The Covid-19 pandemic is permanently changing our lives. For a long time, many companies didn’t allow remote work. Nowadays, home offices have become commonplace. In times of remote work and home offices, employee referrals are even more important in recruiting. Referrals are now the best practice for companies to secure the best talent in the future.
Why are employee referrals even more important in times of remote work?
97.6% of respondents to The 2021 State of Remote Work survey stated they are willing to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. Additionally, 97% would recommend remote work to others.
This survey has been conducted across the globe (United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Canada and India) and shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the job market. 46% of workers who shifted to remote work due to the pandemic reported that companies are not willing to interrupt remote work in the future.
The global job market is facing irreversible changes in which employee referrals are gaining more and more importance.
The Advantages of Employee Referrals in Remote Work
Easier Remote Onboarding
The so-called onboarding is an important stage of the candidate journey. It is a crucial step for the integration into the team because it’s the first contact new hires have with all their colleagues and coworkers. They receive an overall introduction to the team’s working method, get to know their contact person and familiarize themselves with the company culture. The first day might also include welcome drinks with colleagues after work.
Nevertheless, each company has its methods to bid welcome to new employees and make them feel integrated within the company from the very beginning. The better the onboarding experience, the sooner new employees fit into the role.
In times of home office, this stage occurs virtually and is much more impersonal. Chatting at the coffee machine or attending company events with colleagues is no longer a common occurrence. Working remotely has inevitably changed the way we connect and build our networks.
New employees who work remotely often find it more difficult to identify with the company’s shared sense of purpose. Company meetings and team video calls can help build team spirit. But a real, personal connection is harder to make. Employee referrals can help with that.
After all, the referred hires already have a personal connection with the employees who referred them. Moreover, the referrers can mediate the informal conversation among colleagues that bring a sense of togetherness so that new hires integrate quicker within the team.
Broader Outreach to the Workforce
For companies switching entirely to remote working, there are some advantages for their recruiting. First of all, the outreach to talent suddenly expands because there are no more geographical limits in recruiting. Companies can recruit qualified workers in all the four corners of the globe. The talent pool is, therefore, significantly broader.
But how can an experienced professional come into contact with your company?
The keyword here is employee referrals. Your employees’ networks are usually way more extensive than you would think. Your employees can refer acquaintances living in other cities or even abroad. If a talented applicant has a personal connection within the company, the chances of them applying for an open position in your company significantly increase.
So, How Do Employee Referral Programs Work?
Employee referral programs enable your current employees to refer friends or acquaintances from their networks for open positions in their company. If the referred candidate is hired, referrers or Talent Scouts, as we call them at Firstbird, receive a reward for their referral.
For many companies, employee referral programs are already the most important recruiting channel, and digitalizing their program usually sees significant success in the number of referrals, as well as the quality of applications.
A referral program does not need to be implemented by HR alone, without support. Instead, companies can rely on industry experts like Firstbird to implement them. Firstbird already provides its digital referral platform to important organizations such as Vodafone, Gothaer and Raiffeisen Bank.
Beyond automated tech solutions, Firstbird also offers you the valuable know-how of our experienced support team to make your referral recruiting channel successful. An efficient employee referral program should strengthen your employer brand and ensure a broad reach through your employees’ networks. You will get the opportunity to connect your company with the most outstanding talents.
Benefits of Employee Referrals
Higher Employee Loyalty
An interesting effect that referrals have on employees is that Talent Scouts appear to be more loyal to the company. It is a response to the fact that the company relies on them for its growth and values their opinion. Thereby, feeling appreciated increases employees’ loyalty and motivation in keeping providing referrals.
Usually, Talent Scouts receive monetary and/or non-monetary rewards as a “thank you” for their referrals. It is a way in which companies express appreciation towards employees involved within the referral program.
Public praise or an honourable mention for a successful referral can also boost employees’ motivation. Besides, it can inspire other employees to take part within the employee referral program and register as Talent Scout. The more registered Talent Scouts, the higher number of referrals and the broader talent pool.
Faster and Cheaper Hiring Process
Employee referrals save time and money. From submitting the application to signing the contract, the hiring period of referred candidates is reduced to 29 days. Usually, for candidates applying via traditional recruiting channels, the hiring period is 39 days on average.
For candidates applying through a career page this can take longer until the last stage of hiring: about 55 days. These are the findings of a study published by Undercover Recruiter. An additional advantage is that companies also cut costs in placing job advertisements and hiring headhunters or recruiters.
The hiring process is faster also because HR managers don’t have to spend too much time scanning CVs. The Talent Scouts have already done the pre-selection.
Higher Retention Rate
Recruiting through referrals presents benefits for all parties involved within the referral process. For example, the Talents Scouts are the bearers of the company’s culture and are familiar with the job requirements. So the chances their referrals are both suitable for the open position, and cultural fit are very high.
On the other side, Talent Scouts provide first-hand information about the company, realistically depicting the workplace. They also give deep insights into the required responsibilities of the role. So candidates who apply for an open position are already familiar with the company and share the company’s values.
This also explains why referred employees tend to stay longer in the company. A further factor might be that they work with colleagues they like. That’s another reason employee referrals have a positive effect on the working environment.
As we mentioned above, the hiring process and its onboarding stage are shorter for referred hires, thanks to the direct referral recruiting channel. Because employees integrate faster within the team, their working performance and productivity gain speed from day one.
The highest productivity from the very beginning combined with the lower hiring costs earns higher ROI – return on investment. The bottom line is that implementing an employee referral program is favourable in terms of productivity, working atmosphere and cost savings.
Companies Who Adapt Have More Success
“When the wind of change blows, some build walls and others build windmills,” says an old Chinese proverb. The changes in the world of work we are experiencing in these pandemic times are here to stay. It is our choice how to adapt to them.
Home office and forced digitization are changing not only the way we work but also how we recruit. That is why companies have to reshape their recruiting process. Talent Acquisition teams who adapt to the new challenges have a competitive advantage in winning over the top-notch talent. And an employee referral program can be the windmill that delivers them.