Employee Referrals and Diverse Workforce: Both Are Possible!
The way of saying “Birds of a feather flock together” leaves out the concept of diversity, which is becoming more and more relevant in our modern working environment. How can the employee referrals support building a heterogeneous workforce, and thereby promote and achieve diversity in the workplace? Doesn’t an employee referral program tend to bring sameness into the working environment, by shaping on the contrary a homogeneous workforce?
The answer to the last question is clearly no. When used in the proper way, an Employee Referral Program helps to build a diverse workforce, and strengthen the brand at the same time.
What Is an Employee Referral Program?
Employee Referral Programs have been used for centuries as an efficient recruiting channel. Nowadays we use them in a digital form. Making use of an Employee Referral Program entails great benefits to the company. When a company employee refers a job candidate to an open position (for ex. in the social media field), it saves the company time and money in the recruitment process. That is not a unique benefit: employee referrals convey the image of positive corporate culture to the outside world, making the company more attractive to skilled workers.
The benefits of the employee referrals were already known to the ancient Romans and the following recruitment strategy has been widely used throughout the history of work. Company employees which came in through referrals, are more loyal employees, as studies show. The employee turnover rate decreases and both hiring time and recruitment costs are reduced. But what does this all have to do with diversity?
Diversity in Companies: Why Is Diversity So Important?
Today’s job market demands creative problem-solving and openness to new ideas. The approach to delivering sustainable and innovative solutions requires a “cosmopolitan” atmosphere and many different sources of input to thrive. Therefore, a lively and creative working environment encourages employees to fully exploit their potential and to commit themselves to achieve the company’s goals.
Moreover, a successful company can not miss out on qualified employees. Paying real attention to implementing a diversity management strategy and providing equal opportunities attracts a bigger talent pool. It is much more fruitful than paying lip service just to follow the diversity management trend.
Truly engaging in these matters means hiring new employees from different ethnic or social backgrounds as well as cultural backgrounds, different sexual orientation and with different working skills. A heterogeneous staff promotes the attitude for tolerance and openness to diversity in the working environment and the company success thrives on new ideas. Moreover, it conveys a very positive image of the company that does not tolerate discrimination in its workplace.
The outstanding effect of hiring employees from diverse backgrounds is developing a multi-faceted knowledge culture to be shared among employees. The key element of a diverse workforce is that each member adds value in shaping the common knowledge. Having a good culture of knowledge-sharing means that employees complement each other, learn from each other and develop ideas together that a homogeneous staff would never be able to come up with.
Hiring According to Cultural Fit: Keep an Eye on Corporate Culture
A candidate and a company are well-matched when the candidate’s personal values and behaviour line up with the corporate culture values. In this case, the so-called cultural fit takes place. When a homogeneous staff uses its networks to share the company’s job offers and thereby to refer candidates, the applicants who will show up for the job interviews possibly will have the same cultural background as the company’s employees.
To better target the potential employees, the right approach is to review corporate culture’s guidelines and objectives and to develop an employee referral recruiting strategy according to the cultural fit. This is the method to manage and promote diversity in the company. If you want some further information on shaping an efficient employee referral recruiting strategy, you can read our “7 Tips on Successfully Recruiting Employees via Referrals”.
Do Employee Referral Programs Put Diversity at Stake? Not at All!
The company should develop a multi-faceted and open-minded corporate culture. The efficiency of an employee referral recruiting strategy developed according to the company cultural fit can kick-start these efforts.
If diversity management has been successfully put into practice, employees often won’t even be aware that their colleagues have same-sex relationships, a migration background, or different religious beliefs. When these circumstances are taken for granted in everyday working life, employees tend to feel more team spirit. Therefore, they will work together constructively and happily. A referral recruiting strategy can then be built on the ground of diversity integration, which has already become commonplace.
Although the company is already welcoming and inclusive to employees from different backgrounds, the issue of diversity management may simply not have been raised till now. Keep in mind that an Employee Referral Program promoted through a diverse workforce overcomes borders and barriers. It allows the employees with their own personal background to refer a unique candidate to an open position.
From a female Manager to a bilingual employee to handicapped employees, each staff member can use their networks as a recruiting channel outside of work. That doesn’t put diversity at stake. On the contrary, it upholds it thanks to this simple, trust-based employee referral process. After all, who better to promote diversity and inclusion than your own employees by also strengthening the employer brand this way?
Implement a successful Employee Referral Program in 10 steps. Learn more about it here.