An employee referral case study symbolized by a recruiter shaking hands with a candidate while an employee sits beside the candidate.

A Successful Employee Referral Case Study at Sentient Digital

Human Resources, company culture, hiring, employee referral

For employers interested in leveraging their employees’ contacts to hire the best candidates, Sentient Digital’s experience serves as a useful employee referral case study. Recently, Sentient Digital hired four candidates who were referred by employees. The success of this program provides valuable insights into best practices for implementing this type of program, as can be seen in this case study. 

Lessons from the examples of referral programs can help businesses better implement their own programs or improve their existing programs. These valuable insights can provide ideas to shape a successful employee referral program in which employees will participate. This can include understanding the best ways to communicate the program to employees, learning about different types of incentives, and identifying key metrics to measure the success of the program. Additionally, studying other companies’ referral programs can also help businesses avoid common mistakes, and ensure that their own program is effective and efficient, potentially saving time, money, and resources. This post will use Sentient Digital’s employee referral case study to explain the benefits of employee referral programs and how to best implement your own program. 

The Value of an Employee Referral Case Study

There are a lot of good reasons to consider an employee referral case study before jumping into your own referral program process. Paying attention to real-world examples of how a program has been implemented and the results that were achieved can give you a better idea of what you need to think about when crafting your own program. A case study can provide inspiration and ideas for how to design and implement a referral program at your own company. If you need to achieve buy-in for your employee referral program implementation effort, showing positive results from another organization may help your case. Most importantly, a case study can help you understand the benefits of an employee referral program. 

Benefits of Employee Referral Programs, Both For Businesses and For Employees

Employee referral programs have potential benefits for the referring employee, the referred candidate, and the employer. These programs can help an organization recruit highly qualified candidates who are  more likely to be a good fit for the organization’s culture and values. Additionally, referred candidates may be more engaged and motivated to join the company, because of the respect they have for the employees who referred them.

Employees who are referred to an organization tend to stay with that organization longer than employees recruited via other methods.Reducing turnover helps your organization avoid the costs of recruitment and training new employees. Employee referrals also help to build a positive reputation for the company in the industry, as referred candidates are likely to share their positive experiences with others.

In addition to the potential for financial benefits and recognition, employees who participate in an employee referral program further demonstrate their own value to the organization by referring candidates that are a good fit for the job. At its best, an employee referral program will be a win-win for employees and employer, so reviewing a case study may prove helpful in implementing your own.

Sentient Digital branded graphic of quote from Talent Acquisition Manager Kathy Hinkle

Sentient Digital: An Employee Referral Case Study

Sentient Digital runs its referral program with the philosophy that “good people know good people.” This means that if you trust your employees to do a good job at work, you should also trust their ability to recommend good candidates for employment. 

We strongly value employee satisfaction and our referral program is just another manifestation of that value.  Kathy Hinkle, Sentient Digital’s Talent Acquisition Manager, explains, “The most important test of employee satisfaction is connecting with their professional contacts.” Employees’ positive opinion will be reflected in what they have told their contacts about working at the company.

Sentient Digital’s referral program offers employees a bonus as an incentive for referring a successful candidate for employment. We promote the program on our intranet to make sure employees are aware of the opportunity. We also use the intranet to celebrate referral program wins so that all employees know that our program works. 

We recently hired a total of four candidates that were referred by our employees and we want to keep this going. These specialists ranged in job area and job title, showing that the referral program worked for different subject matter expertise and job level. 

We let our employees know about these referral successes in a post to the intranet that encouraged them to refer qualified people as the program continues. This success story shows that when you demonstrate that you value employee referrals and follow through with those referrals, your employees and the organization as a whole can benefit.

How To Build A Successful Employee Referral Program

To begin a successful employee referral program, leadership first needs to clearly define the positions for which referrals will be accepted. This should include the specific skills and qualifications that are required for the role, and the desired levels of experience and education. The more specific you can be, the better chance of finding candidates that fit the position requirements as well as the organizational culture via these referrals.

The next step is to determine what incentives you will offer to employees for referring successful candidates. You should consider financial and non-financial incentives. A mixture of both, such as giving a bonus and recognizing the referring employee in an internal communication, may work best. For example, at Sentient Digital, in addition to our financial incentives, we sent out an intranet post announcing the hires and by whom they were referred.

Next comes the absolutely critical step of communicating the details of your referral program to your employees. This step can make or break your program, because if employees do not have a full understanding of the kind of candidates you need, they will not be able to recommend the best possible candidates. You will need to communicate both the existence of the program and the available incentives, but also the details of the specific positions for which you are seeking referrals, to help employees evaluate whether their contacts fit your requirements.

Keep track of the progress of the employee referral program, including the number of referrals, who made the referral, and whether the candidate was hired. As you track these items, keep employees informed about the status of their referrals; this will show them that you appreciate their recommendations, even if you ultimately end up hiring someone else. This data can also help you make adjustments to your communication or incentives over time to produce the best results.

Finally, it is important to celebrate the success of the employee referral program. Recognize employees who have referred successful candidates and announce milestones such as the number of new hires made through the program. In Sentient Digital’s case, we used the intranet post both as a way to thank the employees who referred the successful candidates and as a way to remind other employees about the program.

Why The Incentives Offered For Employee Referral Programs May Provide a Significant ROI

Starting an employee referral program will involve an investment on the part of the employer. This doesn’t necessarily need to mean money; you can use non-financial incentives like praise, awards, and so on, but this will likely involve an investment of other resources such as time. Offering the right incentives for referrals could ultimately attract the best talent to your organization, so it’s worth examining the reasons to offer these incentives.

The right incentives can increase employee motivation to take part in the program. When employees are offered rewards for referring candidates, they may be more likely to do so. You know your employees best, so you know what rewards will work for them. Having a reward system backing your employee referral program can lead to a higher number of referrals, and ultimately a larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from.

When it comes to the results achieved with these incentives, employee referrals may yield more successful employees than other recruitment methods. This makes them worth the effort, because your employees may be more likely to refer candidates who are a good fit for the company culture and have the necessary skills and experience for the job. This can lead to a higher success rate in terms of hiring the right candidates for the organization.

That leads into another benefit of investing in employee benefit programs, which is that the investment can actually save your business money over time. The cost of hiring the wrong person can be enormous, so investing in a successful employee referral program can pay off in the long run. 

Finally, keep in mind that in addition to helping you obtain better job candidates, these employee referral incentives are an expression of your trust in your current employees. Sentient Digital knows that when employees see that their opinions are valued, this can increase employee satisfaction.

Want To Work With A Company That Values Your Skills, Your Advice, and Your Connections?

Sentient Digital’s employee referral case study shows that our leadership not only values our employees’ skills but also their opinions and connections, to the benefit of all. We appreciate receiving a recommendation from our employees about who would make a great addition to our team. We want our employees to have the work-life balance that, among other benefits, lends itself to building relationships that may yield valuable connections. This is just one example of the company culture that makes Sentient Digital a great place to work. Want to learn more? Check out our current job postings.