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The Secret to Retail Hiring: Employee Referrals

Posted by Michael Bachman on Nov 21, 2018 1:00:00 PM

The retail industry is in a state of flux at the moment. With more and more consumers doing the bulk of their shopping online, and brick and mortar locations closing their doors, retail employees also seem to be dissipating. Given this, retail hiring is becoming more difficult, but the reality is that despite this current trend in retail, there are still many brick and mortar stores that need qualified employees to get them through the business day.

So what is a hiring manager to do? Queue employee referrals!

Sell the Workplace Community

One of the many benefits of using an employee referral program is that your new hire comes on board already feeling like part of the workplace community. Going into a workplace already knowing (maybe even being friends with) your work associates gives that person a warm and fuzzy feeling about working there. Referral hires have a more comfortable start and a pre-existing sense of community. If people have a strong connection to the coworkers on their team, they will be more likely to stay around, even if there are things about the day-to-day job duties that they aren’t so thrilled with.

Sell Your Brand

There is no better brand ambassador for your company than a happy employee trying to persuade a friend or associate to work there too. You can be quite certain that all of the perks of the job have been elaborated upon, and maybe even some of the not-so-great things. But coming into a new job knowing what to expect upfront makes for a much easier transition into the workplace than someone going in blind and having to figure things out for themselves. Having your brand bragged about to a potential candidate puts you in a great place as an employer because they won’t need quite as much “convincing” that you’re a good company to work for - they already believe it!

Employee Referrals Keep Employees Longer

On average, employees who were hired via an employee referral program stay with a company longer than those hired through other methods. In an industry that is starting to see more turnover than ever before, it’s important to find qualified candidates who will stick around. In addition to the hired employee staying with the company longer, employees who successfully refer a candidate tend to stay at their workplace longer than average. If your employer hires someone you recommended, it shows that they trust you and your judgment. Not only is that a great compliment, but it also rewards a feeling of empowerment to the employee.


Onboarding is Faster

Onboarding is 16 days faster for employees hired through referral programs than for those hired through other sources. Having open positions filled sooner rather than later is always a good thing, especially in the world of retail. This can be particularly helpful during seasonal hiring periods, or when you find yourself low-staffed (retail does tend to see some higher turnover these days).

Recruiting in retail is a whole new ball game. Finding the “right” candidate for retail isn’t just about finding a candidate with a certain set of skills anymore. Now, it’s more important to find a candidate who is the right fit, culturally. Regardless of the industry, people stay at organizations for the people and will leave because of them too. Employee referral programs help set you up with a team that gets along, feels connected to the company and the culture, and ultimately a team that stays longer.


Topics: employee referral program, seasonal hiring, retail hiring

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