5 Simple Ways to Kickstart Your Employee Referral Program


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Taking these steps can set you on your way to getting maximum results from your employee referral program, which can be a highly useful tool for the HR department.

Article 3 Minutes
5 Simple Ways to Kickstart Your Employee Referral Program

If your business often encounters difficulties when it comes to finding and hiring the people and skills you need in a cost-effective, efficient manner, there's a good chance you could have something to gain from introducing an employee referral program.

Incentivizing your existing workforce to recommend candidates they believe would be suitable to fill roles within the organization can offer a number of benefits, such as:

  • Reduced time-to-hire
  • Lower risk as candidates are essentially pre-screened
  • Access to hidden talent and passive candidates
  • Easier onboarding if referred recruits are already familiar with your people and organization

To ensure you're not missing out on these advantages, it's important to carefully manage your employee referral program in order to deliver optimum results.

Here are five steps you can take to get the best out of employee referrals:

1. Keep it simple

The process of referring friends or contacts for a job opening shouldn't feel like extra work for your employees. The more difficult, complicated, or time-consuming the referral process proves to be, the less motivated people will feel to get involved.

Keeping it simple will maximize participation, so it's worth thinking about opportunities to remove any unnecessary conditions, steps, or complications that might be putting people off.

2. Ensure staff understand the role in question

Your employees shouldn't be expected to know every role in the organization inside out, especially if it's not in their department. But it's important for people to have a clear understanding of the position you're recruiting for so any referrals they make are informed and relevant.

It's therefore advisable to ensure that every post you open up to employee referrals is accompanied by a useful explanation. This should cover not only what the job entails, but the type of person and particular skill set you're looking for.

3. Consider dedicated software

Modern-day software platforms can save you a lot of time and effort by automating key parts of your referral scheme. This gives the HR team more time to focus on other business needs. It can also prove beneficial to integrate your referral software with your applicant tracking system, to streamline the entire hiring process as much as possible.

4. Recognize good referrers

Most employee referral programs will offer some sort of financial incentive to encourage people to get involved, but other ways of thanking staff for successful referrals can go a long way too.

Managers going out of their way to acknowledge and personally thank people who have made a big contribution to the business through the referral scheme can boost morale and motivation within the workforce.

It's also worth considering adding non-monetary incentives to your program, such as leisure experiences or an extra day of paid annual leave.

5. Get staff feedback

When you’re working to improve your employee referral program, one of the most valuable resources at your disposal is your workforce.

There is a lot to be gained from asking your employees to give their feedback on the program, whether they’ve taken part in it or not. Staff who have participated can share their first-hand experiences of what they feel did and didn't work, while those who haven't might be able to tell you what is holding them back.

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