Transform your employee referral program

A Workforce Management and Ohio State University study found that candidates hired through an employee referral had a 25% higher retention rate than those hired through other means.

Simple steps to transform your referral program

employee_referral_programsThe recruiting industry is full of ideas on how to optimize your Employee Referral Program and improve the quality of your referrals while reducing time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. Let’s take a look at some simple steps when combined with the right tools can transform you referral program.

  • A catchy program name, punchy tagline, and custom logo. Make sure your program messaging stresses the benefits to the employee, as well as to the company and the employee’s friends.
  • Branded giveaway materials, such as mouse pads, water bottles, coffee mugs, laptop bags, and apparel.
  • Periodic awards ceremonies at which employees who earned referral bonuses receive oversized novelty checks, much like sweepstakes winners.
  • Quarterly prize drawings for employees who make successful referrals. These prizes can be awarded in addition to any predetermined bonus checks.
  • Recognition at various steps in the process,  not just at the end-point.

An ERP can’t just be something that lives on an intranet page, likely to be seen only by employees who are looking for it. Driving participation in your ERP will require consistent marketing to your entire employee base.

Market your employee referral program

As with other programs,  communications plays an important role in keeping your ERP top-of-mind with employees, consider a program newsletter that interviews employees about how they have used their bonuses, inspiring others to achieve the same success.  Send targeted messages to employees who work in specific geographies, or who are most likely to have connections that can help fill your hottest job openings.

Deliver a positive employee referral experience

A second key priority in optimizing your ERP should be to deliver a positive referral experience for your employees. Your goal? Increase employee participation by making it easy for every employee to source talent.

  • Incent employees to keep referring talented contacts.
  • Ask employees regularly for referrals. Send automated, targeted emails that encourage employees to submit the names of their most qualified contacts.
  • Help employees dig into their social networks. Don’t assume your employees will remember all the relevant contacts in their Facebook or LinkedIn account. Chances are, they have hundreds or even thousands of connections and won’t be able to recall offhand which

Help employees share jobs quickly and easily. Employees don’t want to add more footwork to their schedules, even if there’s a chance they’ll earn a $1,000 bonus check. If you want to maximize participation in your program, you’ll need to help employees refer their friends within a matter of a few clicks.  Give your employees as many convenient ways to make referrals as possible – email, social channel, resume uploads, etc.  Use social matching technology to reach these connections automatically can be a great solution.

Continually assess your employee referral program

And as you optimize your ERP, you should frequently reassess whether your rewards serve two purposes: driving employee participation, and ensuring a high quality of referrals.  Evaluate if your employees they types of rewards, gifts, or charitable donations that are most highly? If you don’t know the answer, consider running a survey. Ask yourself:

  • Should we offer employees a choice of rewards? Sometimes options drive participation but too many choices can be overwhelming and can actually diminish interest among would-be participants.
  • Is our program attracting top performers? Consider how you keep employees engaged through the process while driving high quality referrals.
  • Does our program build teamwork and pride among the workforce? What elements of the program is helping/hindering building that pride?

According to recruiting thought leader Dr. John Sullivan, you should “instill in your employees that the primary reason that they should refer people is because the team wins ‘when it has the best players.’

Optimize the candidate experience

In their hurry to make the ERP as easy and as appealing as possible for employees, companies often neglect to optimize the candidate experience. Provide the best possible candidate experience, keeping in mind that you’re not just striving to avoid committing breaches of etiquette and other relatively minor mistakes. Providing a positive candidate experience enables your company to build a superior employment brand. This, in turn, will help ensure a pipeline of talent for future open positions.

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About the Author

Perks WW Employee Experts

Engaging employees of various backgrounds, interests, and generations may seem next to impossible. As an employer you want to reward your workers on an individual and meaningful level for reaching business goals, but may not have the time or knowledge to do so. If your organization is suffering in the areas of: retention, attracting new talent, low satisfaction, or safety issues among others, consider partnering with Perks. By pairing our Science of Motivation™ methodology with your unique business needs, our incentive programs have a proven track record of strengthening all areas of employee engagement, most importantly: productivity and ROI. Our programs provide unique employee engagement solutions by rewarding workers based on performance. Whether rewarding an employee for going above and beyond, referring new talent, or taking the necessary steps to prevent workplace accidents, Perks will work with you to design the ultimate incentive program to meet your needs.

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