A senior supply chain recruitment professional has recently shared some essential steps that organisations can take to improve the quality of their applicants for vacant supply chain jobs.

Rodney Apply, MD of a US supply chain recruitment agency, advocates setting up employee referral programmes. These systems are known to increase the quality and volume of applicant flows for supply chain jobs.

Apple cites research showing that 88% of organisations reported that employee referrals are the premium source for appointing above-average candidates. What’s more, the retention rates for referred appointees are substantially superior. After a year, 46% of referred employees remain in their positions compared to 33% from career sites and just 22% from job boards.

While companies of different sizes and in different sectors will have unique requirements for referral programmes, Apple identifies a small number of essential characteristics that are common to all.

A starting point is to clarify the goals of the referral programme. That entails identifying the talent gaps in the supply chain organisation and the departments which generate the highest turnover. It also involves specificity: if 10% of warehouse hire, for example, comes from referrals, the referral programme might include a goal to increase this to 20%.

It’s recognised as good practice to train employees on how to generate referrals. This is so that they know what qualifications are being sought in a referred candidate, what leadership values are required and what employees can expect after making a referral. For example, this might include rapid notifications and incentives to refer, such as an immediate £25 gift card per referral or a points-based system where employees get 15 points for a referral and 500 for a hire, which can then be “cashed in” for rewards like bonus annual leave or a gift card.

Referral tracking software can be hugely beneficial to larger organisations and can help employees to refer job openings to colleagues via email or through social media channels.

Referral programmes work, and they’re worth the effort of setting up.

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