Nike to offer employees $5,000 for tech referrals as it struggles to keep hold of talent

Nike has started to offer employees bonuses of up to $5,000 for referring new tech workers, while it grapples with internal turmoil and top talent leaving their positions.

The sportswear giant is currently undergoing a digital transformation as it aims to establish itself as technology leader.

“Employee referrals make a huge impact on our brand, company and teams because you know first-hand how important our culture is and what it takes to be successful,” an email announcing the program, which was signed by chief digital information officer Ratnakar Lavu and global technology vice president Denise Hadley, read.

The move comes to combat the worker attrition and employee dissatisfaction that the company has been observing as of late.

Employees are currently working to roll out a new global enterprise-resource planning, or ERP, system, which is the technological backbone of the company, part of an ongoing shift to more direct sales under John Donahoe, the CEO of Nike.

The new ERP system went live in China in July, and Donahoe recently informed analysts that the system is due to go live in the US in fiscal year 2024, Business Insider reported.

“This year, we will begin to see value from our biggest investment in Nike’s digital transformation, our new ERP,” Donahoe said on a June earnings call.

“As we shift to an increasingly direct-to-consumer future, a new ERP will be foundational for increasing speed and agility across our supply chain.

“This will give us real-time visibility to inventory across our network plus dynamic transactional capabilities to optimize consumer demand and inventory productivity.”

An increase demand of its IT department has prompted the sportswear giant to seek more tech workers to fill the roles.

However due to a hotly contested job market, companies often rely on referral schemes to attract workers.

Of the 1,732 open positions posted on Nike’s website, 644 mention technology, including openings for software and data engineers and technology managers, Business Insider reported.

Some tech workers in the industry make a habit of job-hopping to drive up compensation packages. This makes it tough for companies to keep hold of talent.

“They’re struggling even getting candidates for roles because of the pay and in-person work expectations,” one worker told Business Insider.

The company announced in April that it was expanding its remote work options to include up to four weeks of fully remote work per year, as part of a bid to incentivise workers to stay in their positions amid ‘The Great Resignation’.

Nike has previously drawn criticism for hiring too many friends and family members of employees.

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