Who Do You Know? Employee Referral Programs Go Online

by Traci K and BrightMove Applicant Tracking and Recruiting Software

While top-tier recruiters are constantly in search of the next best tactic for sourcing candidates, there are certain methods that stand the test of time. Employee referrals have long been a favorite of hiring managers as probability shows us good employees are typically friends with other good employees. With the convenience that web-based programs provide and the advent of social networking, it only makes sense that the Employee Referral Process (ERP) would make its way online.

Online ERPs vary as widely as applicant tracking systems, from low- to high-maintenance and from lesser to more expensive. It all depends on the features and functionality of the referral program. For smaller corporations, this solution may not be the most cost effective, especially if employees are on-site and available to speak with in-person. Larger corporations with enough employees for which manually administering such a process is not likely to be effective, will appreciate the ease-of-use online ERPs provide.

Tenet Health, a nationwide healthcare corporation, has been using an ERP site developed by TMP Worldwide since 2007. Tenet stated that only 23% of hard-to-fill positions had been staffed through employee referrals before launching their new ERP. Within the first year of implementation, 70% of hard-to-fill positions were being filled in this manner.

When selecting the right ERP for your organization, be sure you are asking the right questions and evaluating correctly for the needs of your company. The following checklist is provided to assist you:

  • How many users/administrators are allowed and what type of security is offered?
  • What are the options for corporations with more than one location?
  • Can the ERP be tied/linked to various social media?
  • Can I integrate the ERP with my ATS?
  • If I have a reward system for referrals, how  is that part of the process managed? Can the benefits be varied by position?
  • Is the system easy to use and will the  employees that will be utilizing it need extensive training?
  • When a referral is made, how quickly is  notification sent? Is there flexibility with regards to who referrals are sent  to (i.e. referrals for different districts are sent to corresponding hiring  managers)?
  • How easy is it for me to edit site content?  If I need to make changes to program guidelines or stipulations, will I be able to do so in a timely manner?
  • What are the options for posting particular  jobs for which we are accepting referrals and/or allowing employees to refer candidates for general employment or positions that are not currently being recruited?
  • What site content will be searchable? What reporting/statistical analysis options are there?

One final note, buyer beware for those systems that offer integration with social media. While the access to a multitude of candidates connected to your employees is appealing, it may not generate the same results as more scaled-back versions of the ERP. The success of employee referrals, as stated above, stems from high performers being “friends” with other probable high performers. Social media has, however, completely transformed the meaning of the word “friend”. While employees would hopefully have more sense than to promote someone they do not know to work for the company, when monetary incentives are tied to referrals, you may have more than you can handle.

On the basis of implementation, make sure all your bases are covered before spending company resources on this type of  program. Online ERPs are the wave of the future, so do your research and jump on board.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

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