Employee engagement drives the success of every Employee Referral Program. If employees aren’t engaged, they’re not likely to invest time, energy and their own reputation to invite friends or family to consider employment opportunities with your company.
The following 6 practices encourage direct engagement with your referral program and create a fun and successful environment around recruiting efforts.
1. Rapid Response Is King
A critical feature of any referral program, responsiveness will serve to either increase program loyalty, participation and engagement or drive apathy and indifference for your recruiting efforts. A lack of responsiveness has been noted as the #1 program killer.
Making a referral represents a significant emotional investment on the part of your employee; it’s not just your company’s reputation on the line, it’s theirs. They need to feel that you value their input, and that comes through the attention you give to their efforts.
2. Educated Referrers Are Empowered Referrers
The more knowledgeable an individual is, the more successful they can be. For your referral program to prosper, you need to do more than say, “we need to hire an X.” You need to educate your employees on the specific attributes and experience that you’re looking for to fill the position, but this encompasses more than just the job description.
Train your employees on how to make a referral in more engaging and compelling ways. Empower your employees with resources, such as referral cards to hand out or sharable videos highlighting the strengths and perks of your company, so that they can share with confidence. Additionally, stress that the most important reason to make a referral is to bring in the best possible candidates to maximize the success of not only the company but also your employees.
3. Avoid Feedback Failure
Feedback should be an essential element of your program. Employees need to know how their referrals stack up so that they can be more effective. Keep notes on each referral and share them with the referrer following the hiring process. Help them better understand your expectations and hone their sense of what successful candidate look like.
Don’t focus on poor referrals either; share feedback with successful referrers as well. Sometimes a great candidate will be referred, but won’t be offered the position. Reach out to the referrer and share you thanks for their efforts and let them know that their contact was a quality referral. If you don’t, and another similar position opens in the near future, they may not even consider their friend this time around because they feel that their contact isn’t good enough anymore.
4. Incentivize Action
Everyone likes to be thanked for the contribution, so the question for you is how to best do this. Although being paid is always appreciated, there are other methods available. Consider the following list:
- Personalized thank you note – great for all referrals, not just hires.
- Charity donation options
- Prize drawing for referrers
When it comes to paying referral bonuses, keep a few things in mind. Referral bonuses should not be identical across the board. Offer greater rewards for hard-to-fill positions and jobs that are a priority for your business initiatives. Sometimes it’s also a good idea to give a much-larger-than-normal bonus for a position, just to get your employees’ attention and revitalize employee attitudes toward the referral program.
5. Second Place Should Stand for Something
Throughout the hiring process, you want to have as many quality applicants as possible. In an ideal world, every one of your employees would recommend someone. At the end of the day, however, only one person will be hired; and unfortunately, that often means that only one individual will be recognized for their referral.
This can be demoralizing for employees who often refer quality individuals who don’t quite make the cut. Rewarding referrers of “almost-hires” in small but significant ways will keep everyone involved and energized.
Your employees likely feel that they’re busy enough already, so don’t make referrals a burdensome process.