As organizations reimagine the future of work, they must understand the trends that are changing the workforce. From millennials stepping up to become leaders to the opportunities and challenges presented by increased globalization, organizations need to be more agile and flexible when it comes to acquiring and managing talent.



As organizations reimagine the future of work, they must understand the trends that are changing the workforce. From millennials stepping up to become leaders to the opportunities and challenges presented by increased globalization, organizations need to be more agile and flexible when it comes to acquiring and managing talent.



As organizations reimagine the future of work, they must understand the trends that are changing the workforce. From millennials stepping up to become leaders to the opportunities and challenges presented by increased globalization, organizations need to be more agile and flexible when it comes to acquiring and managing talent.


Talking Talent Leadership Profile

A Q&A with DAVID WILKINSON of Boeing
Global Infrastructure & Operations Director, Talent Acquisition at Boeing

Trend Writer

David Wilkinson spends a lot of time in airplanes, and that’s not just because he works for Boeing. In global talent acquisition at the aerospace giant, he has lived and worked in London and Dubai and now leads his team from Mesa, Arizona in the U.S. While a lot of people talk about globalizing talent acquisition, David actually lives it. Regardless of whether he is looking towards the future of Boeing in the deserts of the U.S., the drizzle of the UK or the heat of the UAE, he is a talent champion. He’s also a member of the PeopleScout community. For this issue of PeopleScout NEXT, we caught up with David on an early morning call to learn about his insights on the future of talent acquisition.

What is the Mission of Boeing Global Talent Acquisition?

Our journey is to become global talent champions. To us, that means delivering best-in-class solutions that unleash the full potential of Boeing’s people, products and services.

I’m really excited by that mission because it requires us to celebrate and champion talent at every opportunity. It also acknowledges the fact that it is a competition for talent, and we’re here to win.

What are Some of Your Priorities as Your Team Looks to the Future?

The two things that I really think are the needle movers for us are operating globally and embracing an intentional use of talent technology. We are excited to work with PeopleScout and other valued partners in pursuit of those goals.

One of our main priorities is evolving our approach to talent technology. We’re working towards a holistic end-to-end technology strategy that will use data-driven insights to inform our experience and activities. I’m hoping that strategy will enable our teams to deliver the best experience every time, at every touch point.

What Tools, Methods and Strategies are You Exploring to Achieve Your Approach to Talent Technology?

For me, the single greatest opportunity is technology. It’s also our single greatest dependency.

We’re adopting Workday globally. Given our scale, this is a significant endeavor. It’s been a two-year project, and we’re going to implement in 2019. So, our focus is on maximizing every opportunity that this change offers.

I see great potential for more intentional tools usage. When you implement a brand-new technology, you can be more intentional about that technology and the way you use your tools, processes and systems. What does that entail for Boeing talent acquisition? It means looking at artificial intelligence, business automation, access to real-time data and more.

We also see opportunities in technology to enable our global journey. Working in talent acquisition in London for eight years, Dubai for 10 years and now the U.S., I’ve learned that there are very, very few truly global tools. What’s big in the U.S. might not be big in Europe and may not be used at all in Asia, for example. This is an important opportunity for us and one that I believe will truly impact the candidate experience.

What are You Most Proud of in Your Role at Boeing?

I have been really lucky to lead some great teams globally, and specifically, I’ve been really lucky with Boeing to lead teams in London, Manchester, Delhi, Bangalore, Dubai, Riyadh, Nepal, Beijing, Tokyo, Mesa, Chicago and Seattle. Each of these experiences has influenced my personal development.

When I look at Boeing’s mission to Connect, Protect, Explore and Inspire Our World Through Aerospace Innovation, I embrace the global nature of that mission and the power of connectivity. We want to connect, protect, explore and inspire the world.

My experience and my career journey across the globe demonstrate the power of connectivity. I’m proud to be learning and developing alongside teammates in Mesa and nationwide. So, I’m most proud of the global nature of my role and the journey I have been on – and how I have personally and professionally developed throughout that process.

What are You Excited About for the Future of Talent Acquisition?

It’s a similar theme – the opportunities provided by global technology and the opportunity to operate as a team that is globally efficient, locally relevant and resolutely focused on the candidate and user experience. The opportunities that come with a global talent approach are long established. We know that, for example, there are a million graduates in India. There are also 200,000 Chinese nationals who pursue further education in the U.S., but they have yet to truly be embraced because it is difficult for employers to hire them.

We need to make it easier for talent to move around the globe, and even if you just look on a local scale, we need to make it easier for talent to move around the country. Then we need to make it possible for workers who have been influenced and enriched by an experience in a new location to return home with a more global perspective and stronger than when they left. That’s huge.

I’m energized daily by our mission to become global talent champions and to embrace an intentional use of talent technology. As I look to the future, that is what I’m most excited about as we evolve our partnership with PeopleScout and other valued partners.

The New “Human Capitalist”: Who They Are, Why Your Business Depends on Them and How to Win Them

Op-Ed Contributor, TOM MCGUIRE
Founder, Managing Partner, Talent Growth Advisors

The Human Capitalist: Who They Are

“Human Capitalist” is essentially a state of mind – it is how critical talent in our knowledge economy identify with employment opportunities. You know who they are. Top candidates with skills that are in scarce supply. These are experienced, savvy candidates for roles like software engineer, data scientist, specialized RN and more. They are often sought after across multiple industries and geographies. The Human Capitalists for your most important roles take longer, cost more money and bear higher risks – and rewards – to recruit than talent for other roles.

The competition for talent – and the limited supply of candidates who can perform well in your most critical roles – marks one of the most rapid changes in the talent landscape over the last five years. We’re living in the most difficult hiring environment that most of us have experienced in our lifetime. And it’s not only a function of supply and demand. The mindset of talent has completely changed in this environment. As you will see in this article, top talent view themselves much more as investors than as employees.

What’s common about these people is their critical importance to their companies. They are responsible for building and maintaining the intellectual capital that now represents the most valuable assets in the world: proprietary technology and databases, strategic customer relationships, patents, etc.

The Human Capitalist: Why Your Business Depends on Them

Human Capitalists are very different from most workers; Human Capitalists generate the intellectual capital that represents nearly 90 percent of the value of many modern companies. Human Capitalists bring the most essential human capital to their companies. In our second annual study of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, on average 20 percent of the roles in a company contribute to 80 percent of the value of the business. That 20 percent of roles are those for which winning the Human Capitalists, on their terms, is essential to a company’s sustainable success.

To further define the work of Human Capitalists, these individuals don’t need a leader to define how they should achieve their goals (as in, “here’s how I want you to build a new advertising campaign that goes viral”). Instead, the focus of their work is on solving for and achieving the desired result (later assessing: did that new ad campaign go viral?).

Human Capitalists who can consistently achieve the results that will help grow the enterprise value of the business are literally worth their weight in gold.

The Human Capitalist: How to Win Them

1. Figure out which roles in your organization are truly critical and demand hiring of top notch Human Capitalists

The first step is to identify those critical roles in your organization which actually end up driving a hugely disproportionate amount of intellectual capital. To do this, involve a cross-functional team of business leaders who can discuss the organization’s growth plan, the talent implications of that plan, and from there, the two to three roles which are most important to its success.

2. Understand how Human Capitalists think

These elite candidates treat their careers the same way that investors treat their stock portfolio decisions. Here’s why: for Human Capitalists, employment decisions are investments – they cannot afford to spend months or years in a job that does not add to their future potential and personal wealth.

As with financial investors, they expect a mix of “capital growth and dividend payout” consistent with their investment goals and risk tolerance. “Capital growth” for these candidates is the means to increase their capacity for generating future personal returns. It means their ability to acquire certain experiences, knowledge and skills as a result of this investment (their employment) decision. A track record of successfully “investing” in reputable companies adds fuel to their growth potential.

“Dividend payout” for the Human Capitalist means reward in all forms such as salary, short- and long-term incentives, perks and benefits. Clearly this type of compensation is baseline and must be competitive; it won’t sell the job on its own. Why? The potential for acquiring new knowledge, unique experiences and innovative skills – the “capital growth” opportunity – far outweighs the day-to-day compensation for these candidates. Want to get actual data about what the candidates you most desire for your most critical roles really want? Then it’s time to treat these critical roles like a new product launch.

3. Design and implement a completely different talent acquisition approach

Think of an in-house executive search strategy that goes much “lower” than your typical executive search services. This requires passive candidate sourcing and candidate management techniques like no other – regardless of the job’s “level.” It requires a defined, thoughtful, step-by-step approach to attracting and winning such talent, highly credible, informed and competent (and compensated) recruiters and a deeply collaborative relationship with hiring managers and interviewers. Speaking of compensation, the total comp package for the sought after Human Capitalist roles must be carefully considered. These are not the roles by which to achieve a company-wide compensation goal of being “75 percent of market pay,” for example. In fact, these roles might require paying 200 percent of market for the right talent – and recruiters must have the ability and flexibility to work intelligently within this concept.

4. Don’t take your eye off the retention ball

Human Capitalists routinely reassess their situations, because they can (consistent with their goals). They make a personal and private assessment of where they stand versus where they expected to be when they initially started the job (i.e. initially made their investment). This typically takes place at the two to three year mark, when Human Capitalists either quit by choosing another, better “investment” – or “reinvest” by committing to another two to three year period of time. This cycle is really no different from that of a financial investor, but much less visible.

Every two years or so, the Human Capitalist will quietly decide to either resign or re-sign.

All this is to say that the old-school approach to talent acquisition and talent management simply isn’t going to work with today’s Human Capitalists. Our advice? Start with identifying your organization’s most critical business goals and the roles that are most important to achieving them. From there, the way you engage and attract these individuals is markedly different from the way hiring might work in other parts of the business. Evaluating the success of these efforts is essential too – indicators such as passive candidate pipeline health, quality of hire and source effectiveness – become essential KPIs.


Talent Growth Advisors (www.teamtga.com) is a professional services firm with the singular mission of connecting investments in talent to business value for our clients. We design measurable talent strategies and improve talent acquisition results and capabilities. Contact us at info@teamtga.com to learn more. Interested in hosting a Talent Think Tank on a topic of importance to you, at your location? Contact linda@teamtga.com for more information.

Ghosting in the Workplace

Trend Writer

Employers are concerned about the growing trend of candidates who don’t show up to scheduled interviews, don’t arrive on the first day of work or even quit without giving notice. This trend is also known as “ghosting” in the workplace.

“As labor markets tighten, recruiters and hiring managers say they’re experiencing a surge of workers no-showing at interviews or accepting a job only to never appear for the first day of work without explanation. Some employees are even quitting by walking out and saying nothing.”

Source: Chip Cutter, The Wall Street Journal

What’s more, an article published by USA Today reports that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows or ghosting in some form or fashion.

The ghosting phenomenon is global. “I thought it could only be in pockets of a country like the U.S., where the unemployment rate has sunk to an 18-year low,” wrote Pilita Clark in an article in the Financial Times. “When I asked around in the UK, where unemployment is at its lowest in over 40 years, I found a surprising number of victims of what is known in the online dating world as ‘ghosting.’”

To further explain what ghosting is, why it’s occurring and what your organization can do to minimize its effects on your talent acquisition program, we explore the phenomenon and its effects on employers.

What is Ghosting in the Workplace?

In the dating world, “ghosting” is the practice of ending a relationship by stopping all contact and communication with a partner without apparent warning or explanation.

The discourteous act of ghosting is no longer confined to romance; it has now entered the world of work.

Ghosting in the workplace is similar to ghosting in dating. Essentially, candidates or employees avoid having potentially unpleasant conversations with recruiters or their employers by going radio silent instead.

Instead of telling employers, “I am quitting,” or “I have accepted another job offer,” some workers are thinking: “If I ignore you long enough, eventually you will take the hint and leave me alone.”

Simply put, many job seekers do not want to have an uncomfortable conversation with a recruiter or manager, so they take the easy way out by ghosting them. Ghosting in the workplace comes in many forms including:

No-Showing for an Interview: This occurs when candidates do not show up to scheduled interviews. This can happen for initial interviews, or interviews further along in the hiring process.
No-Showing on the First Day: This occurs when candidates accept a job offer but don’t show up on their start date.
Quitting Without Notice: This occurs when an employee leaves for the day and is never heard from again. While job candidates and employees have ghosted in the past, what’s unique is that the practice has now become more prevalent. According to a survey conducted by Washington-based research firm Clutch, 71 percent of workers admitted to ghosting at some point in the application process. What’s more, 55 percent of the respondents said they abandon one to five applications during a job search.

Why are Workers Ghosting?

Change in Candidate Attitudes

In an interview with the New York Post, Rob Bralow, owner of BLVD Wine Bar in Long Island says he schedules interviews back to back because the majority of applicants simply ghost the interview. “If I have 10 people who have confirmed interviews in a day, and three people show up, I’m happy,” Bralow says. “And we’re talking about all pay grades and positions. It doesn’t matter what the pay scale is. I’ve had ghosts [no-shows] for $50,000 to $70,000 jobs, and I’ve had ghosts for minimum wage jobs.”

41 percent of workers found it acceptable to ghost employers, while 35 percent found it unreasonable for an organization to ghost an applicant.

Source: Clutch

Clutch also reports that of the workers that found ghosting acceptable, the most common reasons include accepting another job offer (30 percent) or deciding the role was not a good match (19 percent).

Improved Economy and Opportunities

Ghosting is not just a symptom of shifting attitudes in the workforce. It can also be the result of low unemployment.

At the height of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate reached 10 percent in the U.S. During this time, many organizations were inundated by a deluge of applications from job seekers and could not respond to every applicant.

As the economy and job market surge, the tables have turned. Employees are at an advantage because it’s a candidate’s job market, and they have more employment options than they have in recent years.

In November 2018, the unemployment rate reached 3.7 percent. There were more job openings than unemployed workers for just the second month in two decades, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Low unemployment is not confined to the U.S. The unemployment rate in the EU has dropped to 7.1 percent and has dropped to 4.2 percent in the APAC region.

This means that employees have more options for employment and can move quickly from one job to the next, ignore employment offers they choose not to accept or accept multiple offers at once with little perceived negative consequences.

How to Survive Ghosting in the Workplace

Ghosting is not only frustrating for employers and recruiters, it’s also expensive. Ghosting causes lost productivity, as hard-to-fill jobs stay open longer than anticipated.

The average cost-per-hire for companies is $4,129 and the average time to fill a position is 42 days.

Source: SHRM

To combat ghosting, employers can implement the following strategies:

Develop a Talent Community

With ghosting becoming the new normal, it’s essential to be more strategic and build long-term relationships with candidates. One method of building long-term relationships is with talent communities.

Talent communities are ideal for establishing long-term professional relationships with passive talent for future opportunities. This means getting to know candidates regardless of whether or not they are looking to make a career change immediately.

Developing a talent community requires organizations to shift from reactive recruiting to a more proactive approach. Your organization’s mindset should switch from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your organization should hire in the future.

By sourcing candidates earlier in the hiring process, you have ample time to engage them and develop closer and more personal relationships, reducing their likelihood of ghosting.

Tips for building a talent community include:
Determine what roles you want to target for your talent community
(usually roles with high turnover or roles that are hard-to-fill).
Look to past candidates, former employees and interns to build your talent community.
Source passive candidates by combining various sourcing techniques (e.g. social media, networking events, etc.).
Engage candidates through recruitment marketing until you have an open role for them.

Building a talent community isn’t a short-term strategy and takes time to develop and nurture, but in the long term, the benefits are worth the investment and can help offset ghosting in the workplace.

Evaluate Your Onboarding Process

While candidates ghosting job interviews can be a challenge, candidates who ghost on the first day or who resign their position without notice can wreak havoc on an organization. To curb and deter this behavior, organizations should start the onboarding process early to build an emotional connection with new hires.

Despite the fact that it can take a year or longer for a new employee to reach full productivity, only 15 percent of organizations extend their onboarding past six months, according to SHRM. If employers want to keep their new hires from ghosting, they should consider extending their onboarding processes through the first year of employment. Here are some ideas for successful onboarding techniques at different key points throughout an employee’s first year.
Before start date: Prior to a candidate’s first day, reach out with friendly messages welcoming the new employee or sharing an introduction to some of the benefits your organization has to offer.
On the first day: When the new hire arrives for their first day, be sure they are personally introduced to their coworkers and designate a point of contact who will be readily available to answer questions.
The first six months: Now that the new hire has learned the ropes, continuous feedback is what is going to help them hone their skills, catch mistakes and take corrective action when needed. This is also a great way to establish rapport and trust with the rest of the team.
After the first year: After the first year, managers should start having conversations about a new hire’s future within the organization and their career development as a way to show the employee that the organization is invested in their continued success.


No one can say for certain if ghosting in the workplace is a trend that is here to stay. But one thing is certain: candidates’ attitudes have changed, so organizations need to take steps to adjust. By building strong talent communities and engaging new hires early and often, you can better position yourself to reduce the likelihood of candidates and employees ghosting you.


Key Takeaways

  • Job seekers increasingly say it’s very unreasonable for a company to ghost a candidate, yet feel it is very reasonable for a candidate to ghost a company.
  • Building long-term relationships can help improve the candidate experience and reduce the risk of candidates ghosting.
  • Engaging new hires early and often reduces the chances of ghosting within their first year of employment.

Expanding the Talent Landscape By Recruiting Virtual Employees

Research Director

With very low unemployment in many of the world’s major economies, those seeking to attract talent should explore the benefits of recruiting employees that work from home. Since a number of these countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are considered to be at “full employment,” where nearly everyone who wants a job has a job, the traditional formula of recruiting in the market where a company is located may no longer be as effective as it has been in the past. And since the top reason for quitting a current job is to increase wages, employers face the challenge of meeting candidate expectations for higher pay based on local salary ranges.

While remote work may not be viable for some positions, expanding the pool of candidates outside a specific geographic area allows employers to take advantage of the growing trend in telecommuting as well as potentially reduce attrition, decrease cost-per-hire and even improve productivity.

The Virtual Workforce is Substantial (and Growing)

3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, currently work from home at least half of the time. This number is up from 1.8 million in 2005, an increase of 115%.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs

Growth in remote work is not limited to the U.S. In the UK, one in seven people work from home, according to the Office for National Statistics. In Canada, nearly half (47 percent) of employees work from outside one of their employer’s main offices for half the week or more. And in Australia, the number of people who work from home has risen to 30 percent. The significant percentages of telecommuters is not the case for all economies. Eurostat reported earlier this year that working from home was slightly more common in the Eurozone than in the EU as a whole. And some non-Eurozone countries have a negligible virtual workforce. Bulgaria has only 0.3 and Romania just 0.4 percent of its workers working from home, as an example.

A Deloitte study on Global Human Capital Trends reported that 70 percent of employees value telecommuting, but only 27 percent of employers offer this option. Therefore, companies that provide opportunities for telecommuting may have a competitive advantage in attracting talent.

Reducing Employee Turnover and Increasing Productivity

While study results vary, there is evidence being offered that working from home can increase employee retention. One study by OwlLabs found that companies that support remote work have 25 percent lower employee turnover than those that don’t.

A study conducted by Stanford University set up a control group between office-based workers and those allowed to work from home.

“Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.”

Source: Harvard Business Review

Stanford University research noted in the study that “The results we saw at Ctrip, (the company studied, which is the largest online travel agency in China and the owner of other travel sites worldwide including Trip.com) blew me away. Ctrip was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that…Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.”

Providing the option of working virtually can be a crucial factor in retaining valuable talent. If an employee needs to relocate temporarily for family reasons, such as caring for an older parent, or permanently due to a spouse’s job transfer, the employee can remain with the company by working remotely. Having this option available allows the employee to remain with the organization while the employer retains experienced talent, and saves the costs of hiring and training a new worker.

Cost Savings for Employers and Employees

This same Stanford study showed that the company saved $1,900 per employee working from home over nine months. Remote workers allow employers to save money on furniture, parking, office space, insurance costs and other expenses.

Research shows that a typical employer can save more than $11,000 per year for each half-time telecommuter, the result of a combination of increased productivity and reduced real estate, turnover and absenteeism.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

The cost benefits of remote work also extend to employees. Those working remotely save on commuting expenses, depreciation on their vehicles if they drive and gain the time back that would normally be spent going to and from work.

Can Remote Work Be a Solution for Your Business?

The difficulties of recruiting locally and the potential returns of developing a remote workforce may be attractive, but it is also uncharted territory for many companies. As you begin to consider implementing a virtual workforce, consider the following questions: How would you source candidates throughout the nation and even beyond? Can you develop recruiting processes that are effective using video and other tools if you have only relied on face-to-face meetings until now? And once a candidate is hired, how will you manage the onboarding process remotely?


Key Takeaways

  • The virtual workforce is growing. Organizations that offer remote work can maintain and expand their competitive advantage in the talent market.
  • Employers that provide the option of working virtually can significantly increase the likelihood of retaining employees that need to relocate for family or other reasons.
  • While a virtual workforce may not be the definitive solution to all of the challenges caused by today’s labor market, for many employers it can be a valuable way to expand the pool of candidates, provide cost-savings for clients and function as an incentive to attract and retain talent.

Through the Grapevine: Employee Referral Programs

Trend Writer

A well-managed employee referral program may be the single most powerful weapon in an organization’s recruitment arsenal. In fact, according to Silkroad’s Sources of Hire Report, employee referrals continue to be a top source for hires.

By encouraging employees to refer contacts in their professional networks for open positions, you can reduce recruiting costs, improve candidate quality and increase employee engagement.

In this article, we explore the case for employee referral programs, some of the top considerations organizations should be mindful of and how to properly manage a referral program.

The Case for Employee Referral Programs

Intuitively, developing a formal employee referral program makes sense. After all, who better to refer great candidates and sell those candidates on why they should join your organization than your own employees? Employee referral programs also make good business sense. Some of the benefits your organization may reap from an employee referral program include:

Faster time-to-hire: A LinkedIn study uncovered that it takes an average of 29 days to hire a referred candidate compared to 39 days to hire a candidate through a job board.
Less impact on your talent acquisition budget: An employee referral program is an inexpensive sourcing strategy that relies primarily on word-of-mouth and internal communication. Due to the faster time-to-hire, organizations can cut internal costs as well, since recruiters won’t be spending as much time sourcing and interviewing candidates for open positions.
Top talent begets top talent: Another LinkedIn survey revealed that star employees tend to refer other star employees. Tapping into your top talent can help organizations source and hire high performers more effectively.
Better employee retention: Not only are candidates hired via an employee referral typically of higher quality, they also tend to stay at their jobs longer, with 46 percent remaining in their position for at least three years.

Employee Referral Programs as an Extension of Employee Engagement

With employee referral programs, saving time and money is just the beginning. Employee referrals also add value through improved employee engagement. Using employee referrals to hire candidates builds a more robust corporate culture by intersecting performance and engagement to drive business success.

Employees who recommend a new hire have a vested interest in onboarding and retaining that person, as many referral programs include a requirement that the referred employee must be with the organization for a specific period of time before the referring employee can get a referral bonus. What’s more, employees who refer candidates will feel a sense of commitment to ensure their referral’s success because they recommended the position.

Employees who are involved in the recruitment process may feel better aligned with the future of your company. By encouraging employees to submit referrals, you are letting them know you value their input and contribution.

What to Consider Before Implementing an Employee Referral Program

Set Program Objectives

Before implementing an employee referral program, organizations should outline objectives in order to set a clear goal. Defining objectives early on in the process helps ensure your team is on the same page and knows exactly what is expected and when.

Setting objectives can be achieved by holding planning sessions with key stakeholders where you share the vision for the program, develop strategies to achieve success and find solutions that are mutually agreed upon.

Objectives for an employee referral program might include:
Improving quality-of-hire
Increasing new hire retention
Boosting employee morale and recognition
Lowering overall recruiting costs
Increasing diversity within the organization
Sourcing candidates with a specific skill set
Reducing the time-to-hire for external candidates
Better targeting and sourcing of passive job seekers
Deepening the pipeline of potential applicants

Leverage Technology

Technology can help make the employee referral process better for both employers, employees and referrals. Using technology tools can streamline processes and minimize inefficiencies and missed opportunities in the referral program. In an article with SHRM, Jennifer Newbill, Senior Manager, Global Candidate Attraction, Engagement and Experience, at Dell explains that Dell uses a combination of “white glove” and automated communications to manage its more than 40,000 annual employee referrals, making the process more manageable for the organization’s talent acquisition teams.

Social Media Referrals: Recruitment marketing technology can allow you to post jobs on your organization’s social channels in seconds. You can also leverage your existing employees’ social media networks – if your employees are willing to post on your behalf – to expand your reach.

Auto-Posting Open Roles: In order to get your employees more engaged in your employee referral program, you should consider sharing job openings on a regular basis. Instead of sending out emails manually every time a position opens, you can automate this process through your recruitment email marketing tools. For example, gig-economy start-up Fiverr leverages employee referral software that gamifies the referral process by adding a competitive element to referring candidates. The software assigns points to employees and credit for all the actions they take. The software also keeps employees up-to-date on the status of their referrals.

Make Jobs Shareable Through Employee Portals: Make it easier for employees to share job opportunities through their social media accounts and email. Adding social links on job posts will allow employees to automatically share job openings with just a few clicks. The quicker and easier jobs are to share, the more likely your employees will participate.

Referral Tracking: Tracking and appropriately attributing a referral is crucial to the pro- gram’s success. To make tracking easier, a referral field should be added to applications. The referral field on the job application can be filled in with information about the referring employee, making referral tracking easier.

Managing an Employee Referral Program

When it comes to managing a successful employee referral program, there are a few elements to keep in mind. Ideally, every program includes the following:
A simple process
Feedback Below, we explain how your organization can manage each of these three elements within your employee referral program.

Employee Referral Incentives

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 40 percent of respondents were motivated to refer candidates for a monetary reward. Sixty-eight percent stated they submitted a referral because they wanted to help their organization. If you want to get the most impact out of your organization’s employee referral program, you should offer a combination of monetary and creative, non-monetary incentives for referrals.

Experiment with monetary reward amounts because there is no magic number that will motivate all employees. Periodically testing different amounts can allow you to optimize your financial incentives.
Employees who are more altruistic in nature may prefer the option of donating their referral bonus to a charity or cause close to their hearts.
An alternative to offering individual monetary incentives is to hold a quarterly prize drawing where every employee who has made a successful referral during the period is eligible to win.
While prizes and cash incentives can be great motivators, other perks can be just as effective. Non-monetary rewards can include reserved parking spots, extra time off or first choice of shifts and schedules.

For a PeopleScout client and multinational auto parts and accessories manufacturer, we encourage their store managers, area managers and team members to refer quality candidates, including friends and family, to current job openings.

Once the employee’s referral applies to a position, our client lets a member of our recruiting team know that a referral has applied. Our team then schedules an interview with the referral and if qualified, proceeds to extend a verbal offer.

To assist our client in tracking the referrals coming in, our recruiters maintain a digital log of the number of referrals that were phone screened and referrals that were hired. When a referral is screened, the recruiter will ensure that the source code of “referral” has been accurately recorded in the ATS so that we can provide accurate program data. Our client values this referral program because it yields quality candidates and results in a faster time-to-hire for critical positions.

Program highlights include:

When we onboard and train our client’s new managers, PeopleScout emphasizes the employee referral program and its importance to the recruiting process
PeopleScout’s team has specific SLAs to ensure referrals are expedited
PeopleScout tracks time-in-status and conversion rates specifically for referrals
More than 25 percent of hires for our client come from referrals
More than 50 percent of referrals submitted are ultimately hired
PeopleScout hires between 9,000 and 11,000 people for this client annually

Simplify the Employee Referral Process

According to a survey conducted by RolePoint, 95 percent of HR professionals believe their employees fully understand how to submit referrals. However, 63 percent say they “very often or frequently” receive feedback that employees find it too complicated to refer someone.

When evaluating your program, ask yourself these questions:
Do employees know about your referral program?
Is it clear with whom or where an employee should submit a referral?
Is the technology used to submit referrals user-friendly?
Is it easy to track if the referring employee was given credit?
Is it easy to track the incentives that were earned?

If the program makes your employees jump through hoops to place a referral, you can be sure that it won’t attract many participants. To simplify your program, start with the following steps:

Explain your employee referral program: Employees need to understand exactly how your referral program works to make it successful. How you teach employees about the program depends on your size and how the workforce is dispersed geographically. You might gather your employees together and give a brief presentation or create an online training course. Or, you might do something as simple as sending an informational email or flyer for employees to review.

Set your requirements up front: If you want your employees to refer quality candidates, they need to know what traits and skills you are looking for. Share the open positions you are hiring for and provide employees with the job descriptions, so they get a feel for the types of candidates that would be a good fit.

Provide regular reminders: You should periodically remind employees about the referral program. If you don’t, they may quickly forget about it. InMobi, an India-based mobile technology company, offered a motorbike—a very popular vehicle in India—to any employee who referred a successful engineering manager candidate. To keep the referral program top of mind, InMobi parked a motorbike right in front of their corporate headquarters so employees were reminded of the referral incentive every day while entering the building. When you have an influx of open positions, send a reminder to your employees that explains how they can refer candidates and what the reward is for hired candidates. You can also promote the referral program when you aren’t actively hiring. An employee might refer a candidate you do not want to miss out on. You should add those candidates to your talent pool.

Collect and Provide Feedback

Measure Program Results: Measuring results is critical to evaluating the success of the program and to finding improvement opportunities. While metrics can vary depending on the goals you’ve set for the program, here are some good metrics to track:

On-the-job performance of referral hires
Retention/turnover rate of referral hires
Program ROI or the cost/benefit ratio
Employee satisfaction with the overall process

Provide notifications after a referral is made: Referring employees may be nervous about whether their referrals were any good. The best practice is to notify employees immediately when their referral is accepted/rejected, if the candidate is invited for an interview and when the candidate is finally hired or not.

The Gist

Employee referral programs remain one of the top sources for candidates because they are a cost-effective, engaging talent acquisition strategy. To get the most out of your referral program, understand what motivates your employees to refer candidates, make the process as easy as possible and maintain good communication with both the referrer and referee.


Key Takeaways

  • Make sure your employee referral process is easy to understand and clearly communicate the rewards, types of candidates you are seeking and how to submit a referral.
  • Think beyond monetary compensation when it comes to incentivizing employees to refer candidates.

Employee Retention: Combating Turnover

More than half of organizations worldwide have expressed difficulty in retaining some of their most valued employee groups, according to a Willis Towers Watson study.

As hiring has increased in recent years, turnover and attrition rates have also increased globally across all industries by more than 3 percent since 2013.

Turnover is not just an inconvenience for organizations, it can be expensive. Research from the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report uncovered that it currently costs 33 percent of a worker’s annual salary to replace them, with the major costs being recruiting a replacement, reduced productivity, cost of onboarding a new hire and training expenses.

This means for mid- to enterprise-sized employers, turnover can cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year. With turnover costs this high, it is important for organizations to improve employee retention.

Employee Turnover and What to Do About It

The strong economy and historically low unemployment rates have made workers more confident, and as a result, they are more comfortable exploring the job market.

In the U.S., the unemployment rate reached 3.7 percent in November. Low unemployment is not confined to the U.S. The unemployment rate has also dropped to 4 percent in the UK and 5.3 percent in Australia.

In LinkedIn’s Why and How People Change Jobs study, the top three reasons employees leave a position are to advance their careers, dissatisfaction with their workplace culture and dissatisfaction with management.

Moreover, the study found that once employees resigned, 42 percent said they might have stayed if their employer had done something to show they valued them.

Below, we address some of the main causes of employee turnover and provide insights into how to improve employee retention.

Create a Positive Workplace Culture

Stressful, negative and inhospitable workplaces are a recipe for high employee turnover. Research bears this out, as the American Institute of Stress reports that workplace stress can lead to an increase of nearly 50 percent in voluntary employee turnover.

How we feel about our work often depends on the relationships we have with coworkers, managers and the overall company culture. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, there are six essential qualities of a positive workplace culture:

  1. Caring for, being interested in and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
  2. Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
  3. Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes.
  4. Inspiring one another at work.
  5. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
  6. Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust and integrity.

As an organization, you should work to foster these qualities in your workplace. The University of Michigan research points to two key strategies:

Encourage Trusting Safe Relationships

Employees who trust that their coworkers and managers have their best interests at heart feel safe, as research by Amy Edmondson of Harvard demonstrates. Workplace cultures where leaders are inclusive, humble and encourage their staff to communicate and ask for help lead to better learning and performance outcomes for all employees.

Be Empathic

A brain-imaging study found that when employees recollected instances when a manager had been harsh or lacked empathy, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion, while the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic manager.

Jane Dutton and her team at the CompassionLab suggest that leaders who demonstrate compassion toward employees foster individual and collective resilience in challenging times. Thus, creating a workplace environment more conducive for overcoming challenges and obstacles.

Key Action: Develop a workplace environment that meets employee needs whenever possible to drive positive organizational outcomes and increase employee retention.

Professional Development

In an article published by HR Dive, Laurie Bienstock of Willis Tower Watson states that “We know from our research and consulting that career management continues to be a top driver of attraction, retention and sustainable engagement for most employees…Effective career management at many organizations remains elusive. That’s one of the main reasons so many of today’s employees feel they need to leave to advance their careers.”

Well-thought-out professional development programs can provide your employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers within your organization.

With an expanded skill set, not only will employees feel more empowered, they will also have more tools to help your organization, a win-win for your organization and staff.

When starting a professional development program, you can leverage the expertise you have within your organization. Senior employees, for example, can serve as mentors and help mentees sharpen both their soft skills and technical skills, gain practical knowledge, institutional insights and hands-on guidance, and can help mentees become more valuable and versatile employees.

At PeopleScout, for example, we sponsor a program where employees are paired with mentors at different levels within the organization to provide mentorship and career guidance. During the first three cycles of our program, 10 percent of participants received promotions after completion.

Key Action: Invest in your employees’ career development, and tie their career success to the success of your organization.

Management and Leadership

It’s often stated that “employees don’t leave organizations, they leave managers.” This is not a mere business platitude; there is evidence to back it up.

In a study conducted by Gallup, half of employees said they left a job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.

What’s more, according to an article by SHRM, “Employees who trust their managers appear to have more pride in the organization and are more likely to feel they are applying their individual talents for their own success and that of the organization.”

To curb employee turnover that stems from mismanagement, organizations should train managers on how to constructively engage, develop and motivate their teams to improve employee retention.

One challenge managers may face lies in the fact that what motivates employees is often unique to the individual. To uncover the diverse factors that drive their team members, emotional intelligence is required.

Support for managers should involve teaching them how to build better relationships, communicate more effectively, notice the early signs of employee burnout, delegate work and shift their mindset from being “the boss” to becoming a leader who empowers their team for success.

Managers should not have to wait for HR to step in with retention initiatives. Instead, managers should feel empowered to provide incentives and rewards, as well as the ability to develop their staff and offer meaningful opportunities to their team.

Managers should also be aware that meaningful recognition and praise can be powerful. Employee awards, recognition programs and praise might be the single most cost-effective way to maintain a happy, productive workforce.

Managers can send positive emails at the completion of a project or monthly memos outlining the achievements of their team, and organizations can develop peer-recognition programs to provide positive feedback to individuals as well as their teams as a whole.

Organizations can also create formal employee recognition programs. These programs let employees know that their work is valued and provides employees with a sense of ownership and belonging within their organization.

Creating a culture of recognition is something any organization can do to improve their employee retention. The key to success is identifying how your employees like to be recognized and then finding ways to show recognition in their preferred method consistently over time.

While recognition programs can help improve employee retention, you still need to make sure managers are provided with coaching and training programs as well as supplied with the resources they need to become more empowered.

Key Action: Enable employees to have positive social interactions with leadership and a rewarding work environment to increase satisfaction with their role in the organization.

Using Predictive Analytics to Track Turnover

Today, organizations are more data-driven, using AI and predictive analytics to better analyze data and drive business decisions. Predictive analytics can be leveraged by organizations to monitor and manage employee turnover by identifying which employees are at risk of leaving the organization.

Organizations should build their predictive models by gathering data from many sources, including employee data from HRIS and ATS systems. This data contains a wealth of information that can help predict employee turnover. However, these predictions will only be useful if the validity and quality of the data fed into the predictive model is sound.

Some of the most commonly used employee information for turnover-focused predictive modeling includes:
Tenure or duration of employment
Compensation level or ratio
Date of or time since last promotion
Percent of most recent pay raise
Job performance score
Commute distance
Job satisfaction score
Number of previous positions held
Years with current manager
Engagement score

These points of data can be analyzed to predict the likelihood and rate of turnover across roles within an organization.

For example, a PeopleScout client uses data and predictive models to assess turnover trends. The client uses employee demographic information such as age, tenure and their previous employer to predict when an employee might resign based on historical trends and patterns of similar employees.

Equipped with this data, the client is better positioned to prevent valuable employees from resigning by taking preemptive actions during periods or junctures where the employee is most likely to resign.

Leveraging Interviews to Improve Employee Retention

A key to improving employee retention is uncovering the unique issues your employees face day-to-day. Exit and stay interviews can give you a wide variety of perspectives from which to tackle issues that are driving employees away.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are designed to gather feedback from departing employees, and they can provide an organization with insights that can be used to make current and future employees less likely to resign.

For example, if your exit interviews uncover that employees feel their duties didn’t match their original job expectations, consider changing your job descriptions and your onboarding sessions to better reflect the duties within a specific role.

Recruiters and talent acquisition stakeholders should be educated on the competencies and skills that are needed to be successful in a specific role and be able to communicate them effectively to candidates.

Tips for conducting effective exit interviews:
Choose the Right Interviewer: When conducting an exit interview, the interviewer should be someone with little connection to the interviewee or someone they feel comfortable sharing their true feedback and concerns with.
Ask the Right Questions: To get the most out of an exit interview, it is important to ask the right questions – e.g. what is the attraction of the new position?; how were relationships with colleagues?; was there an issue with benefits or compensation?; what could be done to make this company a better place to work?
Analyze the Interviews: Make sure you analyze the results of each exit interview and aim to find any common issues that are causing your employees to leave.

Exit interviews shouldn’t be the only time you solicit feedback from employees. Rather, you should foster a culture of constructive feedback. Employee engagement surveys are a good way to take the pulse of employees throughout their tenure with your organization. That way, you’re more likely to get honest, constructive feedback from current employees, as well as when employees leave.

Key Action: During an exit interview, ask about things like the quality of leadership, teamwork across and within departments, opportunities for advancement and internal policies.

Stay Interviews

In some ways, stay interviews are similar to exit interviews. They are both used to identify reasons employees like or dislike their job and can uncover concerns or issues an employer may be unaware of. However, stay interviews can be more valuable than exit interviews because they provide insights managers can leverage to motivate and retain employees before they make the decision to leave.

Questions to ask during a stay interview:
What keeps you working here?
What do you enjoy about your job?
What would cause you to leave the company?
What would you like to change about your job, team or department?
If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?
Have you ever thought about leaving the organization?
What motivates you at work?
Do you feel appreciated in your role?
Where do you see yourself in five years?

After conducting a stay interview, be as transparent as possible with the interviewee about what you can or can’t do to remedy a particular issue.

Key Action: Aim to conduct your stay interviews at least once per year to augment the more general information about team satisfaction obtained through engagement surveys. Schedule them separately from performance reviews so the goals of each meeting remain distinct.

In Summary:

Unmanaged employee turnover is costly and disruptive to organizations. Approaches to retaining top talent need go beyond compensation and benefits to include improving employee job satisfaction with meaningful engagement, organizational commitment to managing employees’ relationships with their managers and clearly communicating opportunities for growth and advancement with the organization.


Key Takeaways

  • The relationship between managers and their team members is one of the key factors in reducing employee turnover and improving retention.
  • Engage your employees and provide them with the tools and freedom to develop and prosper in their role.
  • Exit and stay interviews are an effective way to uncover the sometimes hidden or less obvious issues that individual employees experience and can provide insights on how to improve the workplace.