Diversity Matters: Ways to Keep Your Referral Program Diverse
It’s 2020 and diversity is having a huge impact on businesses around the world. Having a diverse staff is just as important as having a strong business plan. One study from the Harvard Business Review shows that hiring from a diverse pool of candidates increases creativity, productivity and revenue. Consumers and businesses want to work with companies that pride themselves in diversity. Having a diverse staff also allows a company to stay competitive when it comes to varying viewpoints and ideas.
Here’s the big question: Will employees only refer candidates who look like them and come from a similar background? This is certainly a possibility, especially if you don’t provide any guidance to employees when asking for referrals. So how do you overcome this hurdle? Our team has you covered with these suggestions for keeping your employee referral program diverse.
Ask For Diverse Referrals
Ask and you shall receive; this logic may sound too good to be true. It worked for Pinterest. According to a 2016 article by Pinterest's Abby Maldonado, the company asked employees in their engineering department to refer candidates from underrepresented groups. Maldonado says the company saw a 24% increase in the percent of women referred and a 55x increase in the percentage of candidates from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.
Reward Diverse Referrals
If you want your team to recruit more diverse referrals, consider adding in a reward for recruiting an employee that doesn’t look like the majority of employees in your office. If the office is 98% male, offer an incentive for employees to refer women to fill the role. If the office is 95% white, offer an incentive for employees to refer candidates of color. Intel is one big name company who did this by offering double the referral compensation if their employees recruit women or candidates that are racial minorities.
Highlight the Importance of Diversity In Your Company
The importance of diversity recruitment efforts may not be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Try highlighting its importance to your staff and educate them on why it’s important to be inclusive. Advertise your referral program to your employees and emphasize the importance of diversity in your ads. If you constantly reinforce that hiring diverse candidates will have a positive impact on the organization as a whole, over time your employees will understand the importance and and look to fill that need.
Try Asking for Leads Instead of Referrals
When it comes to referring a candidate, employees are very particular about who they refer, and might not be inclined to look outside of their immediate professional bubble. According to a study on Pinterest by the Harvard Business Review, asking for “leads” instead of “referrals” increased the amount of diverse candidates they received. Candice Morgan, Head of Diversity at Pinterest said their employees tend to refer candidates who look like them. Morgan says they decided to ask people for loose connections and leads instead of referrals. By simply changing up the wording, employees were more open to recommending someone they wouldn’t usually suggest.
Employee referrals programs shouldn’t have a negative impact on the diversity in your office. Implementing these tips will allow you to educate your staff on the importance of diverse hires, while creating an inclusive and diverse working environment. Try restructuring rewards, highlighting the importance of diversity and changing the way you ask for diverse candidate referrals. Implementing diversity in your employee referral process doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, it has proven to be a solution time and time again.