February 2, 2022

Creating a Referral Culture

Dana Nielsen
February 2, 2022

Creating a Referral Culture

Dana Nielsen

Research has proven there are many benefits to hiring referrals. Whether achieving a shorter time to fill an open role or an opportunity to increase employee retention, candidates who are referred can positively impact a company’s recruitment efforts. As Spreetail continues to scale, we focus on this one fact: it takes every team member to build the best team and culture for success.  

To create a referral culture at Spreetail, we wanted to make submitting referrals as seamless as possible. If a team member has identified someone in their network they’d like to recommend for an open position, they submit a form in our applicant tracking system (Lever). Through company-wide surveys, our People & Culture team discovered how invested Spreetailers are in their referrals and how transparency is key for team members to continue to refer talent. Communication with both referrers and referrals throughout the interview process is top of mind for our Talent Acquisition team. When submitting a referral into our applicant tracking system, a Spreetailer can see the interview stage their referral is in, the last date they were contacted, and whom the recruiter is assigned to the role. Our recruiters evolved their process and now also send an email to the referrer, informing them if their referral is continuing throughout the process or no longer being considered.

Our applicant tracking system also provides every user with a unique referral link to share on their personal social media platforms. We support those who want to share career opportunities with people in their networks with graphics, images, videos, and recently opened roles. We’ve witnessed Spreetailers’ success stories by sharing their unique social referral link on LinkedIn, one of our team members had 99 people apply within three weeks of seeing her post! This is a great referral tactic as our employees are the best representation of what it’s truly like to work here and are able to effectively answer questions from interested candidates about our business and culture.  

“I earned the Hawaii referral trip by sharing my referral link on social media platforms and taking advantage of LinkedIn’s premium account free trial to search for people who may be interested in exploring a career at Spreetail.” - Kurt Anderzhon, Sr. Channels Performance Manager

With a distributed workforce, our employees use various systems in their day-to-day work. Throughout the year we are consistently hiring talent for our fulfillment centers across the country. These team members are embedded into their communities and have successfully helped us build and grow teams in multiple cities by submitting referrals. However, we recognize that their day-to-day does not always consist of working on a computer with the ability to submit referral forms and share their unique social referral links. We added the option for their referral to list their name during the application process. This brought ease to many employees who are sharing our openings through channels that are most convenient for them.

Parker Van Roy, Director of Merchandising, and his wife headed to Hawaii in 2019 after achieving the fourth tier of our referral program.

During onboarding, we train new hires on all the ways they can refer former coworkers, family members, and friends to Spreetail. We encourage these new team members to review our company values first and foremost when thinking through their networks about whom they can refer to add to our culture. Second, we advise reviewing the job postings for skills required and reaching out to the hiring manager and recruiter on the role for additional information.  

Whether you’ve been at Spreetail for five months or five years, we want to keep referrals top of mind throughout your career as we are constantly opening new roles on new teams. To reward Spreetailers for adding great talent to our pipelines, we developed a tiered referral program. Team members are eligible for prizes once their referral is hired and can accumulate the tiers within any timeframe. Throughout 2021, 347 prizes were awarded to Spreetailers across different divisions, departments, and locations.

  • Tier 1 = Spreetail branded backpack
  • Tier 2 = $100 gift card to retailer of choice and Spreetail crewneck sweatshirt
  • Tier 3 = Airpod Pros with a Spreetail case or a Spreetail branded cooler
  • Tier 4 = Trip for two to Hawaii including airfare, lodging, rental car, and a Polynesia luau
  • Tier 5 = Smartwatch of Spreetailer’s choice
  • Tier 6 = Staycation including $500 for a hotel and activities
  • Tier 7 = Technology device upgrade or $1000 cash bonus
  • Tier 8 = International Excursion – choose your own adventure!

“I didn’t grow up having an opportunity to travel due to my family circumstances. Spreetail’s referral program not only gives you great gift prizes but offers experiences through trips as well. Traveling can be expensive, but with our referral program, I knew I had the opportunity to beat that hurdle! Each tier you have something to look forward to, but what I strive for the most are both Tier 4 and 8. These tiers include trips to beautiful locations both in the US and Internationally. I couldn’t be more thankful for our referral program because of this perk. I can now look forward to going places I never thought I’d be!” - Marissa Carr, Payables Associate

Social impact is woven throughout our culture. We hire team members who care about their communities and their ability to make an impact. Spreetail inspires these team members to give their time, energy, and resources to communities through a variety of perks and opportunities. In 2020, we were refreshing the referral program when we realized we were missing out on an amazing opportunity to give back. Now at any tier, Spreetailers have the option to forego receiving a prize and select a nonprofit to donate a designated amount to (from $50-$2500). Since launching this initiative, team members have donated $6,250 to both local and global causes they are most passionate about.

Once a month in our weekly company meeting, we announce the referral prize winners from the previous month. It’s a great time to highlight the work our team members have done as well as share tips and tricks on how to identify referrals and earn additional prizes. Spreetail’s Talent Acquisition & Brand team offers advice on leveling up LinkedIn skills to source people outside of your immediate network as well as ideas for sharing open roles on their personal social platforms.

Brei Wagner, Sr. Culture & Communications Manager, and her husband enjoyed the provided luau during their trip to Hawaii.

We continue to track referrals submitted by location and division, finding ways to support our team members who are looking to help hire great talent and head to Hawaii! In addition, one of our Talent Acquisition & Brand Team’s goals is to track how many of our total hires are referred. This ensures we are not only receiving referrals at the top of the funnel, but that these candidates are also aligning with our focus of building the best culture and team for Spreetail’s success.

If you’d like to enjoy an all-inclusive experience like Hawaii, check out our job board and apply to join our team.

Dana Nielsen

Sr. Talent Brand Partner

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