The 3 Best Employee Referral Program Starters

Recruiting Tips
Monday, Jul 25, 2016
The 3 Best Employee Referral Program Starters

It’s a fact: employee referrals are one of the most successful talent sourcing methods available. On average, 24 percent of new hires originate from a referral, but some companies see rates up to 40 percent. Not only do good people attract more good people, but once they’re in the organization they want to stay longer and work harder. Having friends at work is exactly what keeps many employees steadfast in their current roles and organizations, happy with the company they keep.

Consider the following ideas and guidelines when creating your own employee referral program to make sure that your employees are attracting more of the best of brightest.


1. Make It Authentic

Before you can come up with a program that successfully connects current employees with prospective ones and engages job seeker interests, you first have to find out what it is that initially drew your best performers to your organization, and what keeps them there. Seventy-six percent of employers identify cultural fit as a high priority when screening job candidates, so defining your culture in clear terms ivs important.  

Whether a progressive, fast-paced start-up with non-traditional perks, or an industry mainstay with a solid 401K and a work-hard-play-hard attitude, be honest about your goals and vision and communicate them internally and on your career site. Job seekers want to know the benefits and opportunities for development at your company, and your employees should be your best spokespeople.

2. Make Employee Referrals Easy

Once you’ve established your employer brand and how to identify the right cultural fits, it’s time to design your process. Your employee referral program should be created with all immediate stakeholders in mind: the employees, their contacts/potential hires, and recruiters. Starting with your talent acquisition software platform, you can create a branded company referral portal that integrates directly with your ATS, pulling in all referral data along the way. Through this portal, employees can quickly and easily upload a resume with a few clicks.

Using a talent acquisition software suite, you can also automate job postings through social networks allowing for even easier promotion of open roles through a massive group of employee connections. With this practice, all employees have to do is share customized links on their social profiles. An application to a specified role can then easily be traced back to the referrer, who then can offer more insight into the candidate who applied online.

3. Make It Worth It

Naturally, a hiring bonus is the standard for employee referral incentives, usually based upon items such as the new employee’s skill level, employment level, and length of time successfully in the role. Cash is a surely great incentive, but it’s not the only way to push participation. Have some fun with your employee incentives. Consider something different, like time-off, a paid trip, charitable donations, or an exclusive event with company leadership.

In addition to perks, also make sure that you’re respecting the time and opinions of your employees. Nothing will kill an employee referral program faster than inefficiency. Let both the job seeker and the referrer know when the recommendation has been received, and keep them in the loop as much as possible with check-ins throughout the process. By nurturing the relationship with transparency and communication, you can ensure that your all-star employees will be happy to keep sending great candidates your way.