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How Flagger Force Used Beekeeper to Save $250,000 Through Their Employee Referral Program 

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Frontline workers are the engine that drives any business. At Beekeeper, our mission is to keep that engine fired up by empowering frontline organizations with technology that keeps employees engaged and happy.

“We have to engage in a very people-driven service delivery. Without our people, without them being engaged and understanding the company, we can’t deliver. It’s people out there creating work zones and keeping people safe.”

– Chris Byerly, Director of Brand & Strategy at Flagger Force

One of the biggest challenges frontline organizations face is hiring and retaining employees. According to Deloitte, 71% of CEOs say that the labor and skills shortage is the biggest disruptor in 2022, up from 32% only two years ago. 

Factors fueling the shortage include:

  • Accelerating technology adoption
  • Generational and cultural shifts in expectations 
  • Language barriers across a mobile workforce

These factors are making it harder than ever for companies to engage with their employees. For the traffic control company Flagger Force, keeping their highly dispersed workforce engaged in an industry known for high turnover was a challenge.

A recent webinar explored how Flagger Force created a strong employee referral program to address the labor shortage.

Panelists included:

  • Charlotte Buffington, Head of Customer Success at Beekeeper
  • Connor Hunsicker, Enterprise Success Lead at eduMe
  • Tamara Palmer, Internal Communications Manager at Flagger Force
  • Chris Byerly, Director of Brand & Strategy at Flagger Force

Let’s recap what we discussed.

Saving Money and Retaining Employees Through a Strong Employee Referral Program

When Flagger Force partnered with Beekeeper to relaunch their employee referral program, their goal was to use the platform to combine monetary referral bonuses with new hire mentorship.

Flagger Force refer to earn

“Our strategy was to create awareness and illuminate success stories around the people who we were bringing in through this referral program and how we were supporting them as newly hired employees.”

– Tamara Palmer, Internal Communications Manager at Flagger Force

The results spoke for themselves:

  • Over 800 referrals, of which 30% were hired
  • 100x increase in hiring rate
  • $249,000 in annual retention savings

The new referral program successfully helped Flagger Force source and hire new talent. Not only was the company able to hire more employees out of a larger pool of referrals, those hires often stayed with the company longer than employees they hired through traditional methods they had used previously. At a time when new hire churn rates are at an all-time high in frontline industries, this increase in referrals and retention rates is huge. 

In fact, employees hired through the Flagger Force referral program stayed with the company an average of 50 days longer than employees hired through other methods.

This led to an estimated $250,000 in cost savings in terms of training and onboarding. And that doesn’t even take into account the revenue brought in by employees hired through the new referral program.

How Flagger Force Built a Roadmap to Referral Success

Flagger Force started with some referral program best practices that the company adapted to their own needs. Those best practices were to:

  1. Market the referral program to the existing employee base using Beekeeper
  2. Find program champions to take advantage of the referral program
  3. Create strong participation incentives, like “hours worked” milestones
  4. Leveraged promotion to advertise the program
  5. Connected with employees after each milestone through one-on-one messages
  6. Celebrated milestones publicly across the company

Celebrating a Program Champion: Ernest’s Story

We’ve talked about the metrics and business outcomes of Flagger Force’s referral program, but let’s look at an example of how it worked in practice through the lens of one special employee: Ernest McFadden.

Flagger Force Ernest

Ernest’s achievement of referring four successful hires was only one of his contributions to the program. He also mentored new hires to support their needs so that they can achieve certain milestones. Not only did Ernest help other hires achieve their goals, he did so in a way that brought him benefits as well. 

This process created more opportunities for new hires to engage with the company early in the onboarding process, setting them up for success in the future.

The visibility of Ernest’s story and the impact he made were visible to other employees and leadership through Beekeeper. This created a model for others to follow and displayed the tangible, human results of the program.

Who Are Our Best Employees and What’s Their Story?

The leadership team at Flagger Force became aware that the referral program was also a great way to find talent.

“When you look at the people who are highly engaged in our platform–supporting people, telling stories, liking comments, etc.–those are often the people getting promoted and rising up in the company.”

– Chris Byerly, Director of Brand & Strategy at Flagger Force

Eugene Bougher, a field leader at Flagger Force, was part of an expansion team in North Carolina. In the 60 days he spent there, he took pictures of what was going on and shared the details of his experiences through Beekeeper. 

Eugene’s storytelling made him the voice of this expansion. When the leadership team was doing a corporate retrospective, they invited Eugene to participate. This eventually got Eugene promoted to field leader and he continues to be an active platform user to this day.

Continuous Learning: How Flagger Force Uses eduMe

Flagger Force continued to expand its employee referral program by using Beekeeper’s ability to integrate with other platforms. For Flagger Force, the integration with the highest impact was the mobile-based training platform eduMe.

Flagger Force Skills Training

One of Flagger Force’s biggest priorities is compliance and awareness around employee safety. With a dispersed workforce, the company wanted to enable continuous learning around topics of safety.

We want to make learning short and sweet so that employees can digest information and, ultimately, upskill themselves, do better when they’re at work, and become more productive.
– Connor Hunsicker, Enterprise Success Lead at eduMe

With eduMe, Flagger Force was able to create a digital microlearning strategy that delivered information in small segments on a continuous basis. Instead of one-time training sessions that often lead employees to forget what they learn, Micro Learning aids in long-term retention. eduMe also makes learning convenient by providing one-click access to learning in an app that employees are already familiar with.

Watch the webinar to hear more about how Flagger Force leveraged Beekeeper and eduMe to set their workforce up for success.