Company culture has always been used as a retention tool, but it should also be in your toolbox for attracting new employees. Your current employees are your not-so-secret sales force. Motivating and mobilizing them to refer their friends and family can help you fill your talent pipeline. Higher quality candidates that are a better fit for your organization will come through referrals.
The go-to tactic is an Employee Referral Program, and yes, you need this, but a referral program will be successful only if you've put in the hard work of building your company culture first.
Your company culture is the experience your employees have at work. More than ever, people value experiences. We like for our friends and family to share in our good experiences and avoid the bad ones. Employees can become your most powerful recruiting engine and source of leads if they have a positive work experience. Fire them up by building your company culture with intention:
State Your Why: Develop an Employee (not Employer) Value Proposition. And who is best qualified to help write that? (Hint: It's not leadership) Invite your employees to articulate why they work for you.
Make a Promise: Having an employee brand promise is just as important as having a customer brand promise. Employees want more than just good pay. It's important to focus on other types of rewards based on feedback from employees as to what is most valued.
Revisit your Values: Are they clear, relevant, and true? If not, revise them. Or write new ones. Values can evolve and employees will appreciate the opportunity to co-create them.
Walk the Talk: Now you're ready to develop a list of actions and activities that reinforce your why, deliver on your promise, and bring your values to life. Start by conducting an audit of current policies, practices, and programs to ensure they support the desired culture. For example, if you say that you care about the environment, how do you demonstrate it? Maybe take your recycling to the next level and start a composting program. If you value learning, do you have a progressive training program?
Once your culture is defined and employees are experiencing your values every day at work, an Employee Referral Program will be well-received and self-sustaining.
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