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5 Powerful Methods to Promote Your Employee Referral Program

December 29, 2016
iCIMS Staff
4 min read

As a successful recruiting professional, you realize that your company’s current employees have the ability to be your best hiring tool and you’ve established an employee referral program. But, you may be wondering, how do you successfully promote it?

Here’s five powerful (and proven) methods to promote your employee referral program and bring in quality candidates.

1.     Educate your hiring managers

People trust and value the opportunities they hear about from friends and family. From new hires to existing employees, it is vital to educate all employees on the benefits of having an employee referral program and make sure they know about the tools available for them. Share data and statistics with your executive team, directors, and hiring managers on companies who have reduced their time-to-fill and cost-per-hire metrics as a result of their employee referral program (ERP).

Ask your directors, managers, etc. to then share this information with their team members and encourage them to refer friends and family who might be a good fit for the company. When a new hire gets onboarded, make sure you are providing them with detail regarding effective employee referral programs and how yours has helped (or is going to help) your company grow. This is your opportunity to also inspire them to sign up for your program at that time. Depending on your needs, hold weekly, monthly, or quarterly information sessions that open a dialogue with your employees on the importance of referrals.

2.     Partner with your marketing department

By joining forces with your marketing department you can get creative with how you market your employee referral program to the company and use their expertise to reach more people.

  • Provide regular updates about new job opportunities to increase awareness and enhance employee engagement.
  • Encourage employees to opt into automated social sharing to expand job posting reach and source best-fit candidates.

3.     Keep it easy and rewarding to submit qualified talent 

Employees likely won’t make referrals by their own initiative just based on the jobs that appear on your career or social networking sites. Participating in the referral process needs to be intuitive and simple for them. Branded employee referral portals provide an easy, direct, and quick way for current employees to submit qualified candidates they already know are great. If you want to continue to increase employee referral participation and success, offer compelling incentives and find creative ways to keep them top of mind. Let employees know what reward they’ll receive if they make a successful referral. Incentive programs can include anything from PTO days or cash bonuses to employee-wide recognition. Remember there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to referral incentives or motivators. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your employees continue to see the direct benefits to them and their team. Match rewards and recognition to employee interest and expectations whenever possible.

4.     Shine a light on your employees who participate

By acknowledging and highlighting employees who participate in your employee referral program, you keep referrals top of mind and help enforce a positive employment brand. Plus, the power of the program will increase as your employee count does. Regularly communicate employee referral success to increase employee interest. This will bring a more humanistic approach that your employees will likely remember and be proud of. The more employees that participate, the more networks of family, friends, and former colleagues you have to tap into. Besides, your current employees have a good understanding of what you expect in an employee and therefore, the candidates your employees refer are more likely to have the skills, personality, and other key traits you’re looking for. This can help you find qualified talent quicker while filling positions with the best people.

5.     Marry your employee referral program to your technology

If you have an applicant tracking system (ATS), you can likely take advantage of employee referral technology. Having a central location for tracking referrals will help you evaluate the success of the program and see where improvements can be made. Do not waste time on difficult recruiting technology that has you going back and forth between multiple systems. If you don’t have an ATS consider getting one to remain competitive. Be sure your recruiting technology supports your employee referral program and hiring process efforts as a whole—inviting employees to participate, requiring minimal work from the recruiter, and having insight into an accurate view of the impact of employee referrals across the company.

By using these five methods, your company can reap the benefits of an active employee referral program. Simply put, employee referral programs (and the employees that come from them), are the gifts that keep on giving.

Reviewed for accuracy on February 25, 2021, by Danielle McClow. 

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