Looking to cut both your recruiting costs and employee turnover? Maybe you should tap the folks who already make your company work -- your employees.

At Integrated Microcomputer Systems Inc., a $20-million software development company in Rockville, Md., about 60% of its 400 workers have been hired through an employee referral program. The company's turnover rate is only 3%.

All jobs are posted at the company's seven client sites, and employees make referrals by filling out a standard form and attaching the applicant's résumé. If the applicant is hired and remains on board at least four months, the referring worker gets a bonus -- from $300 (for administrative jobs) to $800 (for technical positions). The bonus for filling senior or skilled positions has been as generous as $1,000 and a personal computer.

Personnel specialist Tammy Besser says the program has made for a better work atmosphere. "People recommend people they want to work with, people they trust. Good employees tend to recommend people with similar characteristics." Relatives are especially welcome, as company president John Yeh's example attests. To date, he's hired three of his brothers, one sister, and two sisters-in-law.