20th January 2017
As part of our launch program and aftercare process we go back into our clients and meet with focus groups of people from within the organisation to get a gauge on how successful WOO has been from the employee perspective. In general, we find that there are three categories that the employees fall into; those who are actively engaged with WOO, those who were engaged and their activity has fallen away and, finally, those who have never used WOO. In these focus groups, we spend time with each category to try and understand how we can improve how WOO works for them and discuss any barriers they may have to not just using WOO but also in engaging with the referral scheme in general. In the following sections, we’ve captured the information and we’re publishing for all to see as, even without WOO, it would be helpful for people to understand why certain people engage or disengage with employee referral schemes, what works and what doesn’t and, most importantly, how referral schemes can be improved to get a better buy in from the employees.
Communications are a vital element of not just launching a new product but for the day to day running of any organisation. With a variety of communication methods utilised such as; emails, team meetings, posters, newsletters, internal magazines, intranet publications and on-screen campaigns, companies have numerous ways of reaching out their employees. In general, when we do these focus groups there seems to be a direct correlation between the people who read/listen/see the communications and the engagement with the referral scheme with the people who don’t receive or digest the communications have little or no engagement with the referral scheme or even other company wide initiatives. As part of our launch plan for WOO we have a variety of methods of communicating the initiative so that we achieve maximum initial engagement. To begin with, we’ll do something called a “teaser campaign”. This is where we’ll distribute communications such as posters and on-screen slides that communicate that something new is coming to the business. These materials won’t actually say what is coming though which piques the curiosity of the employees and it has them talking about the initiative without actually knowing what it is. The more curious of the employees will actually go out themselves, do some research, find the app and download it in advance of the actual launch. With a couple of employees on the ground doing this, they’ll be talking to their colleagues and peers about it and you’ll see downloads coming through before the actual launch date. We also work with the business to identify “WOO champions” who would be team leaders, line managers, department heads or other influential people within the organisation. We’d then sit down with these people and ensure that they are fully briefed#in advance of the launch date so that they can cascade this information to the employees on a face to face basis and act as a conduit between HR/Recruitment and the work force.
On the day of the WOO launch, we’ll also be on site with more marketing materials such as leaflets and roller banners and we’ll be grabbing your employees as they arrive for work, getting them to download the app and get them sharing your open jobs – we even have a whale costume! This creates a buzz within the work force and spreads across the businessthrough word of mouth and through employees sharing jobs on their social media profiles that other colleagues have visibility of. After the launch, we’ll still monitor the activity and engagement levels and we’ll pro-actively work with you to ensure that employees remain engaged by coming back and running focus groups or training sessions with the employees but, from the HR/Recruitment side, what can you do to ensure that your employees remain engaged? Monthly updates about successful referrals and how the scheme is performing look great for the employees that are actively engaged because they can see exactly the difference they are making in not just bringing in new employees but the positive message and promotion of the company in the social media realms. Running a feature on one particular new hire gives the process great exposure and makes it more personal for the work force. Finally, a great tool that the HR/Recruitment team have to keep everyone engaged is the Notification function in the WOO Dashboard. This allows HR/Recruitment to ping their employees a quick message actually within the app which will come on their phone home screen. This can be anything from highlighting a specific job that you would like sharing, a reminder that the monthly leaderboard is coming to a close or even just a notification to communicate what the prizes are for next months’ leaderboard.
Using these tools ensures a broad spread of communication and allows the HR/Recruitment team to reach a variety of people across all departments.
The way employees view, or use, Social Media platforms also has a direct correlation on how they engage with the referral scheme as, summarily, the less comfortable they are within the social media environment, the less likely they are to refer someone.
The more active users are regular users of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp and are comfortable posting on these platforms and actually use the features of the platform (such as hash-tagging e.g. #sales or #marketing) to ensure that they maximise the reach of their posts.
The more passive social media users prefer to use WhatsApp and Text Message referrals as they prefer the personal approach with the people that they are comfortable talking to on a one-to-one basis which has a great effect on the candidate and makes them feel valued from the very beginning.
We’ve even come across employees that, even in this day and age, aren’t on Facebook or Twitter at all. These are the people that had heard about the referral scheme and WOO but had never downloaded the app as they thought it was purely for Social Media. These people still made referrals but this is on a reactive basis rather than the pro-active approach that WOO provides.
This method follows the age-old process of an employee being out with their friends and one of them just happens to mention that they’re looking for a new job triggering the referral discussion.
After speaking to these employees, it turned out that they hadn’t been aware that they could use WOO to send referrals via text message or WhatsApp which is what they would do as part of the reactive process anyway as they’d find the specific job that they had in mind for their friend on the careers website then text them a link to it. After this conversation, they understood how WOO streamlined that process, understood the value in using the app and became engaged from there.
The competitiveness of employees or how important the reward for referrals is to them plays a vital part in the engagement of the work force as, ultimately, if they’ve got no interest in the reward then the likelihood of them going out of their way to pro-actively refer their friends drops significantly.
The employees with even the least engagement with the referral scheme would still be likely to recommend a friend to the business on a reactive basis as the majority of people will always want to help out a friend if they know that they’re looking for a job. These referrals, however, are few and far between as, for it to happen, your employee needs to be in the right place at the right time to discover their friend is looking and a job that fits with what their friend is looking for needs to be available.
When conducting the focus groups, we discovered that the employees who were most engaged were not only motivated by the referral bonus that was paid after the successful referral but they were also incentivised by the monthly prizes that were awarded to the top sharers on the WOO leaderboard.
These employees not only engage with the referral scheme but they also encourage the people around them to download and share vacancies and get competitive with each other using the leaderboard as a measurement.
Where employees drop off, however, is if the specific monthly award isn’t something that excites them or motivates them enough to want to share the roles.
In order to counteract the issue of motivation, it is important for the business to#ensure that the referral reward is attractive to the employees but there’s a fine balance between what is attractive to the employees and what is sustainable for the business.
Additionally, for the monthly awards, it might be a consideration to offer a choice to the employees by having a range of prizes on offer rather than one. This would increase the chances of the employees being interested in at least one of the prizes and ensuring their engagement for that month.
Working with these focus groups has been beneficial for us at WOO to understand exactly how we can achieve the maximum buy-in from the employees within an organsiation. We understand that all of the suggestions to counteract low engagement rates might not be open to all due to culture, employee demographics or budget.
What is important, however, is that business make the referral process as easy and as fun as possible for their employees as, even if the reward isn’t that great, if the process is easy for the employees then they’d still be open to referring their friends as it isn’t something that’s going to be complicated and time consuming for them.
By using WOO, it removes the necessity for your employees to be in the right place at the right time to discover that their friend is looking for a new job and it makes the process more pro-active by rewarding them just for sharing jobs on their social media outlets.
By doing this, your employees will reach not just their friends who are looking for a job but also hundreds of passive candidates that, whilst they may not be looking for a job right now, will see that one of their friends recommends their company. This means that when the time comes to look for a new job, your company will be someone they think about as someone they trust has given you the thumbs up.