Following best practices of employee referral programs can be a great asset for your company if it is being run efficiently and effectively. As Gerry Crispin has stated that employee referral programs are the silver bullet for recruiting. For your employee referral program to be its best, there are some best practices that need to be followed. It is not sheer coincidence that most companies on the Forbes “Best Places to Work” list are companies that have very strong employee referral cultures. Many of these companies have 50-80% of overall hires come from referrals, which allows them to bring in top talent, keep costs down, and drive a vibrant work culture. Most other companies are less than 25% and they can’t be okay with that. This post will discuss what the best practices are for an employee referral program and how you can implement them.
Marketing to the Right Group
One of the most important aspects of marketing a job in an employee referral program is to make sure you’re marketing to the right people. You need to engage people who fit the profile you’re looking for. As we said in our previous post, 8 Employee Referral Program Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them: Part 2, discussed how employees know like-minded people. Before posting a job and looking for referrals, analyzing the role and market it to employees within the organization who already have those skills, as they are most likely to know someone that fits.
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Now you know whom to engage, let’s discuss the how. Money isn’t everything, as you need to do more than just offer a cash reward for a referral that gets hired. This article looks at “51 Ways to Reward Employees Without Money.” You need to be creative with the employee referral program. One idea can be to dress it up to tie in with something that’s happening in pop culture. For example say the new James Bond or equivalent spy agent movie is coming out, you can rebrand your employee referral program, making every employee spy-agents to lookout for the next great talent. Be creative. The more fun your employees have, the more they will want to remember and participate as a brand advocate.
Refreshing the Program
Your idea is a hit and employee referrals are up. So it’s time to put your feet up and relax, right? Wrong!! People will get bored with a stagnant program and you will have to work to keep it fresh. We suggest you change the program every quarter, but if that’s not possible at least every six months. Continually educating your employees with small increments of ways to identify talent by understanding your culture is imperative. Ways to do that include a lunch and learn teaching employees or just simply an email explaining how recruiters compare two candidates.
Have to Reward
You now understand how to build an employee referral program, let’s discuss how we can reward employees. There are two ways to reward employees, extrinsically and intrinsically. Looking at extrinsic, one must of a great employee referral program is to build experiences, in addition to the usual monetary rewards. These rewards can include vacations, tickets to movie premieres, charities, or even a new car. Companies such as TrueCar, or NetApp have actually given away cars! Intrinsic rewards can range anywhere from learning opportunities or recognition. Recognition doesn’t need to just happen after the hiring stage though. You can recognize/reward employees when they make the referral or when an interview is requested. This recognition can be as simple as a thank you. It shows that you appreciate the employee’s effort. This past post: You had me at “Thank You”: Intrinsically engaging employees for Strong Employee Referrals, goes into more detail about rewarding employees.
How is this done?
Now your employee referral program is built and you understand how to run it effectively. How will employees make referrals and how are we going to keep track of everything? We suggest automated programs to gather the referrals and keep track of probation periods for hired candidates. Making it easy for a referral to be made will make your employees more interested in making one. Once the referral is made an automated system should track everything, so not to tie up someone in your department.
When you get your employee referral program clicking the way you’d like the net result will be building a better recruitment culture. In turn you’ll have better quality employees and see retention rates increase.
Do you have any questions? Is there anything that we may have missed? Let us know.