Nick Ang

How a hiring referral program changes an organisation

people working nick ang blog

Our company recently introduced a hiring referral program as a pilot. This development sprung out of needs from a company entering its growth stage and it’s interesting because, before this, the assumption was that we all had the best interest of the company at heart - no rewards required to keep our A-team an A-team.

Just to be clear, a hiring referral program means whenever there is a successful hire that started as a referral, the person who originally recommended the new hire gets a sum of money as a reward.

Last time I checked, we’re a company of about 250 people. When I joined just three months ago, we were just hitting 200. That should give a sense of the pace of growth we’re experiencing as a company now.

So, on to the question: How does a hiring referral program change an organisation’s dynamics?

My initial response was to think that the organisation as a whole is maturing into something more… corporate. Only large companies need to have systems in place to incentivise their employees to continually act in their interest, right? Smaller organisations can count on the camaraderie for those kinds of things to naturally occur.

Based on my observation of some of my colleagues who have been with the company for much longer, I can tell that this is something that has also crossed their minds.

But when I put myself in the shoes of someone who’s in a team that needs to hire a couple more good people, fast, I realise that this is a very practical system that will not harm a company’s strong culture if we don’t let it. And it should work.

It’s practical because the monetary reward essentially augments the People team to include many, many more people who are currently in the company who are already ambassadors of the company to join the recruitment effort. As a company grows, the responsibilities of individual team members also grow. Everyone gets busier.

Because of our strong company values of solving customer’s problems and working smartly, we’ll prioritise our actual work (within job scope) over our hiring needs (outside of explicit job scope), in our own teams or outside of. We might do this even if, deep down, we know that it is like counting money in a building that has its ground floor on fire.

What about the harm it potentially brings to a company? I believe it won’t happen if we don’t let it. This to me is firmly a matter of perspective. If everyone chooses to view it as just part of a maturing growth strategy, there’s no reason to think that company culture is going to take a hit. That is unless some people already think that growth itself will dilute company culture. But that’s a topic for another day.

Photo by Nikita Vantorin on Unsplash.

Saturday, 8 September 2018, in the viewing deck of our hut in Uluwatu, Bali.

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