Employee Referral Programs: The Best Recruiting Strategy You May Be Missing (Part Two)

By: Mike Kuenzi


Now that you know the benefits of a strong Employee Referral Program, what can you do to make your Referral Program successful?

Here are 5 things to remember:

  1. Make it Easy – Don’t make people jump through hoops.  Create a repeatable process that can be completed in a few short steps.
  2. Promote your Values – An Employee Referral Program is a great way to get your company’s core values to the center stage. For example, you could ask that each employee submits their referral by citing examples of how they have seen this possible candidate display the company’s core values personally and/or professionally.  Taking the time to have employees include this when referring someone helps ensure that your culture will never be at risk.
  3. Incentivize and Reward – Create a Referral Program that will be enticing for your employees.  Knowing the overall cost savings from an internal referral, create a monetary reward for referred candidates that becomes an employee.  For quality vetting of candidates, it can be effective to pay out half upon hire and the other half after 3-6 months.  Remember, rewards can also be non-monetary: gym memberships, half-days or extra PTO, award programs, hand-written thank you notes, food days, etc.
  4. Market Internally/Constant Communication – Remember, communication and top-of-the-mind awareness is key to Employee Referral success. Talk about it in training, bring it up in meetings, and even send reminder messages from time to time.  Success stories are also inspiring.  Highlighting high-performing employees that have come out of referrals will hopefully encourage others to participate in the program.
  5. Treat Referrals with Top-Notch Service – Show your appreciation by rolling out the red carpet for internal referrals.  This treatment alone will lead to repeat recommendations.  Make sure to respond in a timely and friendly manner to all internal referrals, set clear expectations, and keep your employees in the loop on where their referral is in the hiring process.  If you treat this process with great care, you will quickly see more of your employees becoming ambassadors, and more candidates moving forward in your hiring process.

Please remember that a strong employee referral program isn’t meant to replace your internal recruiting team or recruiting partner.  Its purpose it to provide a supplemental source of top candidates for your talent acquisition function.

Learn more information on how to start an Employee Referral Program.

Or, check out Part One of the blog, Employee Referral Programs

(Sources: LinkedIn, Forbes, RippleHire, Huffington Post, Quartz, Salesforce, Undercover Recruiter, Glassdoor)


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