Are You Maximizing Your Employee Referral Program?

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You have heard the saying before, “Good people refer good people”. So why are some company employee referral programs more successful than others?


Step 1: Communication

Do your employees even know which positions are open? The recruitment department may overlook that their current employees are not aware of the positions they are sourcing tirelessly on, when, a few cubicles down, Susie has a previous colleague who may be a potential fit for the role. Open roles need to be communicated regularly, and through multiple channels – newsletter, internal website, slack channels, Teams site, emailed, etc.


Step 2: Treat Referrals like Gold

When an employee refers a candidate – speak with them! Even if at first glance their resume may not seem like a fit, the employee felt they had a background worth sharing. Take the time to speak to the candidate and learn about their background and career goals. Maybe there is another role or department they could fit into or maybe you stay in touch for future positions. Whether the candidate continues in the interview process or not, be sure to communicate the next steps to the employee and thank them for their referral.


Step 3: Compensation

Monetary or not, employees want to be compensated for their referrals. Agency fees can be upwards of $20,000 for a placement fee, so offering $1,500 for an employee referral bonus is a steal. Also, research shows that referred individuals typically get up to speed faster, report a higher level of job satisfaction, and stay with a company longer, therefore being a strong investment for a company. During a high volume or critical job search, increase your employee referral bonus to $5,000 or even $10,000. This type of incentive will give employees the motivation to actively tap into their networks instead of passively referring candidates when a colleague or friend reaches out to them.


Step 4: Recognition

What about the employees who are referring candidates, but for one reason or another their referral does not get hired and therefore no bonus? It is important to recognize employees who refer candidates – regardless of the outcome. Maybe highlighting their efforts in the company newsletter or a raffle entry for each name referred for a gift card of their choice – anything that shows the employees you value their time and effort.


Step 5: Communication, again

Because good communication is always worth repeating. There is nothing more detrimental to a candidate experience than not receiving feedback during the interview process. Always ensure they receive a timely response, and you can guarantee the candidate will speak highly of your company, even if they do not get the job.

To make your referral program successful, remember to communicate, compensate, and recognize the efforts of your employees, motivating them to keep up the useful leads. So, go out and start successfully recruiting, and use your team and their network to find the perfect fit for a position!