The Role of Employee Referrals in your DEI efforts

Tiffany Jin
Co-Founder
December 3, 2023
Blog
2 min read
What is DEI?
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, three key concepts that are often used together to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments where everyone can thrive.

It’s human nature to “stick to what’s familiar” and this means surrounding yourself with those that look like you and come from a similar background. Therefore, this logic might lead to the thought that a company focusing on increasing diversity in their existing homogeneous workforce might want to stray away from referrals, as it would promote more of the same.

However, employee referrals can be a powerful tool in promoting a company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. We're not just talking in terms of race and gender, but by also including all members of your workforce from corporate to frontline. Of course, this requires thoughtful and intentional efforts. We’ll dive into some of the ways you can move the needle on DEI utilizing the power of referrals. 

Ask and encourage it

By strongly encouraging not just any referral, but diverse referrals - it sets the starting line for receiving what you ask for. You can even set reward parameters with diversity goals in mind. Find ways to more effectively encourage and incentivize URGs (underrepresented groups) within your company to refer to those with diverse backgrounds. This can include tapping into the networks of your different ERGs (employee resource groups). “You never know until you ask” never applied more here.

Ask your community

The next point here may seem as obvious as the one above, but if the thought is that your existing base isn’t diverse enough - then look outside that base. Every company has a wide external community—friends, family, investors, customers, social media followers, etc. With the right personalized and targeted messaging, you can engage different parts of your community in helping you find the best talent from a variety of places. In fact, around 41% of referrals come from external non-employee sources. 

Inclusive to all parts of your workforce

Finally, employee referrals can be a great way to identify talent including the non-corporate parts of your business. Often, these positions may not be as visible or highly prioritized as other roles in the organization, but DEI doesn’t stop after diversifying your C-suite and Exec group. Ensuring you extend your programs to those who don’t work at a desktop daily or have easy access to your referral portals is another way to continue to push the needle on inclusivity at the workplace. 

Employee referrals can be a valuable tool in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts. As such, it's important to encourage your employees to refer talented individuals from all backgrounds and to make sure that your referral program is accessible to everyone in the organization.

Learn how Eqo helps make work environments more diverse and inclusive.

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