Industry goes innovative with staff referral plans; offers attractive rewards

Employers are ready to dole out big rewards to staff who help recruit the right talent because the candidates they bring make the cut more often than those who come through recruitment firms. MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: Get your friend as coworker and take your Harley-Davidson. Companies, from startups to old brick-andmortar giants, are going innovative on rewarding staff who bring potential employees from their networks. Cash rewards are still around but out of fashion, and iPads and iPhones are among the most common prizes. Internet product company Directi is urgently looking for mobile app developers for its new communication business and wants to hire 20 senior developers in two months. It launched an employee referral programme this August and the prizes include a Harley-Davidson bike and Volkswagen Polo car. Previously, it had given away iPads, and that had proved to be immensely successful in filling up urgent vacancies.SmartPlay, a technology service provider, is offering European holidays along with several other rewards to employees who help recruit fresh staff. Rewards become bigger and novel when the demand is in niche areas.

Employee referral is increasingly becoming an effective recruitment tool. Employers are ready to dole out big rewards to staff who help recruit the right talent because the candidates they bring make the cut more often than those who come through recruitment firms.

The chances of such candidates falling prey to counter offers are found to be lower too, as often the existing staff become brand ambassadors for the company to persuade them to get on board. With the economy now looking set to make a turnaround, the battle for talent has become intense. Many companies, especially in the technology and emerging sectors, are looking to recruit experienced employees in droves, and fast.

Many are turning to their own employees for help.”We got 75 resumes in one month and, despite being a regular at top tech colleges, this was the best way to get employees with experience,” said Ameya Ayachit, senior manager for talent acquisition at Directi India, which develops mass-market Web products.

The Mumbai-based firm also launched an external referral programme, wherein a candidate seeking a job with the company can refer friends and if those people get selected, then the candidate would get half the monthly salary of the selected employee as an incentive. And, the candidate himself doesn’t have to pass the interview to claim this incentive.
“We realised that those who reach the last stages, will have peer group with similar skillset and that is our target lot,” Ayachit said. Employee referrals, say companies, have a 50-60% conversion rate, and the chances of retention are higher than those employed via recruitment portals or agencies. Besides, can save on cost, while also rewarding existing staff.

Startups are at the forefront with employee referral programmes, with attractive incentives to net the young workforce. Last week, Bangalore-based taxi aggregator Ola Cabs announced it would give away the newly launched iPhone 6 and paid international holidays for those who refer mid- to senior-level candidates. The company also gives out cash payouts and Ola Money credits which give them free cab rides. Rival Taxi For Sure, launched an employee referral programme for the first time officially this May, offering cash.

It plans to also give away iPhones, gadgets and two-way air fare for domestic holidays starting next month. In fact, some of the startups, which have re- alised the necessity of employee referrals, are making their programmes more attractive. And they include SmartPlay, the company that is offering European holidays. Its fovourite reward for the past four years was iPads.



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