Struggling with the tech talent crunch? See how employee referrals can make all the difference — from high-quality candidates to faster hiring times.

Public cloud ecosystems. The Internet of Things. Artificial intelligence. Technology is everything everywhere all at once. For IT leaders, these are exciting times.

There's just one snag: Demand for skilled workers to leverage these technologies is high, but the supply is low. In a Gartner survey from 2021, IT executives identified the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64 percent of emerging technologies, compared with just four percent in 2020. A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%).

How do you rise to this challenge? As one of North America's largest tech workforce solutions providers, we’ve got you covered. But we also recommend a sourcing channel closer to home: your current staff.

the benefits of employee referral programs

Employee referrals are candidates recommended by your current staff for open positions. They can originate from various sources, ranging from casual word-of-mouth recommendations to structured initiatives like Randstad’s talent referral reward program. Referrals can offer many benefits for your tech recruitment, such as:

higher quality

Employee referrals are usually pre-screened and pre-qualified by your employees, who understand your company culture and expectations better than anyone. They are also more likely to have relevant skills and experience, as your employees can vouch for their abilities and potential.

faster hiring

Employee referrals can reduce the time and cost of hiring, as they bypass the need for advertising, screening and interviewing. Referrals also tend to have shorter decision times and lower offer rejection rates, as they are more familiar with your company and more motivated to join.

better retention

Employee referrals often stay longer and perform better than other hires, as they have a stronger connection and commitment to your company. They also have higher satisfaction and engagement levels, feeling valued and appreciated by their referrers and managers.

more diversity

Employee referrals can help you increase the diversity of your tech workforce, as they can tap into different networks and communities that you may not reach otherwise.

4 tips for a successful employee referral program

To maximize the benefits of employee referrals, you need to have a clear and consistent referral program that incentivizes, rewards and encourages your employees to participate. Here are four tips on how to design and implement such a program:

1. define your goals and metrics

Before you launch your referral program, define some metrics that align with your business objectives. For example, you may want to increase the number of referrals, the quality of referrals, the conversion rate of referrals or the retention rate of referrals. To monitor and analyze your progress and results, consider using an applicant tracking system (ATS) or a dedicated referral tracking system.

2. communicate your expectations and benefits

Communicate clearly and often with your employees about what you expect from them and what they can expect from you when they refer candidates. Explain the referral process, the eligibility criteria, the roles you are looking for and the benefits employees will receive. Remember to provide feedback and recognition throughout the process.

3. offer attractive incentives and rewards

Motivate your employees to refer candidates with appealing rewards, such as cash bonuses, gift cards or extra vacation days. You can also vary the amount and type of rewards depending on the difficulty and urgency of the role or the stage of the hiring process.

4. encourage a referral culture

Foster a work culture that supports employee referrals as part of your company values. Get your leadership and managers on board, and use various channels to share success stories, testimonials and best practices. Emphasizing the positive feedback loop effect, where successful referrals lead to even more referrals, will further motivate employees to actively participate in the referral program and contribute to its growth.

Employee referrals can be a priceless asset for tech recruitment, helping you find and hire exceptional talent more efficiently, cost-effectively and successfully. With a well-designed referral program, you can unlock the potential of your existing employees' networks and boost your company's performance.