A Look Inside KL&A’s Awesome Employee Referral Program

Blog Barista: Kim Ivey | Oct 3, 2018 | Workplace | Brew time: 4 min

In November of 2016, I took the most amazing vacation to Cabo San Lucas. I stayed in a beautiful all-inclusive resort, where I wined and dined like royalty for eight whole days. The best part? I didn’t pay for any of it. KL&A did.

Recruiting high quality candidates can be a struggle for any company. It’s even more so for those seeking IT professionals, where the resource pool is basically bone dry with an unemployment rate of a whopping 1.9 percent. It has forced companies to get creative and do whatever they can to attract and recruit quality applicants. Companies have improved their benefits packages, placed more emphasis on their cultures, began offering flexible work schedules, and even opened up to the idea of telecommuting. For some, however, that still isn’t enough to get applicants through the door. Sometimes, they’re forced to call in reinforcements: third-party recruiters.

Now, don’t get me wrong, third-party recruiters are great. They come with an already established network of professionals to call on, and can play a crucial role when searching for a candidate that needs to be equipped with a very specific skill set. But, they can end up costing an arm and a leg.

Growing Pains

Over the past couple of years, KL&A has grown substantially. In 2015, we hired 23 people. Which, to put it in perspective, was the total headcount for the entire company just 2 years prior. Fast forward to 2016, KL&A hired another 20 people. And then in 2017, we hired 46 more. No big deal, right? Wrong.

Given KL&A’s previous size, that growth was definitely a big deal. And up until 2016, KL&A relied heavily on third-party recruiters. This created a few problems for the company during a time of rapid growth. For starters, there was already a limited number of applicants actively seeking new employment. Therefore, it was already difficult to find highly-qualified applicants, let alone find them in a timely manner. But more importantly, KL&A couldn’t just afford to continue paying the hefty recruiting fees of 20% for each applicant hired through a recruiter. As a result, KL&A decided it was time to get even more creative in order to attract more candidates. Enter KL&A’s Employee Referral Program.

The KL&A “Experience”

Refer a friend that gets hired into KL&A; take a vacation anywhere you want up to $5,000. That’s it. The whole referral program summed up in one sentence. No fine print. No hoops to jump through. Just a vacation of your choosing.

Eight days in Cabo San Lucas with your significant other? Sure. Round trip airfare to London? No problem. Family trip to Disney? Yes, please!

KL&A’s Employee Referral Program forces people to spend some quality time out of the office, have some fun, and most importantly, create lifelong memories. Since everyone has different desires, finding an incentive that could be tailored to the individual was critical and a KL&A “Experience” does just that.

Worth the Pretty Penny

So, how successful has KL&A’s Employee Referral Program been since it was first implemented back in July 2015?

For starters, in 2016, the first full year the referral program was implemented, our total third-party recruiting costs decreased by nearly 90%. In 2017, when KL&A hired 46 new employees, we doubled the number of employees hired in 2015. Yet, total recruiting costs in 2017 were lower than the total recruiting costs in 2015. In fact, recruiting costs per employee in 2017 were cut in half from the costs before the program was created in 2015.

KL&A’s Bottom Line

This is great for KL&A’s future, but the intangible benefits are equally as important. Here are 5 benefits that we’ve seen from KL&A’s Employee Referral Program:

1.  We’re receiving more qualified candidates that easily transition into our company’s culture.

2.  We’ve increased our talent pool and our team cohesion with each referred hire.

3.  We’re able to reach talented people who might not be looking for a new job otherwise.

4.  Employees are vouching for the referral so we have a better idea of who we’re hiring.

5.  Employees appreciate the perk and correlate a positive experience with the company, thereby increasing loyalty and satisfaction and decreasing turnover.

Advocacy at Its Finest

I have always raved about KL&A. But after the referral program was introduced, I started to notice that I would go out of my way just to talk to someone that I heard was looking for a new job. I didn’t know any developers or project managers outside of those at KL&A, so I never thought I’d actually be able to refer someone, let alone have it result in an “Experience.”

So when KL&A was looking to fill an admin/HR position, I was all over it. I had the perfect person in mind and knew she’d be a great addition to the company. Thankfully, KL&A agreed and brought her on board. A few months later, I was sipping on (perhaps a few too many) daiquiris poolside in Mexico. It was a vacation I will never forget.

KL&A’s referral program is unique and generous, and as a result, has created some pretty great employee advocates. I even find myself bragging about our employee referral program to just about anyone that’ll listen. It’s just another reason why KL&A is a great place to work.


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