Sonae Arauco Employee Referral Program

What did you want to achieve? 

Like a lot of companies these past years, we faced increased pressure in terms of talent attraction and recruitment as well. The talent war topic became even more pressing after recent social-economic events, with a higher turnover rate reflecting the willingness of the employees to search for opportunities that better match their interests. This linked to our internal aging demography, and presence in countries with a low unemployment rate, creating an increased pressure in terms of recruitment. It was more important than ever to think of new ways that would mobilise the company in this trial, and would help to tackle the challenge to find the right talent for open or new positions. 

What did you do?

We thought that our biggest asset, our people, could be the key to help us tackle this problem. With a workforce of almost 2600 employees of more than 35 nationalities, we had a potentially extended talent pool, that we could tap into. This would be possible, if we could engage our employees and motivate them to serve the company as ambassadors by sharing our opportunities in their personal/ professional networks and by helping us find candidates with the right profile that match our culture and recruitment needs. 

We decided to implement an Employee Referral Program, establishing a reward for employees who referred a candidate, in case he/ she is selected and worked with us for at least 6 months. 

With this program, we aimed to capture great talent and at the same time recognise the employees that support us in finding this diverse talent pool to address the company’s needs.  

The Employee Referral Program was implemented in all geographies and open to all employees in the company. We wanted to foster a spirit of inclusiveness and belonging, making this open to each business lever, from operators to senior managers. At the same time, we aimed to foster an increased social awareness and engagement with the communities, since the bonus in these particular case reverts to social responsibility (an entity of the choice of the employee). 

What are the results so far?

Sonae Arauco’s Employee Referral Program was implemented in July 2022, and since then, we had more than 60 recommendations of possible candidates to enlarge our talent pool. We were also able to fill more than 25 open positions in all geographies!  

Furthermore, this initiative has also served as a motivating factor for our employees. They found the reward as an additional compensation and recognition, not only on financial point of view, but mostly because they felt more valued and happy to be able to contribute to address the recruitment challenge in a very tangible way.

What have you learned? 

In the deployment of this initiative, communication has been the key to help leveraging this program. We used posters, flyers, articles in our internal newsletter and recently an institutional video sharing the first success case, in order to spread the message to all employees and make the initiative more visible in all sites. 

One critical point in our dispersed geographical presence was the adjustment of the reward to the geography, the support to the critical talent issues and also, to make it more attractive in the referral process by choosing what could be the reward that best suits our people (money, travels, days off etc).