Tuesday, January 28, 2014

8 Tips to Get Most Out of Your Diversity Referral Program

Employee referral programs (ERPs) are considered to be one of the most effective ways to seek job candidates and hire the best among them. In fact, many companies these days are getting more aware of the concept of networking among their professional and personal circles as well as taking advantage of  social media to bolster their respective diversity referral programs

However, referral programs can sometimes thwart such objectives as changing corporate culture, assembling a workforce with a new set of skills or bolstering diversity, says John Sumser, a recruiting consultant and author. Companies also should remember that employees may not always make sound decisions when it comes to referrals, and employers unfamiliar with referral programs can inadvertently create an HR phenomenon known as inbreeding, which occurs when companies continuously recruit candidates that are virtual clones of the existing workforce population. Read more here

Here are 8 tips on how to make the most of your company's ERPs to increase diversity referrals
culled from among the best thought leaders in the HR field:
1. Give preference to the recruiting of diverse individuals, such as these among other examples:
  • Pro-actively seek out your diverse employees and ask them to play a major role in referrals.
  • Have the CEO make it known to all employees that increasing diversity referrals is the firm’s number one recruiting priority.
  • Put diversity recruiting on the same level as other high-profile corporate priorities.
2. Directly reward the referrers:
  • Make diversity hiring a primary reward criteria for the CEO and all senior executives.
  • Increase the referral bonus for diversity referrals (from 25% to 100%).
  • Reward employees a small amount for just submitting the names and phone numbers of diversity candidates.
3. Create events:

  • Encourage employees and provide funding for them to attend events with high diversity attendance
  • Assign employees who are attending seminars, trade fairs, and professional association events the “role” of diversity recruiter at the event.
4. Interviews:
5.  Continually track diversity referrals by every individual manager, still according to Dr. Sullivan.
  • In addition, tracking the demographic component of the existing workforce and whether employee referral programs are providing candidates who reflect diversity is important for compliance, says Dianna Johnston, assistant legal counsel with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington. See
6. Publicize the successes.
  • The more success stories people hear about, the more they will want to get involved to win those nice rewards.
7. Consider adding external referrers.
8. Use the Performance-based hiring system.
  • A properly prepared performance profile can identify and document the essential functions of a job better than traditional position descriptions, facilitating the reasonable accommodation of disabilities and making it easier to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar laws. - David Goldstein a senior attorney with Littler Mendelson, a highly respected U.S. labor law firm. And according to Lou Adler, this opens up the door to a whole new pool of more diverse, younger, older, military veterans, displaced workers and the physically challenged. Read more here

This last tip should be considered more in terms of providing support to your diversity referrral program. In sum, what will ultimately drive your diversity referral program to success are your passionate, dedicated commitment to diversity as you go through each step of the referral process, and knowing how to appreciate and reward people who help you get the best diversity hires for your organization, as you focus on your company's main goals.

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