Commerce Bank had multiple employee referral programs throughout their lines of business. Each line of business had different program rules, referral award amounts, and communication plans. Most employees were only aware of referral opportunities in their immediate business area. Through these decentralized and disjointed programs, Commerce Bank was only hiring 27% of their external hires through referrals. By analyzing employee data, they uncovered that referral hires had longer tenure and better performance than external hires from other sources. Thus, improving the referral program became a top priority.
HireClix’s consulting team partnered with the bank's talent acquisition team to build a centralized bank-wide referral program. After conducting surveys, employee and talent acquisition team focus groups, and several executive interviews, the strategic consulting team designed a referral program that:
- STANDARDIZED PROGRAM RULES ACROSS THE BANK
- PROVIDED A THREE-TIER REFERRAL BONUS AWARD STRUCTURE BASED ON BUSINESS NEEDS
- INCREASED INCLUSIVITY SO THAT MORE TEAM MEMBERS WERE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE AND EARN AWARDS
In addition, the team built a robust communications plan that focused on creating excitement for the program and educating team members on what makes a great referral candidate. The communications plan included a unique program name and consistent branding. The HireClix creative team developed posters, flyers, email templates, intranet pages, and program swag to engage employees and drive referrals.
The new referral program launched with great fanfare, including HR employees handing out program swag, flyers, and donuts on the launch day. The robust communications plan and clear directions encouraged people to start referring qualified candidates. Compared to the previous decentralized, disjointed programs, the bank achieved great results in the first year of the new program, including:
- A 15% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REFERRALS SUBMITTED
- A 75% INCREASE IN THE QUALITY OF REFERRED CANDIDATES
- A 44% INCREASE IN THE REFERRAL HIRES
- A 50% DECREASE IN 3RD PARTY RECRUITING AGENCY FEES
- MORE THAN DOUBLED EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM
Referral hires continue to have longer tenure and better performance than non-referral hires, so the success of this program has contributed to lower turnover and greater team member performance.