How to Improve Recruiting and Retention of Your Key Food & Beverage Employees (part 2): Create a Killer Employee Referral Program

December 2, 2013 in HR Best Practices



Looking for fresh ways to attract, hire and retain better talent?

Kinsa is here to help. In July, we started a four-part blog post series dedicated to improving recruiting and retention. If you missed the first post on becoming a food & beverage employer of choice, you can read it here.

Today, we’re zeroing in on another important tool to help you hire better food & beverage executives in a tight market: referral programs. These tips from Kinsa will help you build a killer referral program that gives you a real edge in finding the best talent:

Take a Strategic Approach

Too often, employee referral programs are delegated to a loosely organized committee that doesn’t take a systematic approach to planning and execution. If you want to consistently get better results, take the following strategic actions:

  • Prioritize high-impact and difficult-to-fill positions. Instead of burdening your program with jobs that can typically be filled through normal sources, feature positions that are likely to attract top talent and innovators. For example, instead of promoting a Business Development Manager position, feature a more unique one like a Foodservice Marketing & Product Innovation Manager position.
  • Link your employment brand to your referral program. Make it easy for potential candidates and referral sources to find compelling employee success stories, company videos (see below) or other information that reinforces your employment brand.
  • Integrate your referral program with your social and mobile efforts. This is critical in today’s recruiting environment, because most of your referral sources’ relationships occur via social platforms. Develop seamless technology that makes it easy for people to convert social connections into referrals.

Improve Referral Quantity and Quality

  • Maximize program visibility. Adding an introductory paragraph and a response form to your company website is not enough to guarantee success. Take advantage of every opportunity to increase awareness and program participation. Provide referral cards for employees to share with potential candidates, complete with a tracking code to ensure the referring employee gets credit for the referral. Ask employees to wear eye-catching referral program buttons (e.g., “Ask me about working at…). Bottom line, always be on the lookout for new ways to get people talking about your program.
  • Approach employees from target companies. Have you noticed that several of your top performers came from a handful of organizations? Are your hiring managers seeking employees from desirable target companies? Proactively seek out referrals from your employees who used to work for those businesses.
  • Host a referral event. Try holding a contact-gathering meeting, open house, video conference or lunch event, during which you: highlight your referral program; prospect candidates; and discuss current or upcoming hiring needs. Ask your in-house recruiter to be available to accept on-the-spot referrals and offer rewards.

Effectively Sell Your Organization

  • Turn your employees into your company’s biggest ambassadors. Teach your staff how to sell the upsides of working with your food & beverage company. Provide a simple referral program toolkit that explains the importance of referrals to your company, outlines your program and teaches employees how to convert potential referrals.
  • Build a story and video database. Encourage all employees to help you develop a robust collection of materials that might help a prospect understand your company – and why it’s a great place to work. Create:
    • Authentic, compelling stories about your company.
    • Career success profiles.
    • Short, informational videos featuring your internal teams or available opportunities.

When you invest time to improve your employee referral program, recruiting top food & beverage talent will become easier.  Still, finding the best will likely remain a big challenge for some time.  When you need help, give Kinsa a call. As leading food & beverage executive recruiters, we have the experience, resources and talent network to rapidly deliver high performers who will thrive in your organization.