This customer story is a write up of the webinar “How to Boost Your Employee Referral Program”, hosted by Zdenek Bajer, CEO and founder of Datacruit ATS, one of the leading recruitment technology providers in the region and a Firstbird integration partner. The guests and speakers who took part in the webinar were Matthias Wolf, COO and Co-founder of Firstbird, and Jana Smolíková, HR project manager at Deloitte in the Czech Republic. Jana Smolíková was responsible for implementing the Firstbird platform in Deloitte Czech Republic and integrating it into the Datacruit applicant tracking system. Throughout the webinar, she shared with the audience their employee referral program success story that earned Deloitte Czech Republic the Recruitment Academy Award 2021 in the category of the referral program of the year.
If you are interested to watch the webinar’s recording, you can find it here:
Deloitte Czech Republic’s Success Story
Jana Smolíková shared the entire journey of cooperation between HR Deloitte Czech Republic and Firstbird, from explaining why they chose the Firstbird platform, their implementation and internal communication strategies for raising awareness with employees, right through to their achievements in digitalizing their employee referral program.
The story starts in 2018, when Deloitte Czech Republic organized the HR technology start-up accelerator contest, and Firstbird won first place. Deloitte’s HR teams were impressed by Firstbird’s platform and decided to test the product themselves by implementing Firstbird’s digital employee referral program in Deloitte Austria and Belgium. “It was a quick implementation,” Jana Smolíková stated. Happy with the results, they planned to implement Firstbird in the Czech Republic in March 2020. However, due to the pandemic it was postponed by six months.
Up until this point, Deloitte did have a referral program in place in their branch offices. However it was all a manual process; they didn’t have software that automated the handling of the referrals. Additionally, their Czech Republic HR team had only been rewarding employees with referral bonuses for referred candidates who completed the probationary period. Therefore, the main reason Deloitte Czech Republic chose Firstbird was for its innovative idea of rewarding all the employees involved in the referral process, regardless of the outcome of the referral.
“Firstbird is a product for hiring people on the basis of referrals, which is an important source of high-quality candidates. We have long thought about how to expand, strengthen and improve our referral program. Now the entire process can be managed in one place, simply and clearly”, stated Jana Smolíková.
When it came to introducing the new referral recruiting channel and asking the employees to register as Talent Scouts, the HR team availed the different communication channels at their disposal. First, they used their live stream studio to host Matthias Wolf and Deloitte representatives, who presented the Firstbird platform to the audience through a practical demonstration. Additionally, the HR team actively promoted the digitalization of the employee referral program through their standard communication channels. Employees were briefed on Firstbird’s implementation through email communication, newsletters, and their intranet page focused entirely on the employee referral program. Moreover, for approximately two months, internal screens and screensavers displayed a short video of the Firstbird platform.
To encourage employees to register as Talent Scouts, HR teams created a lottery event in September, October and November with the main prize being CZK 10,000 (approximately 400€). In addition to this, the first 300 employees who registered as Talent Scouts would receive coffee vouchers for their Prague cafè. Employees who were working remotely would receive these vouchers via post.
For the first three months following the launch, Deloitte Czech Republic did not use the reward shop the Firstbird platform offers, as they needed time to create their reward policy and structure for their Talent Scouts’ journey. The reward shop, however, was in time greatly appreciated by Jana Smolíková and her HR team, especially as it offers the possibility of customizing it completely according to the company’s preferences. Deloitte could decide which activities to reward, how many coins a referral activity is worth, and which rewards to place in the reward shop. Deloitte Czech Republic could even allow Talent Scouts to exchange their coins for Deloitte high-quality brand items (that can not be purchased elsewhere); coffee vouchers to Deloitte cafè; and Benefit plus points (their own cafeteria system in use in the Czech Republic). Moreover, if a referred candidate was hired, the referrer would still receive a financial reward after the probation period (the same amount as before). It was a win-win.
The amount of the reward Deloitte offered was different according to the level role. The HR team categorized the positions into six levels, with the reward amount being the same for all departments. The six levels were junior staff, senior staff, managers, senior managers, directors and partners. The referrer was updated by automatic notifications, and could easily find all the information about their reward on their Firstbird dashboard: what it is, for which referral and when it was going to be paid out, for example.
Of 766 invitations sent to employees to join the Firstbird’s platform, 724 accepted to register as Talent Scouts (96%). Of them, approximately 120 are currently active users, and there is at least one active user in each department, confirmed Jana Smolíková.
Among the Talent Scouts, Deloitte Czech Republic also counts their interns (who are registered in the Firstbird platform and can use coins in the reward shop) and 41 external alumni, (a group of former employees) who can submit referrals. Unfortunately, the latter group is not allowed to register within the platform or use the reward shop. Still, they can receive a cash bonus for a successful referral.
Deloitte’s additional categories of external Talent Scouts showcase how expansive the use of an employee referral program can be. It meant that the company could widely broaden its talent pool and maintain contact with its former employees and prospective future employees. It also meant that the HR team could utilize the social networks of their employees to reach the passive workforce and establish a connection with future talents.
“The new referral program has been running for more than 10 months now. Currently, we see a growth in the number of high-quality referred candidates and the enthusiasm of our Talent Scouts (process simplification, overview of the situation, more rewards). Our junior colleagues especially use gaming elements in the app, they share open positions in student groups and receive high points for activity. They like using the app and exchanging points in the reward shop. We expect the program to be even more successful in the future, we prepare competitions to support the application, introduce new products in the reward shop and look forward to the app evaluation for a longer period,” reported Jana Smolíková.
At present, on their asset list, Deloitte Czech Republic counts 724 Talent Scouts +41 alumni (60% of all employees), 11,205 job views, 315 referred candidates (67% top rated with 3 stars) and 60 hires (18%). Deloitte Czech Republic aims to achieve 30% of hires through referrals.
The Firstbird Workflow & Datacruit Integration
Throughout the webinar, both Matthias Wolf and Jana Smolíková discussed the functions and features of Firstbird’s software. Matthias Wolf presented the platform from the Talent Scouts’ perspective, and Jana gave a live demonstration of the application through the eyes of a recruiter. We were able to have a look at Deloitte Czech Republic’s statistics section containing the performance overview of published jobs and job views (for each social network), the number of collected referrals, applications and hires, and the percentage of top-rated (3-star) candidates.
The aim of Firstbird’s digital platform, as Matthias Wolf stated, is to fully support users’ engagement to streamline the referral process, making it easy to use both for the recruiter and the referrer. The gamification approach to the incentive system increases employees’ engagement in providing referrals and supports the company in creating a unique reward strategy. Matthias Wolf reported that companies who use the reward shop have a 40% higher user engagement than those that don’t. Firstbird’s digital employee referral program is also very user-friendly, as Jana Smolíková affirmed, and the mobile application enables Talent Scouts to connect from anywhere at any time.
Firstbird’s seamless integration into the Datacruit ATS, the intuitive recruitment software for easy interaction with candidates and managers, enabled Deloitte Czech Republic to completely synchronize the referral process with the candidate journey’s steps.
So how does the integration work?
The job description is created within Datacruit’s applicant tracking system and is then automatically forwarded to the Firstbird platform. Talent Scouts are informed about new jobs through Firstbird’s automated notifications and can share open jobs to their networks with just two clicks. They can also post the open job to their social media account or directly refer a candidate. As Jana Smolíková added, the jobs are always branded when shared on social media which allows companies to broaden their search pool and strengthen their employer brand. And when it comes to directly referring a candidate, GDPR compliance is aligned with the application process, as Matthias Wolf explained.
After submitting a referral, the referred application is collected within the Datacruit ATS alongside the rest of the applications coming from other recruiting channels, and this is where the hiring process takes place and the final decision is made. Nevertheless, all the phases of the referral application (pending, in progress, closed, hired) are tracked and updated in Firstbird. The referrer is therefore always updated on the status of their referral, and in the case that the referral is successful, the payment of a reward is also managed on the Firstbird platform.
If you want to hear more detailed information exchanged in the webinar, watch the recording here: