A few weeks ago, I shared some of my thoughts about employee referral programs with the Canadian HR Reporter Weekly for an article they published on that subject. Some people think that when employers use employee referrals there is less diversity in the workplace.
In my opinion even though “mid-forties white male” still represent the largest portion of the workforce, the reality is that most people’s families and friends are quite diverse and that they know many professional, educated, trained, competent women and men of different backgrounds that they can recommend.
Some surveys suggest that candidates referred by existing employees often accept lower salaries than other candidates, because they are already sold on the organization thanks to the employee who referred them. Well, my experience is that most of today’s organizations have set pay-scales to take into account experience, education and skills. These pay-grids are used across the board in the same way for all the candidates with equal qualifications.
If anything, I’ve noticed that the fact that referrals are already familiar with the organization, its products, services, programs and culture, generally means that they fit-in better and quicker and that they can be productive faster. And, employee referral programs also benefit the existing employee because in most cases the employee receives a cash bonus for a successful referral.
Finally, it’s also a way for the organization to show its employees that they value them and their work and respect their recommendations. Overall well managed employee referral programs are worth having because they increase productivity from existing and new employees – they just work!