Hiring at startups is tough, and I would bet, way tougher as compared to established companies. Not only because startups are still perceived as a risk, but also because as a startup your bars MUST be higher. You cannot afford to lose out on hiring smart and passionate people. In such times, for us at LocalOye, employee referrals have worked like magic. Just like marketing campaigns can go viral, your employees can be your biggest channel of attracting more talent into the pool.
Build your core team of first 20 people. Do not sacrifice quality here, and if it takes time (it will), so be it! Make sure the entire team is on the same page about what the company stands for, and what kind of people we should get further. A good thumb rule is that every new hire should be smarter/more hard working/and passionate then the person who is hiring them. Keep increasing your benchmarks! I consider the first 20 employees of LocalOye as our core team. They understood exactly what is required to be a Loco.
Build a concise and coherent message that can be used by the current team members to spread the word. This can be in the form of videos, about us page, Facebook albums etc. Communication plays a vital role in running a successful employee referral system. The employee referral system should be easy to understand, simple to use and appealing enough to win the support your employees.
Incentivise current employees to spread the word! While motivation to grow the team will drive everyone automatically, we give incentives like movie tickets, vouchers etc. to further drive the referral volumes. To give an example - One of our colleagues, Kunal, went to 5 straight movies as he got 5 Locos within a month.
The best part about doing employee referrals is that the startup’s culture still gets maintained, because employees get people who are like them! A good referral system also builds a sense of camaraderie among employees. Employees, who come through the referral system, tend to have a ‘take one for the team’ attitude. This automatically builds great team spirit and fun working atmosphere for everyone in the office. And it can vastly offset the HR team’s recruitment efforts, saving everyone a ton of time and hassle.
Advantages of employee referral programs in recruiting
Having a well-implemented and successful referral program can be a competitive advantage for your organization. Within your business, employee referral programs also offer advantages:
· Employees who are hired through referrals tend to stay with the company longer than other candidates
· They open the door to inactive job seekers who may join your startup with encouragement of a friend or a trusted networking contact
· They are a quick, low-cost and high-quality way of finding candidates
At LocalOye, we started a hiring campaign called – ‘Everyone’s Loco’. The campaign did wonders for us as it helped us scale from 25 employees to 150 employees within 60 days. Almost 60% of the hires came through our employee referral system. This not only helped us save on our cost of hiring but also ensured that we hired only quality employees. Existing employees want a new hire that will easily jive with the rest of the team, complement their capabilities where needed, bring a fresh perspective and share company values.