Now we have gotten to the point where our employee referral program is very successful. We are getting many high quality referrals with great success. Should we be satisfied? We say no. There are always way to improve anything, including an employee referral program. We suggest your next step be to build an employee referral program for management. This may prove to be difficult as this particular employee group has a limited bandwidth of time, but if done well it can deliver great results. The following outlines tips on how to get our management and executives to buy into our ERP.
1. Create ERP rules for management.
The rules for a management ERP will be different than the ERP we have for the rest of our employees. In most companies, specific employee sub-groups like executives and departments, such as HR, don’t have the ability to be compensated like all other employees for referrals. There are companies that believe all employees should be ideal brand ambassadors for the company and there is no need to reward them. In particular, executives are mandated to be ideal ambassadors of the business and continually seek ways to improve the business. It may be easy for the CEO to recruit individuals within her network, but if she is unaware that the CMO is hiring for a VP of marketing, it becomes near impossible. If companies don’t want to reward extrinsically for referrals, then intrinsically is the way to go. At Careerify, we recommend organizations create a specific program for executives, and reward their efforts by aligning with a charity or non-profit that is near and dear to them. Many executives strive to be involved in some form of non-profit/charity. By aligning a donation in their name, it will definitely garner their interest and make them pay close attention to the program.
2. Know who you’re playing with.
As we know in business, time is money and we have to be ready if we get some. Managers and executives don’t have time to spend discussing which of their contacts can fit in each position within the company. We need to be prepared if we do get that couple minutes with them.
3. Grab attention by understanding their business unit’s goals and positions.
A great way to grab their attention is to make sure you understand their roles and what their department’s goals are. Don’t ask a marketing manager about referrals for IT roles. We have to understand, people’s networks are relative to past experiences. This is our best chance to find a good fit for new talent.
4. Connect with their networks.
Many executives don’t have time to spend on LinkedIn and they are doing most of their networking via an email exchange server or in-person. For these executives their networks are in Microsoft Outlook, we need to extrapolate that information. Though it would be virtually impossible to attain their contact database, we could start to extrapolate relationships they may have from their past work history, or from press releases. Furthermore, for those that exist on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn or even Facebook, we would recommend you connecting with them to learn more about their network.
5. Do the legwork – Create recommendations.
We need to do a lot of work and research before actually meeting with an executive. These people have a vast network from their prior positions, so just because they don’t have a lot of social network contacts, doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
When searching through these networks, use keywords and filters to help you get possible connections that fit what you’re looking for. We need to come up with a short list for when we get that meeting we can ask if they know person x. The answer will most likely be yes, we say we want to connect with them and would like to be introduced.
6. Create the messaging, no more than 1-2 lines.
This is the message that is going to be sent to the potential candidate. The message has to be quick and to the point (no more than 1-2 lines) as this is the email etiquette at that level. The message needs to state that there is a position available and if they’re interested. Also allow for a couple of personal lines as well.
7. Follow-up reminders.
Executives are constantly busy and they may need some reminders to do something. If they say they are going to make the connection, just make sure we are staying on them until they do so. With all they have on their plate they will eventually get to it.
8. Champion the first few successes to the rest of the team.
It’s important to make any successes public knowledge. Chances are you may only get a fraction of the people to buy into this campaign. So if we get the CFO to participate then letting others know is important. You need to say “hey the CFO is on-board for this, you should be too,” because even leaders follow.
Once completing all of these steps it’s time to repeat the process. Make sure though we aren’t repeating the exact same process, as we should always looking to make improvements. Make sure we are connecting with executives constantly to properly understand their needs and how we can help. Also if one of the networks we searched doesn’t give out desired results, we might want to look at another network. Make sure we are always on our toes, ready to make adjustments.
Accessing executive’s networks can be extremely beneficial to your company if you can utilize them properly. Follow these tips and success levels will be high.
Is there anything we may have missed? Do you have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you in how you got executives involved within your referral program. Please leave a comment below.