Published on February 27, 2014
EMPLOYEE REFERRALS Highlighting the 10 advanced approaches with the most impact ERE.Net Webinar - February 27, 2014 © Dr John Sullivan www.drjohnsullivan.com 1
4 topic areas for today I. Shifting the “ownership” of referrals to managers & employees II. Providing tips, examples and stories to improve referral quality III. Prioritize and focus in order to maximize your business impact IV. Advanced administrative actions 2
If you are listening to the live version of this webinar… Please submit questions at any time 3
Part I Shifting the “ownership” of referrals to managers and employees (1-2) 4
Action #1 – Let’s start with hiring managers Why shifting ownership to managers is important Hiring managers suffer – they suffer if they get weak hires so they must learn to want more control Managers have the most influence – they have great influence because managers see employees face-to-face every day and they also impact rewards, assessment and assignments (vs. centralized HR) Managers likely know which employees have the best contacts - so the manager can proactively approach them for names or… assign them to a particular prospect … 5
Shifting the “ownership” to hiring managers Why shifting ownership to managers is so critical Managers are continually coaching – because managers are continually coaching employees, it is easy for them to give “how to make quality referrals” advice to the ones that need it They know motivators - managers know how to motivate individual employees to make referrals Managers control the meeting agendas – because managers own the agenda… they can bring up referrals needs at regularly scheduled meetings 6
Shifting the “ownership” to hiring managers 7 action steps for shifting ownership to managers 1. Identify arguments that work – work with a small group of managers to identify the best arguments that convincingly “sell them” on the value of referrals (pre-test those arguments). Those arguments generally include quality of hire, retention, hiring speed, cost and volume 7
Shifting the “ownership” to hiring managers 7 action steps for shifting ownership to managers 2.Quantify the $ impact - since many managers are money driven, you must quantify (in $) the positive impact that quality referrals will have on reaching their individual business results, personal goals and bonuses Also show how quality referral hires can make their job easier (i.e. less work on hiring, retention, discipline etc.) 8
Shifting the “ownership” to hiring managers 7 action steps for shifting ownership to managers 3. Make referrals part of their assessment criteria – work within the HR group to make sure that the volume and quality of referrals becomes part of an individual managers… bonus criteria, their performance appraisal and promotion criteria 4. Provide managers with employee referral data – if you expect managers to know where help is needed… you must provide them with data that identifies the volume, the quality and the referral success rate for each employee 9
Shifting the “ownership” to hiring managers 7 action steps for shifting ownership to managers 5. Establish referral targets for managers – managers and teams produce a higher percentage of referrals when they are provided with specific numerical referral targets or quarterly goals. Rewards for reaching goals can also be powerful 6. Track results by manager – track and report to all (in a ranked report) the results of each individual manager … because it will stimulate them to avoid “looking bad”, compared to others 7. Hold competitions – periodically hold friendly competitions within and between business units to 10 excite competitive managers and employees
Advanced referral action Action #2 – Getting employees to “co-own” referrals 11
Shifting the “ownership” to employees Why shifting ownership to employees is important A helping the team approach produces superior results – rather than attractive rewards…a “hiring for the team” approach produces better results… because employees realize that weak referrals negatively impact their coworkers and their team’s performance Ownership means you pay more attention – both employees and managers will simply pay more attention to anything that that they feel that they “own” (like a rental car) 12
Shifting the “ownership” to employees Why shifting ownership to employees is so critical Most assume that recruiters do it better – both employees and managers often feel that recruiters can “do it better”… even though with the spread of social media… employees can do the same or a better job at recruiting Employees know their own contacts – individual employees are much more likely to know… if they have a contact… and how to best approach that individual about becoming a referral 13
Shifting the “ownership” to employees 4 action steps for shifting ownership to employees 1.Develop convincing “do your part” arguments – develop arguments that successfully convince individual employees how their referrals “help the team” (improved team performance, better coworkers to learn from, better new hire “fit” & filling vacancies faster) 2.Announce successes – at team meetings have individual managers announce new hires that came from referrals and at year-end, show the impact that that year’s referrals had on team results 14
Shifting the “ownership” to employees 4 action steps for shifting ownership to employees 3. Identify top referrers – managers should celebrate which employees made the best referrals… so that others can use them as a helping resource 4. Hold “thank you events” - have at least one annual “thank you for referring event” sponsored by the CEO (or the local senior executive) where only employees that have made successful referrals are invited 15
Part II Providing tips, examples and stories to employees in order to improve referral quality (3-4) 16
Advanced referral action Action #3 – Provide employees with a referral toolkit… full of tips, answers and ideas 17
Providing tips, advice and examples 3 key points for educating and helping employees to improve their referral capabilities 1. Realize that most don’t know how – many executives assume that employees automatically know how to identify and build relationships with talent prospects… more than 50% need education 2. A referral toolkit is needed – a “toolkit” (based on data) is the best approach because it allows the employee to pick and choose the referral approaches they are most comfortable with 18
Providing tips, advice and examples 3. Contents of the referral toolkit Getting started steps – work with a group of employees that have recently learned to make great referrals… to put together a list of recommended 1st steps… and errors for the beginner to avoid A list of the best Internet/social media sites – because a large number of referrals come via social media and the Internet… provide a list of the sites that your employees have found to be the most effective… for each major job family 19
Providing tips, advice and examples Contents of the referral toolkit Templates and sample profiles – provide employees with “fill in the blank” templates and samples of weak and excellent profiles for LinkedIn and Facebook Sample blogs – because employee blogs can be effective in getting top talent to “contact you”… provide employees with sample blogs and a list of key topics that are likely to attract attention 20
Providing tips, advice and examples Contents of the referral toolkit Meeting people at events – provide employees with tips on where and how to approach people at professional events… as well as a list of the most effective events for getting referrals A company “sell sheet” – include a sheet that lists all of the positive factors that have attracted previous applicants to your firm… and counter arguments covering any negative factors 21
Providing tips, advice and examples Contents of the referral toolkit How to recruit diverse individuals – start by examining previous successes and failures and use what you’ve learned to provide advice on the best ways to recruit diverse individuals Additional help sources – provide employees with a list of internal and external referral help sources… also include a list of “referral champions” that have agreed to give advice FAQ’s – compile a list of common employee referral questions (with answers) An example > 22
Great referrals require employee education Source: Whirlpool 23
Advanced referral action Action #4 – Provide employees with access to a story inventory 24
Providing access to company stories Why a story inventory Don’t skip this step – because stories that cover how the firm manages turn out to be the #1 selling tool… providing a story inventory has the highest impact of any single advanced feature What is a story inventory? – it is a categorized list of short stories and examples that illustrate what makes a company a top place to work. It should be available to recruiters, managers and employees 25
Providing access to company stories Contents of a story inventory can include… Exciting management/ HR best practices Stories that illustrate your firm’s culture / values Examples of where the little guy makes it big Exciting products and their impacts Employee innovation stories Exciting or unusual benefits and facility features Examples of how you practice diversity Examples of how your great managers act Employee success stories and profiles 26 What makes work here fun 3 examples >
Google’s story inventory A story inventory for recruiters and employees 27
Zappos used a story book Zappos published an annual book full of 300+ employee written stories about what it’s like to work there (Available on Amazon) Their CEO also wrote a book… Delivering happiness 28
How Microsoft generates stories Microsoft “Spreadthelove” internal website Their “Spreadthelove” website allows Microsoft employees to "write up" their own individual story about their career with Microsoft (their story might include pictures, testimonials and video) Employees can then share the web link and "spread the love" with targeted friends, family and potential referrals 29
Part III Prioritize and focus in order to get referrals with the highest business impact (5-6) 30
Advanced referral action Action #5 – Prioritize and focus referral efforts on high-impact jobs, individuals and sources 31
Prioritizing to maximize your impact Allow and prioritize referrals for these 7 high priority job categories 1. Mission critical jobs 2. Revenue generating jobs 3. Jobs where product innovation occurs 4. Jobs with high past referral success rates 5. Hard to fill jobs 6. Executive jobs 7. “Sudden vacancies” in key positions 32
Prioritizing to maximize your impact Allow and prioritize referrals for these 3 categories of high-impact individuals 1. Innovators within your industry 2. Employees that work at key competitor firms 3. Diverse individuals in exempt positions (improve diversity referral success by mentioning that diversity is a target, by providing diversity referral tips and by offering additional rewards for diverse hires) 33
Prioritizing to maximize your impact Allow and prioritize referrals for these 6 most effective sources 1.Referrals generated by top performers at your firm 2.Referrals from employees with past referral successes 3.Boomerang rehires 4.New hire referrals during onboarding 5. “Give me 5” proactive referrals 6.Referrals from top job references 34
Be careful Homer will refer people also So weight referrals based on the employee’s referral track record 35
Advanced referral action Action #6 – Focus on referrals where the employee has fully assessed them and when they “know their work” 36
Focus on fully assessed referrals Realize that the weakest referrals are when an “unknown” requests to be an immediate referral As many as 70% of referrals at top firms were not discovered and were barely known by the employee This lack of complete assessment and “direct knowledge of their work” means that these “they found me” referrals have little probability of success Give the highest priority only to “fully assessed” referrals… this can prevent them from clogging 37 your system (some eliminate them) >
Prioritize referrals that have this information Require the following 6 pieces of information 1. The job title or req # you are referring them for 2. Show you know and have assessed their work 3. Assess, rate and then tell us about their skills and knowledge… and how they are superior 4. Assess, rate and then tell us about their cultural fit… so they do not dilute our culture 5. Assure us that you have sold them to the point where they will accept an interview, if asked 6. Honestly rate them with an overall A+, A, or B+ 38
Part IV 4 Advanced administrative actions (7-10) 39
Consider these administrative actions to dramatically improve your referral results Action #7 - Develop a referral talent community 1. Realize that some top referral candidates are missed – some exceptional referrals are rejected due to intense competition, a lack of team fit… while others drop-out before an offer can be made 2. Keep top rejected referrals alive using a talent community – you can minimize frustrating this top talent by… showing your interest and keeping in touch… by making them members of your “referral talent community” > 40
Consider these administrative actions Develop a referral talent community 3. Keep in touch with them – set up an invitation only online community (Facebook/LinkedIn) where you show your continuing interest in them by sending them periodic information on your firm and by… “pushing relevant jobs” to them 4. Prioritize them for future jobs – because they have already proven that they are superior candidates, develop a process that “tags them” for priority consideration for future openings 41
Consider these administrative actions Action #8 – Designate referral recruiters 1. Realize that referrals are sometimes ignored by recruiters – some referrals languish in the system because recruiters prefer to “own” the entire endto-end recruiting process 2. Assign a recruiter to handle referrals - because responsiveness is the #1 factor in referral program success… designate at least one recruiter to take ownership of referrals. With experience, this referral focus will teach them how to best handle, assess and expedite referrals 42
Consider these administrative actions Action #9 – Allow for mobile phone submissions 1.Employees have gone mobile - because the mobile platform is now so dominant… your process must allow employees to complete a referral directly from their mobile phone 2.Prospects have also gone mobile – for the same reason… if your process requires referees to apply… they must be able to do it from their mobile phone. Obviously the system must “tag” referrals… so they can be identified as referrals 43
Consider these administrative actions Action #10 – Expand referral eligibility 1. Don’t exclude managers and HR – because they know and frequently meet top talent… expand eligibility to include all classes of employees and managers… (if there is a conflict of interest, allow them to forgo any rewards or to give them to charity) 2. Include college referrals – college students are even better connected than the general population… so allow interns and recent college hires to refer top college students 44
Consider these 4 administrative actions Action #10 – Expand referral eligibility 3. Include nonemployee referrals – because parttimers, seasonal workers, contractors, consultants and even vendors know and care about your firm… allow them to make referrals also 45
Did I succeed in giving you a handful of useful advanced referral ideas? Any final questions ? JohnS@sfsu.edu 46
ERE Webinar -- Employee Referrals: Advanced Approaches - by Dr. John Sullivan, sponsored by Zao.com. Have a sluggish employee referral program?
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