5 Elements of Top Employee Referral Programs

Aug 30, 2018

Employee referrals are the best source of hire. They reach the candidates that job boards, agencies and recruiters can’t and referred candidates tend to stay with the company longer. They have the best applicant to hire ratio and take less time to hire. Here are 5 elements that are common among top employee referral programs.

Top 5

1 Ease of use

How much information is required to make a referral? Sometimes golden referrals are people the employee used to work with and the only connection they have is through LinkedIn or Facebook. In a situation like this, requiring detailed information about the referral isn’t an option. A name and a way to contact the person should be all they need to submit a referral.

It also helps if your referral program has social media integration with personalized referral links so that employees can post openings and job boards to their profile pages and get credit when their connections follow the link and apply. This empowers them to become brand ambassadors for you.

Allow employees to log into the referral portal via SSO. Give them multiple SSO options if needed. Show new employees how to log into the online referral portal and submit a referral during the onboarding process. New employees are a gold mine for referrals so don’t hesitate to ask if they know someone who would be a great fit for an open position.

2 Rewards

Rewards are a great motivator to encourage participation in a referral program but if employees have to wait 120 days before receiving a bonus the excitement can start to dwindle. Here are some ideas on how you can reward employees faster and receive more referrals as a result.

  • Micro rewards - Consider giving away small rewards such as a gift cards or movie tickets for referring a qualified candidate.
  • Referral reward upfront - When employees get their bonus as soon as their referral gets hired they have a great incentive to keep referring. Some companies have significantly lowered their referral bonus when switching from a scheduled bonus to rewarding upfront and their number of referrals increased.
  • Non monetary rewards - A handwritten note from management or an honorable mention in a meeting can be a quick and simple way to give employees recognition for their efforts.

3 Engagement

Top employee referral programs are always coming up with new ways to keep their employees engaged and making referrals. Here are a few ideas that can help boost participation.

  • Rotating engagement email - Even the best emails become stale after a while. Regularly changing up your emails will help keep things fresh.
  • Text Employees - Not all employees check their emails nor do all employees have a company/personal email. Texting them regarding program opportunities can be a big boon for your program.
  • Raffle or drawing - When you occasionally offer a raffle or drawing with a sweet reward it can serve as a great talking point for marketing and mentioning referrals in meetings.
  • Swag - One way to keep referrals front of mind is by giving employees swag with the referral URL on it. Items that employees use regularly and keep on their desk are most effective.
  • Public Recognition - Draw attention to the referral program in positive ways by honoring those who participate in meetings.
  • Friendly Competition - Pit departments, locations, divisions or regions against one another and dangle a carrot to create fun, excitement and activity in your program.

4 Automation.

You just don't have time to manually track your program, create engaging content, leverage social and expect to get anything else done...you need automation. Our software has several features that reduce admin time and keep employees informed. These features include:

  • Engagement emails which are tailored to location and position of your employees showing only the most relevant job openings.
  • Our software automatically syncs with your ATS so you are not entering information in several locations
  • Tracking - When employees can see the status of their referrals it reduces anxiety and keeps them engaged.
  • AutoShare - makes it easy to share openings on social media.
  • Bonuses and rewards are automatically tracked for payroll.

5 Referral-Worthy Workplace

Great company culture creates fertile ground for a flourishing employee referral program. When employees are happy it’s easier for them to make referrals. 5 common things people want from a career are:

  • A good company culture.
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Flexible hours and autonomy
  • Higher salary
  • Benefits

Leveraging internal mobility with your employee referral program is a great way to address several of these areas at once. When employees have the opportunity to express their desire for movement within the company and the company has visibility to these desires it creates a recipe for success. Employees can now expand their skills at your company (rather than somewhere else) and this adds to a positive company culture which inevitably enhances your employee referral program.