Referral Recruiting

Attract Top Talent with an Employee Referral Program

As a pest management leader, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that good employees are hard to find. In today’s tightening job market, it may seem downright impossible at times to bring in a steady stream of capable, hard-working candidates. Believe it or not, your next top employee is probably much closer than you think. In fact, he or she could be a friend, relative or neighbor of one of your current team members.

This is why it’s critical for pest management companies to create an employee referral program. One of today’s most effective recruiting strategies, employee referral programs are skyrocketing in popularity across all industries.

Kevin Lemasters, Associate Certified Entomologist and President of EnviroPest in northern Colorado, says their employee referral program is the best resource they have to find great team members. “People want to work with others they know and like to be around,” he points out. “It is rare that someone will refer another person they don’t believe would be a good fit or bring value to the company.”

Eye-Opening Statistics

Don’t think it’s worth the time, effort and expense to build an employee referral program? Considering the statistics, you might want to think again.
According to CareerBuilder, 82 percent of employers rated employee referrals above all other recruiting sources for generating the best return on investment. To top it off, an HR Technologist study shows that referred candidates are 55 percent faster to hire as compared with employees sourced through career sites. Plus, employee referral programs can save companies loads of cash: to the tune of $3,000 or more per hire, reports

Not only can an employee referral program save your company time and money in the long run, but you’ll also end up with higher quality workers and less turnover. According to professor and corporate recruiting strategist Dr. John Sullivan, 88 percent of employers say referrals are the #1 best source for above-average applicants. Additionally, FirstBird reports that referred employees have a 45 percent retention rate after two years—as opposed to only 20 percent for employees hired via job boards.

Perhaps most compelling of all is another statistic from FirstBird: Employees hired through referral programs produce 25 percent more profit for their companies as compared to those hired through other sources. So, in the end, an employee referral program won’t just save your company money—it will actually boost your bottom line.

5 tips for building a winning referral program

EnviroPest’s employee referral program has worked wonders for the company. “In the past few years, over half of our new team members have come from referrals of our team,” says Lemasters. “I think another metric of the program’s success is our retention of those team members. Over the past three or four years, we have seen our employee retention increase to more than 94 percent.”

Lemasters offers the following tips to pest management leaders looking to build an employee referral program:

1. Give out referral cards.
“Every team member at EnviroPest has a business card with a QR code that is unique to them,” Lemasters explains. One side of the card reads, “You’re amazing. We should talk.” The other side of the card includes a short note about customer service and the QR code. When an EnviroPest employee comes across someone they think would be a great new hire, they give them a card.

“When a potential candidate scans the QR code, they are taken to a short welcome video from myself that reminds them that one of our team members thought they were awesome,” he says. The video also gives the potential hire a short overview of EnviroPest and a link to click if they are interested in taking the next step. “We then reach out and set up a meeting with them,” Lemasters adds.

2. Motivate employees with a referral bonus.
Your current employees may need a little nudge if you want them to recruit new team members. Of course, money is usually a powerful motivator. When an EnviroPest employee refers a candidate who is ultimately hired, they receive a bonus. If the new hire stays on for more than 90 days, the employee earns another bonus. “Our team members are given $250 at the time of hire and another $250 at 90 days of the new hire’s tenure,” Lemasters explains.

3. Involve your employees in the process.
If you want your employee referral program to be a success, it’s important to include your team members in the decision-making process. After all, they are the ones doing most of the legwork. “Ask your team members what tools they need and what would motivate them to help recruit the right people to your company,” suggests Lemasters.

Remember, money is not the only incentive. Some team members may be more motivated by additional vacation days or some other non-monetary reward. Of course, you’ll never know if you don’t ask. “If you’re talking about your process on a regular basis and have something that incentivizes staff to help, they will do so,” Lemasters adds.

4. Cultivate a desirable company culture.
Even if your team members refer loads of potential candidates to your company, it will be difficult to land them if you have a substandard company culture.

“I believe you first have to have a good team culture and be a place where people want to work,” says Lemasters. “If you have a toxic workplace, you can bring in all the new staff you want, but they won’t stay.”

5. Target unhappy workers.
EnviroPest’s internal referral program has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Lemasters believes this is largely because they offer a great place to work. He says his team members often refer candidates who are displeased with their current workplace.
“Our staff all have friends or family who are not happy where they are,” says Lemasters. “The best potential team member for us is someone who is already working somewhere but is not satisfied.”

An Unbeatable Recruiting Strategy

Considering the statistics and anecdotal evidence, it seems clear that pest management companies could reap the benefits of an employee referral program. In fact, businesses across all industries are attracting and retaining awesome team members with employee referral programs—even in areas with incredibly low unemployment rates and labor shortages.

“For the past two to three years, our service area has had only 1.7 percent to 2.4 percent unemployment,” says Lemasters. Even so, he says EnviroPest has not experienced any problems finding team members, thanks to their referral program.

“Even in a state that allows marijuana, we have successfully hired 14 new team members in the last two years that meet the Quality Pro requirements of a drug free workplace,” he emphasizes. “I can’t reiterate enough that if your people like working there, they will help you find others to join your organization.”

By Amy Bell