Alleviate IT Skills Shortage Headaches Through an Employee Referral Program

Posted: August 27, 2018

Today’s tech industry has many open positions but extremely few skilled professionals. For that reason, 87% of hiring organizations report few or no qualified candidates for their openings. Tech pros in 2018 have an abundance of choices, and the majority already happily employed. If you’re looking to capture the elusive attention and interest of an IT professional, it’s time to institute an employee referral program.


Harness the Power of Referrals


Employee referrals are effective because third-party opinion is extremely valuable. Consumers research purchases by consulting friends, relatives, and reviews, and IT candidates are no different. Tech pros trust the recommendation of other professionals because they understand each other’s position. Further, studies show that employees hired via referral had a 40% applicant conversion rate, enjoyed greater job satisfaction, and stayed at employers longer than those hired in other ways. This is precisely why more than a third of U.S. workers are hired via employee referrals.


Leverage the Deep Networks of Your IT Pros


The reason referrals work so well is because your workforce has deep networks that can help you expand your candidate database. Tech pros spent years in school, training, and other jobs, and likely know many people interested in the right opportunity. Plus, they have strong LinkedIn networks which allow them to be the first to know when a contact is looking for a new position. In other words, your current employees are your hiring eyes and ears and have the ability to locate talent otherwise unavailable to you.


Provide the Right Incentives and Education


Many employees are willing to help a friend who directly asks them if their employer is hiring, but your workforce still needs an incentive to pitch your openings to their networks. 58% of those hiring in technology use a monetary referral bonus. In addition to cash, many options exist. Consider offering one extra PTO day for a referral that makes it to the second interview and another two PTO days if the referral is hired. Think about giving a gift card or special reserved parking spot to the employee with the most referrals in a year.


However, incentives are meaningless if employees don’t know about them. A distinct referral program should educate your workforce on what’s at stake and be communicated during onboarding and throughout each year. Place informative signs around the office, have departmental managers make announcements in their regular meetings, and get the whole company on the same page. Encourage sharing on social media so the referral program takes on its own life outside of the employee handbook.


Build a Contagious Culture


Even with a well-known employee referral program, your workforce still needs to enjoy their workplace in order to refer others. Building a healthy culture and environment generates its own natural, positive word of mouth. After all, the happier your employees are, the more likely they are to refer others to open positions in your organization.


In order to create a great employee experience and robust engagement, it’s necessary to provide strong work-life balance. Consider allowing employees to shift their working hours or grant them remote working days. Pay them the appropriate market rate for their positions. Hold fun team-building events both inside and outside the office. Consider the small but impactful perks that make an employee’s day easier like free snacks or casual dress code Fridays. Setting a strong foundation for a great culture makes it that much easier to produce effective referrals.


Alleviate IT Skills Shortage Headaches Through an Employee Referral Program


While no single strategy can solve your tech hiring problems overnight, a robust employee referral program will go a long way to improving your talent pipeline. Doing so can make you one of the 67% of employers who found that referrals made their recruiting process shorter, an important statistic in today’s competitive climate. Take the time to choose the right incentives and educate your employees, and they’ll take care of you.


In need of a more effective flow of qualified tech talent? NueVista can provide the professionals you’re looking for.


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