How Firstbird helped Arvato Supply Chain Solutions SE to kick off an inhouse employee referral program that resulted in high quality referrals (95% received the best rating!)

About the project

Arvato Supply Chain Solution SE




SAP SuccessFactors

Arvato Supply Chain Solution SE (Arvato) ensures the delivery and provision of goods in various industries, such as health, telecommunications and lifestyle. Thus, Arvato needs to satisfy the workforce’s internal demand to provide services to their customers that is expressed in meeting the hiring needs of approximately 800 new employees per year.

The company realized they were depending on external recruitment consultants that entailed a high-cost hiring process. Therefore, to tackle the issue of high recruiting costs due to reliance on recruiting agencies, Arvato introduced an employee referral recruiting channel. Further reason for its introduction was to win over passive and high qualified workforce they weren’t able to reach throughout traditional recruitment channels.

The introduction of an employee referral recruiting channel itself did not lead to the improvement of the hiring process due to its non-efficient promotion among the employees. Indeed, the company was able to hire only up to 5 referred candidates per year at the time.

To improve their recruitment processes and meet their hiring goals, the company implemented the Firstbird employee referral program alongside its integration into the SAP Success Factors applicant tracking system.

” With Firstbird we have expanded our recruiting network and we now reach the target group right in their environment, where all the action is. On top of all that, we do it in the most authentic way possible – through referrals from our own employees.”

Roland Droste
Global Head of Recruiting and Employer Branding Arvato Supply Chain Solutions SE

Arvato chose Firstbird among other providers because of its gamification approach to the employee referral recruiting process. Firstbird uses a gamification feature to engage employees as Talent Scouts and bolster their turnout in providing referrals. As feedback for Talent Scouts referrals, employees can receive referral bonuses and monetary incentives, according to incentives offered by the premium reward shop and set up by the customer.


According to Arvato’s motto “Do good and talk about it”, the HR team promoted the Firstbird program as an additional and new recruiting channel fully employing Firstbird’s consulting support. The approach consisted of active and targeted communication to the employees through flyers, posters and postcards. Furthermore, as an incentive for employees to register as talent scouts and make referrals, the company promoted the “recruitainment” concept which implies the monetary reward of €1,000 for each successful referral, paid off the day the employment contract is signed.


With Firstbird and its seamless integration into the SAP Success Factors applicant tracking system, Arvato finally achieved the goal of kicking off an independent and cost-effective recruiting channel. The HR team has been using the advantages of Firstbird for over five years by now. Since then, employees have been making referrals of candidates on a regular basis.

“Firstbird developed into the main pillar of our global recruitment strategy, and has enabled us to drastically slash our reliance on external recruitment agencies.”

Roland Droste
Global Head of Recruiting and Employer Branding Arvato Supply Chain Solutions SE

The cost for personnel consultants significantly decreased as well as the administrative workload for the HR team in processing employee referrals. Furthermore, Firstbird implementation made it easier for employees to make referrals, thus making the employee referral recruiting channel highly efficient.

Let the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to proving the efficiency of Firstbird digital employee referral program.

Arvato counts 949 registered Talent Scouts within the program so far. Of 800 jobs positions, 79 were filled via referred candidates, thus is 10%. Employees shared a job on social media 15,735 times. Moreover, 64% of the applications via Firstbird come via employee referrals and those referrals result in very high quality. Indeed, 95% of the applications Arvato received via Firstbird were rated with 3 stars – the highest possible rating. This proved that the quality of the referred candidates through personal referrals was significantly higher than candidates coming through other recruiting channels.

As an overall result, with Firstbird, Arvato is hiring 10x the volume of referrals compared to before.

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