5 Ways to Strategically Increase Referral Program Effectiveness

Jan 14, 2016

More and more companies have turned to employee referrals as a principal source of prospects and hires in recent years. That doesn’t mean, however, that every business is an employee-referral expert. Incorporating the following five strategies in your Employee Referral Program will help strengthen your referral program and maximize your recruiting efforts:

1. Set Measurable Goals

If you want results, then it’s time to set some goals. Goals for your referral program help to establish accountability for its results; and when you make your goals measurable, you not only establish accountability but also build credibility for your actions. Because you’ll be accountable for your program (and because you’ll want to take credit for its successes), it’s very important to set realistic expectations.

To do so effectively, you’ll need to keep track of current efforts and the results you’re generating. Establish a benchmark and a clear understanding of where your program stands. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and set well-defined goals that will encourage the participation and activities you want your employees to engage in.

2. Define Employee Incentives

As much as we want employees to be team players and voluntarily participate in referral programs, they often need a little incentive. Establishing a reward structure for your program is vital to your success, because everyone likes to get paid. That doesn’t mean, however, that all your rewards have to be monetary. Your reward system can include any or all of the following items:

  • Personal “Thank You’s”
  • Charity Donation Options
  • Prize Drawings for Successful Referrals
  • Cash

Incentivizing referral activity is crucial to getting results; but more importantly, your incentives act as an extension of your brand and your retention efforts. It’s an expression of the value you place on your employees and can serve to revitalize existing employees and appeal to potential employees.

3. Prioritize Jobs

Let’s face it, some jobs are more important than others, and that’s not always a reflection of a position’s pay-grade either. Certain positions offer vital strategic thinking and guidance, while others focus on the production of deliverables and getting the job done. Prioritizing jobs generally takes two forms:

  • Incentives–Increase the reward for a given position.
  • Outreach –Widen the group of employees targeted in your referral solicitations.

Whatever the significance of your open positions, your hiring efforts should clearly reflect their importance to your business initiatives.

4. Tie Recruiting Efforts to Social Media

The proliferation of social media has had a significant impact on recruiting efforts, particularly in the realm of employee referrals. Many of the connections that your employees have with other professionals occur through social media platforms. Providing your employees with the means to simply convert their social media relationships into referrals is essential.

Your corporate brand has a direct correlation to your recruiting efforts. Developing a strong employer brand makes it easier for employees to approach and build relationships with other professionals. A compelling brand and external image also serve to convince your employees’ contacts to accept a referral.

Branding extends to more than your advertising efforts or a prospect’s recognition of your company. It also encompasses the workplace and the culture of your office. Make it easy for prospects to find compelling stories about your office environment and any best practices or best-place-to-work awards that your company has received.