Case Study: How The YMCA Made Employee Referrals Their #1 Source of Hires

The Problem:

Unemployment has reached a 17-year low and companies are struggling to hire and retain workers, according to Business Insider. Filling jobs in a timely manner is critical to operating a successful business. With a tight labor market, business leaders need to have a strategy for recruiting and retaining their employees.

The YMCA of the Triangle hires nearly 1,000 employees every year, including a significant number of hourly, part-time and seasonal roles across their over 20 locations and summer camps. They were looking for a solution to make it easier for their current and former employees to refer qualified staff for the nearly 100 jobs they have open at any given time.

Their applicant tracking system was unable to support employee referrals. Candidates self-reported often providing inaccurate or inconsistent data which created additional manual processes burdening the human resources department. Employees had no way of learning about the program, submitting referrals, or tracking their status. Referrals went into a "black hole". Additionally, the YMCA of the Triangle offered different rewards to different employees without any centralized management or controls on referral bonuses, causing an administration headache.

The Solution:

Employees hired through employee referrals consistently outperform hires from other sources such as job boards or recruiting agencies. Numerous studies have shown employee referrals are hired up to 50% faster and remain employed up to twice as long. A simple employee referral program can be an effective way to recruit and retain employees.

By leveraging an automated chatbot to assist their recruiting teams, the YMCA was able to send an email and text-message campaigns to their employees. Email proved more effective with their corporate employees. However, their field employees responded significantly higher to text based outreach.

The YMCA of the Triangle decided to partner with EmployUs because they have expertise designing and launching effective employee referral programs, especially with decentralized and hourly recruiting teams. They decided to offer a $25 Amazon gift card, managed by EmployUs. After relying on several different sources for recruiting, they found employee referrals were not only their #1 source for total hires but also their #1 source for quality hires.