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Referrals in hiring – 5 key benefits of using your best advocates

By Emma Musgrave | |4 minute read

Hiring the right people is hard. Keeping them in the current environment is even harder. So how do you build a referral hiring network for your business that assists in this crucial task?

According to Joanna Rigon, general manager of people and culture at environment workplace specialists ServiceFM, you start with your company’s culture.

“If your culture is welcoming, inclusive and flexible, your own people are far more likely to recommend you as an employer of choice,” Ms Rigon said.

For frontline staff in the high-demand workplace environment sector, particularly cleaning staff, this has become a critical avenue for recruitment, with up to 80 per cent of ServiceFM’s new staff in this area coming from referrals.

Referrals offer a multitude of advantages over conventional advertising, enabling organisations to tap into a high-quality talent pool and foster a more efficient and successful recruitment process.

Ms Rigon believes there are five key areas that all businesses can benefit from in utilising staff referrals.

1. Enhanced candidate quality

One of the primary benefits of utilising referrals in hiring is the ability to attract candidates of superior quality. Referrals often come from trusted sources familiar with both the organisation and the potential candidate.

“Referrals provide us with a unique advantage by connecting us with individuals who have already been vetted by our employees. This level of pre-screening significantly increases the chances of finding candidates who possess the skills, values, and cultural fit we seek,” Ms Rigon said.

2. Cost-effectiveness

Advertising job openings through various channels can quickly drain an organisation’s budget. Referrals, on the other hand, offer a cost-effective alternative.

“Referral programs require minimal investment compared to advertising,” Ms Rigon said. “By leveraging our existing network of employees, we can tap into a vast pool of talent without incurring substantial costs.”

3. Accelerated hiring process

Time is of the essence when it comes to securing top talent. Referrals often expedite the hiring process by streamlining candidate evaluation and selection.

“Referrals save us time as we already have a degree of familiarity with the referred candidates. This enables us to fast-track the initial screening stages, resulting in a quicker turnaround time,” Ms Rigon said.

4. Improved retention rates

Employee retention is a critical concern for HR departments. The use of referrals can positively impact retention rates by attracting candidates who are more likely to align with the organisation’s values and culture.

“Candidates referred by our employees tend to have a better understanding of our company’s ethos. This alignment leads to higher levels of engagement and long-term commitment to the organisation,” Ms Rigon said.

5. Enhanced fit

Successful recruitment is not just about identifying qualified candidates but also finding individuals who fit seamlessly within the organisation. Referrals contribute to better fit by leveraging the knowledge and insights of existing employees.

Ms Rigon said ServiceFM’s employees have a deep understanding of the company’s requirements and can recommend individuals who possess the necessary skills and are likely to thrive within its environment.

“This results in better matches between candidates and our organisation,” she said.

Ultimately, Ms Rigon said referrals have proven to be a game changer.

“They bring a wealth of benefits, enabling us to build strong, engaged teams that drive our organisation’s success.

“By harnessing the power of referrals, HR departments can revolutionise their hiring strategies and create a more efficient and effective recruitment process.

“As the business landscape continues to evolve, leveraging the connections and insights of existing employees can be the key to unlocking a rich talent pool and securing the best candidates for organisational success.”



Benefits include any additional incentives that encourage working a little bit more to obtain outcomes, foster a feeling of teamwork, or increase satisfaction at work. Small incentives may have a big impact on motivation. The advantages build on financial rewards to promote your business as a desirable employer.