Commend (or recommend)… it doesn’t just happen!

Have you ever thought about what transpired throughout your experience that encouraged you to commend a restaurant? Or, what about the mobile device that you probably have in your hand? What about the actions that happened that influenced you to click the “like” button on a product or company’s Facebook page? Why did you feel comfortable to give this recommendation? Most likely it was due to the experiences you received while interacting with them.

There is a process that one goes through to build that comfort to commend something. If done well, the time it takes to advance through each stage decreases. These stages are consider, commit, contribute to commend. See the chart below and think of those experiences that happened that led you to the next stage.

Consider – Commit – Contribute – Commend

Per Merriman-Webster, commend means “To recommend as worthy of confidence or notice”. Pay attention to the second part of that description –“worthy of confidence”. When one commends (or recommends) something, there is a sense of confidence that others will have the same experience.

So, what does this have to do with attracting and retaining talent?

Commend, in its basic sense in HR organizations, is employee referrals. There isn’t much out there that wouldn’t say employee referrals weren’t valuable. If you still aren’t convinced, read Dr. John Sullivan’s  ( article on ERE Dr. Sullivan talks about how referrals provide a quicker time to fill and longer retention rates, among other positive results. Though he gives us current numbers, he isn’t telling us anything we haven’t heard.

So, why is it that we’ve known for years the value of referrals and still we are spending tremendous amounts of money on non-referral-based programs because the organization isn’t capturing the results Dr. Sullivan referenced?

The results of your employee referral program has little to do with what the program outlines. It does, however, have everything to do with the experiences you provide to an audience. Remember the above definition of commend – “To recommend as worthy of confidence or notice”. Did you or are you providing the same experiences that the referrer received? If not, you are breaking the confidence in your company as an employer. This will decrease the effectiveness of your employee referral program, not only with the amounts of referrals, but, the talent audience will decide either not to join, or eventually leave the organization.

So, you can have the most amazing employee referral program, offering your employees thousands of dollars. You could also have the latest and greatest online social recruiting referral tools. However, if you aren’t able to build confidence throughout the experience, you will always be reallocating resources and/or investing in other means while continuing to see the same results.

What are those experiences of attracting and retaining talent? What are those experiences that increase the confidence of your company as an employer? They are the same that you experienced that led you to recommend that restaurant or mobile device. Those products or services built a sense of confidence in you about them. This confidence brings an emotional sense of commitment or loyalty. However, it didn’t happen instantly. These products and services needed first to get you to consider them before you said “yes, I’ll use them”. Once you agreed to move forward, you made a commitment to them to continue experiencing them. You then began to return, to get more out of the experience they provide – you are now contributing to their success. Once you reach this stage, they are worthy of your confidence to commend them to others.

So I ask you… are your efforts supporting this engagement cycle of Consider, Commit, Contribute, and Commend? Or are you investing in resources without creating the experiences that increase confidence in your company as an employer?


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