Two young adults on their phone

Owning a business or managing a company has always come with a fair share of headaches, but today’s tight labor market is causing more than the usual amount of angst. The reality is, anyone who wants a job has a job, making the task of finding employees — not to mention getting them to stay — an ongoing struggle, says Claudia St. John, president of Affinity HR Group Inc., Jamestown, New York. 

This can prove especially true for building service contractors needing to maintain sufficient levels of janitorial staff willing to do the physically demanding work of servicing facility clients. Employee referral programs can offer BSCs a less aggravating and more productive way of finding the necessary help, says St. John, enabling employers to extend the scope of their resources by getting their employees involved in the search. 

Pam Washington describes employee referral programs as “absolutely crucial.” Washington is founder and CEO of A1 Janitorial Services, a provider of custom cleaning to commercial properties throughout the Las Vegas area. She is also founder of Build My Cleaning Business (headquartered in Las Vegas) which provides coaching and mentoring services to residential and commercial business owners.

“Referrals are the best source of qualified applicants,” says Washington. “Referrals tend to be more interested, more likely to be a fit, and more reliable if hired. These programs can make a huge impact on profits because quality referrals reduce the time and money spent on outreach and recruiting efforts.”

Employees who arrive via a referral program differ in significant ways from those gained by other methods, says St. John. These employees already have some form of emotional connection to the company. They also onboard a little more easily because they have support in the form of the referring employee, she says. 

“The No. 1 source of great applicants come from employees and it’s the least expensive form of recruiting,” says Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, Sugar Land, Texas. “For companies that have a good program, 33 to 40 percent of all their employees arrive this way. And for some companies, this could be as high as 50 percent.”

Still, despite the advantages employee referral programs confer, many companies fail to make use of these programs.

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Empower Employees To Find Candidates