How do you get top performers flocking to your company?
Salary? Sure, that helps. But A-players care about more than money. Perks? A fancy gourmet cafeteria is nice, but not exactly that uncommon these days. Your company brand or reputation? Good, but unless you're Google, Facebook, or a well-established company, it's not as important as you think.
Most companies try to do one of the three things to attract talent to their company.
The truth is that there's a fourth--and much more effective--method of doing so.
In other words, forget hefty salaries and 'cool' perks. The secret to attracting a team of A-players is right under your nose: Get your top performers to refer new employees to you.
With this method, I've been hiring superstar employees for my company for the last seven years. It all started when I hired Rob, a veteran technician who quickly became my right hand man. Rob is one of my top performers who handles everything from mentoring new hires to training sales teams.
With Rob bringing so much to the company, it was obvious that having him join our team was a smart move. But then I realized that his contributions don't just stop at the work he does within the company.
They also include his influence over his professional and personal networks. Rob's presence has attracted top talent away from one of our biggest competitors and to our company. Thanks to Rob's referral, another extremely capable technician joined us--and he's been performing amazingly well.
What are the benefits of implementing a referral program? For one, this mobilizes your entire staff, turning them into recruiters for your company. It also helps attract better and more qualified prospects--your existing employees wouldn't want to risk recommending someone who's not up to par, because their own reputation is also at stake.
Ultimately, it makes your company more profit: A study analyzing 25,000 employees showed that referred employees create a 25 percent higher profit than those from other hiring sources.
To create your own employee program, here are three key tips:
1. Work with your employees as true partners.
Your employees are your best ambassadors. Do everything you can to make sure they feel empowered every step along the way, so that they can make the best referral possible.
The key is to let them know that their opinion matters--especially when it comes to choosing who gets to work with them or not. Communicate your expectations and timelines clearly to your employees, including updating them on who you need to hire and who you hired, That way, they won't be wasting time trying to recruit for a position that has just been taken.
Also, immediately acknowledge any referral that your employees made. Let your employees know when human resources will get back to all referred candidates, be it three days, a week, or a fortnight, so that your employees won't feel discouraged if their referred candidates aren't contacted immediately.
2. Turn referral rewards into ad billboards.
In order to make it worth your employees' while, incentivize your referral program in creative ways. What I recommend doing is show your referral reward just like a physical ad.
This makes the reward look a lot more concrete, and it provides that extra push for your employees to take action. If you're offering cash, turn it into a big mock check and put it in your office. If you're giving out a gift, print stickers of its image and stick them on your employees' desks.
For example, InMobi, an India-based technology unicorn, once offered a chance to win a motorbike to any employee who successfully referred an important role. The company bought a new motorbike and parked it in the front of their corporate headquarters. Every employee saw the motorbike as they walked into work, ensuring the company's employee referral program was always top-of-mind.
3. Track and measure the results.
Your referral program needs to generate the right return. Make sure you have the data to improve and refine your referral scheme.
Pay attention at the percentages of referred candidates who get hired, the quality of these hires, and the level of employee participation. Make sure your referral scheme really does make sense for your company.
Referral programs are a great way of attracting the brightest talent. And the best part is, once you've come up with a structure and process that works, you can just sit back and let your employees do the rest.
I wouldn't have been able to grow my company to the size it is today without all my superstar employees who have been referred to me. With the right implementation and tracking, your referral program will help you bring your company to greater heights, too.