Referrals are the backbone of success for SEEK Careers. The woman-owned commercial staffing agency has been in business since 1971, when Carol Ann Schneider started the company out of her bedroom. Today, SEEK places candidates in light industrial, skilled manufacturing, and office positions out of their 20 branches across Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“Staffing Referrals is a digital referral engagement platform that allows you to communicate with your ambassadors and leads on a regular basis and makes the referral process easy.” ~Sara Luchsinger, vice president of organizational development, SEEK Careers

In their over 50 years in operation, SEEK has developed a vast network of talent, and that network has always been a key source of new candidates. Prior to partnering with Staffing Referrals, they had a referral program, but they’d noticed that the number of referral bonuses they were paying out was declining drastically.

“We didn’t have a lot of traction in our existing referral program,” said Sara Luchsinger, SEEK’s vice president of organizational development, who’s in charge of internal technology projects. “We wanted a tool that would help us manage our referral program in a way that wouldn’t take a lot of time for our branches and our accounting team.”

Staffing Referrals filled that need.

“Staffing Referrals gives us the ability to have continual communication with our brand ambassadors and digitized the tracking so we can easily see who’s eligible for payment. It also offers transparency so our ambassadors can see the status of their referrals and what bonuses they’re earning.”

“My goal is to pay our ambassadors to be our job board.”

Since launching Staffing Referrals a little over a year ago, SEEK has attracted more than 1500 referral leads, and approximately one-third of those have turned into placements.

“We get most of our employees through referrals,” Luchsinger said. “It’s our strongest acquisition code. If you combine Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and all of the other job boards we use, they might equal what we get from referrals.”

“So far, we’ve paid out $91,000 in referral bonuses and made $350,000 in gross margin on those placements. That means we’ve made nearly three times our investment in those referral leads.”

There are three main factors that Luchsinger said have contributed to SEEK’s success with Staffing Referrals:

  • Buy-in from executive leadership. “Our CEO supported the initiative and encouraged our employees to use the platform.”
  • A dual-sided referral bonus. “We had always had a one-sided referral bonus before. Our numbers have gone up since we implemented a dual-sided bonus because it’s more of a win-win for both our ambassadors and our candidates. For me, this was the biggest aha moment.”
  • Positive peer pressure. “Our recruiters started hearing from their peers how well it was working.”

The candidates SEEK gets from referrals are also of higher quality than the candidates they get from other sources. “These candidates are invested in showing up for work,” Luchsinger said. “They feel a sense of ownership for ensuring the people who referred them get their bonus. So, we see a higher level of success from the referral candidates than from people just applying from a job board.”

“We like to work with companies that are invested partners in our business, and that’s the experience we’ve had working with Staffing Referrals.”