Leading in Leads: Reinvigorating an Employee Referral Program


Leading in Leads: Reinvigorating an Employee Referral Program

When you are trying to find computational scientists, a modeler who can recreate an airline cockpit or a cyber expert with intimate knowledge of DoD regulations around Authority to Operate, employee referrals become critical to finding the right people at the right time. Lynn Dugle, our CEO, is a champion of Engility’s employee referral program. She believes it symbolizes that we are offering something unique here at Engility, which our employees want to share with others. By extension the program has improved employee retention and continues to attract new employees to participate and refer on a regular basis.

At the beginning of January 2016, less than 1% of the employee population was participating in the referral program. As of September 2017, the number of employees participating has increased to 25%. The increase in participation, and overall success of the program, is attributed to many factors, including executive buy-in, creative communication strategies and simplified program access for our employees.

Referrals Are Essential

Central to every talent acquisition strategy is a successful referral program. As the single most successful source of hired employees, referral hires typically excel in their jobs, stay longer, fit in culturally and experience higher levels of job satisfaction. Leveraging referrals and empowering employees as Talent Scouts promotes Engility as a destination employer and proves that we have something unique to offer in today’s populated government contracting marketplace.

Leading In Leads
Example ads from referral program communications to employees


Executive Buy-In

A top-down emphasis on referrals that starts with our CEO sets us apart from others in the government contracting industry. That alone is possibly the most influential factor in the success of the program. Additionally our employees receive a consistent level of responsiveness from the program in regards to solving inquiries and answering general questions. Employees can send inquires to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to get a status update on their bonus, policy inquiries and other items.

Make It Easy

In the summer of 2016 we launched the new Internal Career & Referral Portal. This successfully integrated the existing internal career portal with referral functionalities, allowing employees to make general and job specific referrals through an automated system. From the program’s perspective, the integration dramatically improved data integrity and enabled robust metrics. It was a win for everyone.

The Payoff

The interest and leadership of our CEO in the program has driven many of its improvements, and we are now beginning to reap the benefits. The percent of hires of referrals in 2016 was 28%. This value has increased to 30% YTD in 2017. Bonus payouts in 2017 are on track to double what was paid in 2016. And more than a quarter of our workforce is now participating in the referral program! We’re hopeful that many more of our employees will take up the mantle of Engility Talent Scout and keep the referrals coming.

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Posted by Ashley Alligood

Ashley Alligood is a Virginia native who studied psychology at Radford University. After graduation she joined the government contracting community of the DC metro area and began her career in talent acquisition. Joining Engility in March of 2016, Ashley manages the Employee Referral Program and is dedicated to its growth and success.