When Premiere Conferencing (Malaysia), (PGi) applied a multilevel marketing strategy in its new staff referral programme, little did it know that it would be setting a new standard in the country altogether.

In fact, judges at Human Resources' inaugural Asia Recruitment Awards were so impressed by the programme that they presented a gold award to the company in the best staff referral programme category.

Held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the silver award was presented to Fairchild Semiconductor (Malaysia).

PGi's original staff referral programme held several challenges for the team, including a lack of staff awareness about the programme. This had led to the firm's employees not taking the initiative to participate in the programme at all.

In implementing the new referral programme, the firm enhanced its interaction and relationship with the employees to enable them to work in partnership to fulfill the company's talent sourcing needs.

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It adopted a multilevel marketing strategy into its referral system and practiced 3R strategies – “Relationship, Recognition and Reward” to enhance the effectiveness of its referral programmes.

To improve the communication on the referral programme, a weekly “PGi Asia Pacific Current Job Opportunities” email alert is now sent to all Asia Pacific employees on the current openings, each vacancy was hyperlinked with latest job description.

The company also published the referral bonus RM1500 in the email to attract attention.

"We encourage our employees to refer others to our work place and we want to reward them for being PGi employer brand ambassadors, " Mandy Mellis, senior vice president, human resources, Asia Pacific Japan, said.

These efforts paid off, as currently, 58% of its successful hiring is performed through employee referral. The company managed to hire 12 employees through employee referral programme in 2013 and 15 employees in 2014.

Fairchild Semiconductor (Malaysia) also saw similar improvements in its referral policies

Formerly known as National Semiconductor, the company was incorporated in 1971 and is the pioneer semiconductor company in Penang & Malaysia.

Before January 2012, Fairchild Penang operators and other employees were not motivated to refer their friends or relatives to work in the company as operators, as the programme did not cover referral for the position.

As a result, the company was dependent on foreign contract operators to cover critical production lines during festive occasions in Malaysia.

To solve the problem, the Fairchild Penang Employee Referral Programme was extended to Direct Labor (DL) or operator level to encourage hiring of local operators into the organisation.

Upon confirmation of a new employee, the referral was rewarded RM300, followed by another RM300 after six months, and RM 400 after the first year of the new staff member.

As a result of these efforts, the company was able to boost its talent acquisition and retention rates.

As at April 2015, the firm retained 63% of the referred hired candidates from the exempts category, 66% from the  non-exempts category and 33% of the direct labors hired via the referral programme.