Utilizing Employee Referral Programs
By Janna Yetter, MA, Associate HR Business Partner

Utilizing Employee Referral ProgramsFinding the right talent is one of the greatest challenges an organization has; therefore it's essential to recruit resourcefully. When properly orchestrated, employee referral plans can make a difference in engaging and retaining your current employees, while simultaneously growing your business. By giving employees the opportunity to recommend potential hires to your organization, employees feel valued by knowing that their opinions are taken seriously in achieving the company's staffing goals. As stated in a recent SHRM article, "Candidates obtained through an employee referral program are usually good cultural fits and may need less organizational integration when hired"3.

Below are the benefits of implementing an employee referral plan and what to consider throughout the process:

  • Referral plans can be used as a recruiting tool finding potential candidates, who have an insider's view of the organization through a current employee.
  • Current employees with high employee morale and engagement are more likely to refer similar minded employees.
  • Continuously monitoring referral plans will allow an organization to ensure the referral plan is aligned with the organizations strategic recruiting goals.
  • Put thought into how much will be given to the referring employee and the criteria for payment. For example, what level is the position, how long do they have to be in the position, etc.?
  • When evaluating candidates, consider the testing criteria and interviewing process used in your selection process. Both referrals and non-referred candidates should be treated consistently.
  • Due to the potential for referred candidates to be similar in ethnicity as your employees, allow for diversity by using multiple recruiting sources. Make the employee referral plan available to all employees and be consistent with what positions are included, i.e. executive only or all open positions.

It's imperative to keep in mind that employee referral plans have both a positive and negative impact on an organization's overall staffing strategy. Employee referral plans could potentially cause disparate impact on a protected class, causing an organization to be viewed as discriminatory. Be cautious of the skill set required and legal liabilities that may occur. Ask your Human Resource department about employee referral plans if your organization doesn't already use one. They can be a great benefit to both the organization and the employees.

Don't forget that rehires are also a referral source! Reaching out to former employees is another cost-effective recruiting strategy. Harvard Business Review stated, "The facts are, it costs half as much to rehire an ex-employee as it does to hire a brand new person; rehires are 40% more productive in their first quarter at work; and they tend to stay in the job longer. Research suggests that the average Fortune 500 company could save $12 million a year by actively recruiting alumni"4.

3 SHRM. "Do employee referral programs negatively affect diversity in the workplace, and if so, what can human resources do about it?"."

4 SHRM. "Do employee referral programs negatively affect diversity in the workplace, and if so, what can human resources do about it?".

Jobs of the Month

Jobs of the Month

Our Recruiting Division is highlighting three client opportunities:

Vice President, Human Resources — Arlington, VA
The VP is a strategic leader who will create and implement a comprehensive and diverse HR strategy that supports the mission and vision, is in accordance with ethics and regulatory compliance, and serves as a strategic advisor and thought leader to the executive team.

Marketing Intern — Reston, VA
Helios is seeking a Marketing Intern to provide valuable marketing and administrative support. The ideal candidate is a bright and enthusiastic individual seeking to gain insight into the marketing and business development of a B2B service provider and will be comfortable carrying out routine tasks both independently and as part of a very dynamic team.

Infant-Toddler Program Director — Bethesda, MD
The Program Director has a key leadership role in the successful planning and execution of our client's programs; is responsible for planning and implementing varied, creative, child-centered play-based child care using the Creative Curriculum®; and adhering to all licensing, accreditation and our client's operating procedures and standards.

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About Helios

Helios provides human capital management consulting, outsourcing and recruiting solutions to attract, retain, develop and engage an organization's "core" — its people.

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Issue 59 | November 2012
Leadership Spotlight

David Sylvester

This month we interviewed David Sylvester, Director of Learning & Development for Booz Allen Hamilton. Even during a time of economic uncertainty, BAH is staying focused and investing in employee development.
Read the full story here! >>

Current Events

Graduating to a Pay Gap Research Panel Discussion — November 15 — The American Association of University Women invite you to join the pay gap conversation at a panel discussion of experts including Lisa Maatz, AAUW's Director of Public Policy & Government Relations, Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid and Fast Web and expert on college loans, scholarships, and student financial aid, and AAUW Student Advisory Council member and student blogger Bethany Imondi (recently on CNN) from 3:30-5:30 PM.

WBJ 2012 Women Who Mean Business — November 15 — Congratulations to the region's most influential women who have made a difference in our community and are leaving a mark on Washington! Join us in celebrating from 6:30-9:00 PM at the Four Seasons, Washington, DC.

2013 Helios Apollo Award Nomination Workshop! — January 9 — Register today to have your questions answered, hear cutting-edge employee development practices, and learn all about the Helios Apollo Awards! The Nomination Workshop is from 7:30 - 9:30 AM at the Crowne Plaza Tysons Corner. During this discussion you will meet previous Apollo judges, Apollo Alumni, and learn the process of applying for the Apollo Awards.

Giving Back

Giving Back

Annual Coat Drive!
Warm some hearts (and other body parts)! Helios is collecting new and gently used winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves for those in need now through December 31. All items will be delivered to the Hunter Mill Coat Closet and those suffering from Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. If you would like to donate a coat or host a collection bin in your place of business, please let us know by calling 703-860-3882 x102. Tax receipts provided upon request.