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Ask HR: How Can Employees Help Recruit New Workers?

​SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here. 


Our workers consistently tout how much they enjoy working for our small marketing services company and rave about our benefits. However, we still have difficulty filling positions. How can I best lean on our workforce when it comes to recruiting? —JC  

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: On the heels of the pandemic, recruiting has become a significant focus as employers try to keep up with candidates' shifting priorities. Tapping into your current workforce is a great way to support recruiting efforts and, ideally, connect with individuals who share common values with your staff. It is also great to hear your current workforce enjoys working for your company and appreciates your benefits!

You can lean on your workforce in a variety of ways. Consider using an employee referral program incentivizing staff to refer quality candidates by offering monetary awards if the referred candidates are hired. Believe it or not, small and midsize employers have found adding a $1,500-$2,500 referral fee incentive program excites their current employees, reduces the average time to fill vacancies and increases new employee retention. Opportunities to earn extra cash always make employees happy and boost morale.

Also, you can encourage employees to post open positions and share relevant content about your company through their personal social media accounts. This can help build your employer brand and draw interest from candidates interested in learning more about your company.

Feature employees on your careers site. Interview current employees and have them share why they love working for your company. Be sure to ask employees why they love the benefits, as well.

Another option to consider is encouraging current employees to leave online reviews of your company. Most candidates research online employer reviews before applying for a job or accepting an offer. Employee reviews can help give candidates insight into your workers' experience and support recruitment efforts. 

In addition to leaning on your workforce to help with recruiting, there are other considerations to keep in mind. As a marketing company, you know the importance of branding. It may be helpful to assess how your brand may or may not be helping your recruiting efforts. Examine your social media platforms. Can candidates get a sense of what it may be like to work for you? If not, consider boosting your social media pages to include information about your benefits, the type of career positions in the organization, your mission and your values. Photos of workplace events and videos of staff talking about their experience working for the organization can give people a better sense of what it's like to work there. 

By taking these steps, you will be well on your way to having more success with recruitment!

I have a niche, but important, role in writing the standards for coding and processes for our nationwide centers. My work is impactful across the nation and preserves millions of dollars for my company. In nearly 22 years, I have had only two raises through multiple changes in ownership. Inflation increases over that time dwarf my total pay increase of 11 percent since starting. I am humiliated and embarrassed by my income and the runaround I get from bosses and our HR department. What can I do? —Ralph

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Your frustration is understandable. In such a long career, most people expect more-significant financial gains, especially if they have contributed positively to their employer's long-term growth and success. You'll need to do some homework if you want a fruitful and focused discussion with your management and HR.

Start your research in these three key areas:

  1. Your specific position and career path at your company and across the sector.
  2. Your company's performance.
  3. Data regarding your industry and sector.

Use external and internal sources to determine your role classification. Where does your salary fall in your position's pay range for the position and your local region? Is the position considered entry or midlevel? If so, you may be maxed out of the pay range. In addition to salary range, employers often have duration expectations for certain positions. Your long tenure might exceed your employer's planned time frame. Simply put, they may expect the job to transition to a more advanced position or there may not be a direct career advancement from your role.

Understand your company. Is their business growing or shrinking in the market? Your company changing hands multiple times may signal its limited value. If this is the case, they will look to reduce expenditures, including wages.

Understand your sector. How has growth been in your industry? Often, poor-performing industries only experience growth by merger or acquisition. If your sector isn't thriving organically, employers may be reluctant to invest money when they don't expect a commensurate return.

Consider the larger economic climate. Now that we are entering a period of economic slowdown and employers are announcing major layoffs, you should be very careful about negotiating a new salary. If you are too aggressive, they may simply replace you.

All that said, I think you should meet with your management and HR to respectfully request a salary increase based upon your loyalty, performance, contributions and tenure. Understanding the larger dynamics contributing to your employer's decisions will help you make the best decision for your career.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.