ‘GM level’ appointments and spearheads the development, mentoring and growth of a passionate, talented global recruitment team plus strategic initiatives including employer branding, internal mobility, and in-house executive search. He’s a remarkable resource and you can find him on Twitter @shanehicksuk for more of his talent leadership wisdom or be inspired by his incredible photography on his Instagram @shanehicks.
1. What are the most important components of a good referral program?
I think it’s a number of things. For me, it’s the UI and UX is really important. It has to look and feel intuitive from a user perspective. One of the reasons that we made the change from using our standard ATS functionality to a dedicated referral platform was that it was just so difficult to use. And, let’s be frank, it was really ugly as well. First of all, an intuitive UI and the ability to share and socialize and evangelize jobs to your social networks as part of the tool is crucial as well and turning our employees to brand social evangelists and actually turning our in this case 3,800 employees into 3,800 recruiters. Social sharing and intuitive UI. Integration with the ATS is also very important.
2. What are the main challenges you’ve seen companies face when looking to increase their % of hires through referrals?
It’s a good question, the reward balance is really important. We’ve learned this the hard way. We started with a very standardized reward methodology that was consistent across the globe. But of course, as we know, there are certain regions in the world where a large dollar amount referral bonus is incredibly attractive versus reasonably attractive. Ironically, on paper that seems like a really positive thing, right? We are going to be paying a large amount for a referral in India or Mexico, for example of two regions that are known for being low-cost regions, the downside is that distorts the true value of a referral platform. We have people in Mexico that were potentially earning as much through the referral bonuses as their annual salary and that was making them do some strange things like going out and almost on street corners signing people. Employees were getting emotional when their candidates weren’t hired. Getting the balance right for rewards is really important.
3. How are referred candidates perceived by hiring managers at companies you’ve worked at?
We’ve actually got a lot of data and a lot of PR around this. We know from our data, that referred candidates perform better and stay longer on average than non-referred candidates. We make a big deal of that. It’s part of our PR internally and it’s on the posters that we use to drive people to RolePoint. Without actually asking that question specifically to all hiring managers, the answer is that they are perceived to be of higher value than a non-referred candidate. Internal candidates are number one and referred candidates are number two.
4. How have you marketed referral programs to create internal visibility?
This is a good point. My artistic side comes out on stuff like this. There are some amazing desktop publishing tools out there at the moment. I will put our poster campaign together that is edgy, innovative, with graphics. One campaign we used which was showing the roots of the tree and it was all about growing the next oak tree. We also try and visualize what the referral reward will be. The message is 'think about what referring a friend can get you in the real world', in much more tangible terms. Every rest area and coffee stop will have a RolePoint poster.
5. Have you seen a positive impact on retention from referred candidates and on the employees doing the referring?
Yes, and I haven’t analyzed the latter part of the question. You have to assume that if you are referring you are engaged. I hope that would be the case. The referred candidates have a longer tenure than average than non-referred candidates.
6. Outside of the direct value of filling requisitions, have you experienced any other benefits of a strong referrals program?
I think it’s starting to be expected if I’m being honest. Most medium to large companies, especially in tech, as an employee coming in, you would expect to have an employee referrals program in place. Certainly, with RolePoint, it is a lot easier to refer and share.
7. What level of employee referral cash bonuses have you rewarded in the past?
We have seven layers going from $100 to $5,000. Typically, it’s $1500 USD for a normal hire but we have different levels and different regions now and have it based around the roles that they are recruiting into. One of the benefits of using RolePoint is having the multi-tiered rewards recognition as well.
8. What referral probation periods have you seen associated with cash rewards?
We went with 0 days to start with, and we did that for about 4 years. It served us well. I still maintain that the benefit of an employee seeing an instant reward outweighs the very small percentage of times when someone leaves within a couple of months of starting. But, we did get called out a couple times and it did get raised to our CFO. We have made a change now where it is paid out after 3 months. India is the only exception to that, where we have two separate payments, one at 3 months and one at 12 months. Generally, everything is paid out after 3 months.
9. Were any of your referral programs gamified with leaderboards of top referrers or competitions?
Yes, so again it links nicely in the RolePoint functionality and we can see very clearly who our top performers are. At the end of each quarter, the top 3 get put into a corporate recognition program and ultimately it could lead to a vacation.
10. Have you ever performed any offline referral advertising (e.g. posters, lunches, recruiter 1 on 1s with employees)?
Yes, we do with posters and we also will do a referral session with employees and we get a pizza and they log on to their LinkedIn Networks and we help them find people in their networks that we think would be a good hire for Epicor and help them push those through the RolePoint platform, that’s worked really well.
11. Have you asked for referrals as part of the new onboarding process?
Great point. We certainly recognize that somebody within 0-2 months is really important that we get into their network quickly. In India, we did that, we will try and get their referrals before they join and with the promise of paying them once they’ve started. It’s really important we have a payment process in place and the moment they join Epicor they get the e-mail from RolePoint and they’re connected to the platform and we push them hard to get their referrals, that’s really important.
This is truly valuable information from an international perspective for recruiting top talent with employee referrals. My three key takeaways are:
Takeaway #1: The Referrals Platform needs to have an intuitive UI and the ability to share, socialize, and evangelize jobs to your social networks to assist employees to become brand social evangelists. If your process is too difficult, it will not work.
Takeaway #2: Data proves referred candidates perform better and stay longer on average than non-referred candidates. A referral program is the best way to ensure top talent is hired and retained.
Takeaway #3: Multi-tiered rewards, gamified leaderboards, and shorter reward probation periods all make for an organized and engaging platform. Advanced technicalities provide the information, motivation, and recognition that instill the positive referral culture.
How does your company’s employee referral program compare? What did you like best that Shane shared on his experience?
Let us know your thoughts and share the article with your talent acquisition colleagues.
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Alessandra Williams