Employee referral programs can help you grow your business by finding top talent you can trust. These programs encourage your existing top performers to help you find new job candidates to fill open positions faster and with better results. In addition, employee referral programs encourage your employees to help you network while encouraging candidates to apply for open positions.
Of course, you might be asking yourself why your employees would take time out of their day to help. Employees feel the pain of labor shortages and they want their department to be fully staffed with qualified personnel. They know the job requirements quite well and can help find people who are a good fit. Employees also enjoy the referral bonus that comes with helping the company to grow. This article will discuss how you can start getting your employees involved with referrals to improve your hiring process and help your company find the best candidates to fill open positions.
What to Consider Before Starting an Employee Referral Program
Your employees will be your biggest asset for a referral program. They help you find the most qualified employees which can lead to a reduction in employee turnover. However, there are a few things to consider before implementing your program.
Good company culture is an important prerequisite for any referral program. Disgruntled employees will not help you find new employees to fill open roles. However, employees who are engaged and motivated at work can help you find the best employees. Consider performing an employee satisfaction survey before designing a referral program to ensure your employees are interested in helping you. If you find your employees are dissatisfied, this could be a long-term project so it's best to tackle those issues in conjunction with developing a referral program.
Your employees must know your company, brand identity, and values if you want them to be ambassadors and help you find candidates. Teaching these points in company meetings and providing them with educational resources to help them understand the company's mission and goals can help in this area.
Getting creative with referral rewards will encourage employees to participate. When you are ready to launch your referral program it’s a good idea to have a kick-off plan. One company handed out a box of sweets to each employee that said “introduce us to your peeps.” Promotions such as a raffle also help get employees excited to make a referral. You may consider conducting a survey to discover the rewards employees would enjoy the most.
How to Get Employees Involved With Referrals
Once you've determined an employee referral program is the right way to help you find qualified candidates, it's time to start developing your plan for getting employees involved.
1. Use Software
Referral program software can help you track where the employee referrals are coming from to help you reward employees when the time is right. A good program can automate many of the administrative tasks as well as the marketing. Integrations with your ATS and HRIS help streamline the process and ensure that you are not duplicating work. These integrations can also provide employees with useful updates and provide a holistic experience.
2. Choose Good Rewards
Earlier, we discussed the importance of offering rewards to incentivize your employees to get involved. Have fun with this area and use it in your marketing efforts. Some ideas include:
- Cash bonuses
- Gifts and gift cards
- Raffle off a vacation with all expenses paid
- Donate to a charity of their choice
3. Program Promotion
Creative reminders are the lifeblood of any referral program. Here are a few ideas to help you promote your employee referral program:
- Internal communication: Promoting the referral program in Slack, email, and other forums can help your employees learn about the offering.
- Meetings: Have managers mention the referral program in meetings. Consider putting together a slide presentation to help employees understand the benefits of the program and the types of rewards they can earn.
- Onboarding: New hires are a gold mine for referrals. Teach them about the referral program as part of the onboarding process.
- Promotional Materials: Consider hanging posters in the breakroom or sending out a flier with the company newsletter.
- Company Swag: Give employees t-shirts or trinkets that make them a walking branding tool for the program.
4. Make the Process Easy
The referral process should be easy for employees to participate in. If the process takes too much time or is too difficult, your employees won't do it. You can make it simple by creating a short online form for employees to fill out.
Using unique referral links, can make it easy for employees to share job listings with potential candidates. Your employees can send these links out online or post them to social media and get credit when their friends apply.
5. Keep Employees Informed
After an employee refers someone to work at your company, they're going to be interested in getting updates. Not being informed about the candidate's status can be frustrating for employees, making them less likely to refer to people they know in the future. While you aren't expected to hire every employee's referral, you should still keep them posted on where a candidate they referred is in the hiring process.
A successful employee referral program can help you find qualified candidates based on your employees' personal connections. However, if you don't have a process in place for rewarding your employees or handling an influx of applications, you won't be able to take full advantage of the program. So, before you start asking your employees to make referrals, develop your referral program to ensure your employees know what to expect.
By Ellie Williams
Ellie Williams holds a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality with a minor in Marketing from Chico State University. She enjoys doing freelance writing on general business, wellness, and lifestyle tips. During her free time she enjoys catching up with friends and family or attending local events.