Hiring a Diverse and Heterogeneous Workforce via Employee Referrals: Here’s How!

In this day and age of global and interconnected networking, heterogeneous teams and inclusive workplaces are critical for business competitiveness and success. Numerous studies have proven that diverse working groups generate a creative workflow, original problem-solving, and higher innovation revenue and profitability.  So, what makes a hiring process equal and inclusive? And more specifically, how can you achieve diversity and inclusion goals via referral recruiting?
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    Are employee referrals a real obstacle to an equal and inclusive hiring process?

    The common misconception is that employee referrals hinder the creation of heterogeneous teams. And this has raised considerable bewilderment in talent acquisition teams aware of the advantages and benefits of referrals in the recruiting process.

    The undeniable evidence is that the statistics and facts prove a positive track-record of the profitability of employee referrals. For example, referral recruiting generates the best return on investment; referred hires stand out for their retention rate and are hired faster than those from other recruiting channels. Furthermore, the main achievements with referral recruiting are the high quality of referred candidates and the extensive outreach to the untapped talent pools.

    Despite the aforementioned advantages, there is a major emerging criticality of employee referral programs: the natural propensity of employees to refer prospective colleagues akin to themselves in socio-demographic, behavioural and interpersonal characteristics.

    However, this criticality does not pertain solely to referral recruiting. In fact, it reflects the common recruiting behaviour. The standard recruiting processes are not devoid of unconscious biases in recruiting- in this particular case, we are tackling the so-called affinity bias.

    Our report compared the general hiring statistics with those of recruiting via referrals, and the findings are that the main streams match. For example, in general, women earn around 40% less than men, and in 2019, foreign-born individuals (aged 20-64) had higher unemployment rates than native-born (12.3% vs 6.0%). This general statistical framework reflects the referral one: referrals benefit white men more than any other demographic group. White women, men of colour, and women of colour are, respectively, 12%, 26% and 35% less likely to receive a referral.

    Hiring a Diverse and Heterogeneous Workforce via Employee Referrals: Here’s How!

    How can diverse and inclusive workplaces be built with employee referral programs?

    To prevent biased hiring processes and foster inclusive workplaces where all employees feel respected, valued, supported and above all, accepted, many companies implement Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices. We also relied on advice from diversity and inclusion experts on strategies and approaches to implement in our employee referral programs that help us land an equal and inclusive referral hiring process.

    In this Diversity and Employee Referrals Whitepaper, you will learn:

    • The minority group employment statistics
    • The main challenges of building a D&I workplace through referrals
    • Joanne Lockwood’s and Rocki Howard’s expert recommendations
    • Common D&I initiatives via employee referral programs
    • Conclusions & takeaways from Firstbird’s extensive experience in referral recruiting
    • Further readings on referral recruiting and a diverse workforce

    Access it here!

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