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6 Tips to Improve the Employee Experience for Internal Mobility & Referrals

Talking about internal mobility and making it happen are two different things.  According to Aptitude Research, only 25% of companies are confident with their internal mobility strategies, and 77% have lost talent due to the lack of career development opportunities. As the place where the candidate experience and the employee experience meet, an internal mobility and referrals strategy gives companies the opportunity to increase retention, fill open roles faster, and reduce time to productivity. 

  • Employees at companies with high internal mobility stay 60% longer. (Linkedin)

An effective internal mobility strategy requires an investment in communications, systems, and processes.

Take the example of CityFibre, a SmartRecruiters customer. A few years ago, the rapidly growing company had no tools to support internal job applications or employee referrals. Jobs were promoted in an internal Microsoft Teams chat, and employees applied by submitting a Word document via email. CityFibre also found it difficult to track the disbursement of employee referral bonuses and sometimes multiple people would try to claim a single referral. CityFibre knew that a system for internal mobility and referrals would both improve morale and fill roles. 

Here are six principles that companies like CityFibre follow to help employees grow their careers and make referrals.

1. Offer an employee-only jobs hub

An external career site should not be the only option for employees to learn about open roles; an Employee Portal such as the one offered by SmartReruiters gives employees a central place to search for roles. Having a separate place to go makes employees feel valued and sets a precedent that applying for a new job within the company is a normal occurrence.

In the portal, they should be able to search and filter jobs, sign up for job alerts, and make referrals. The company can even post internal-only positions to give employees a chance before opening positions up to external candidates.

2. Promote jobs internally

The portal by itself is not enough to increase the number of internal hires; companies must invest in internal marketing to promote key roles and the portal itself. Company intranets, internal messaging apps like Slack or Teams, emails, and bulletin boards are all great ways to get the word out about the latest open roles. Additionally, managers should be trained on how to encourage their employees to grow and be assured that backfills will be taken into account.

3. Make referrals easy

The employees looking at jobs on your portal might not just be looking for themselves; they could be looking for a friend or former colleague. From the portal, employees should be able to share jobs via email or link so they get proper attribution if there is a referral bonus. 

4. Segment the application process for employees

Your valued employees deserve-special treatment in the application process, as you want them to maintain a positive mindset to successfully complete their current work while they are interviewing for the new role. 

Employee applications may require different information from current employees than external candidates. Additionally, the interview questions may be slightly different considering how much they already know about the company. Your applicant tracking system should automatically tag employees and referred applicants, and allow you to configure hiring processes accordingly.

5. Send status updates

The waiting game can be nerve-racking for employee applicants and referrers alike. They deserve to know their (or their friend’s) standing in the process. Applicants should be notified of next steps in a timely manner. Hiring workflows can be configured to notify applicants at each stage, and allow employees to check in on the progress of their referrals through the hiring funnel. Transparency is paramount and will go a long way toward making employees feel valued.

6. Provide constructive rejection

Rejected employees have put their best foot forward for career mobility, and rejection might feel like an extra blow. A generic rejection could make them feel deflated and unenthused to perform in their current role. Referrals deserve a special rejection letter as well. All of this verbiage can be placed in a template library with the ATS.

A little effort goes a long way

An internal job site gives employees a morale boost – and, for many, a career boost. Just three months after CityFibre implemented the Employee Portal, more than one in five hires (21%) came from employees, and nearly as many (19%) came from referrals. In addition, more than 10% of employees signed up for job alerts.

“The SmartRecruiters Employee Portal allowed us to centralize and apply structure to our internal recruitment process,” said Nicola Pardon, Recruitment Operations & Continuous Improvement Manager at CityFibre. “It ensures everyone has a great candidate experience.”

The employee experience is just one important aspect of the candidate experience. To learn more about how to design an end-to-end candidate experience, our latest ebook has you covered with six checklists to keep track of improvements for each stage of the candidate journey. Download New Essentials of the Candidate Experience: How to Create Candidate-Centric Experiences from Attraction to Onboarding.

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Our vision for Hiring without Boundaries includes breaking down the barriers between internal teams and filling roles. To learn more, start on your journey today.

Lee Ann Prescott