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PhD Expert Series: 17 Practitioners on How to Be Creative with your Employee Referral Program

Posted by Bridget Webb on Feb 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM
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The employee referral program is one of the hardest programs in HR to not only start but to keep employees engaged. We sourced our own networks and the networks of others in order to find the best advice from a practitioner who has either started or maintained a program all the way up from the 10,000 person company to a 100 and below company. The advice these practitioners are giving transcends industry and in most cases --- company size. 

So sit back and join us for what we're calling the PhD Expert Series on employee referrals. 

17 Practitioners Give Advice on Starting an Employee Referral Program

The most unique thing about this group of individudals is they've either started an employee referral program from scratch or they have helped maintained and saw the growth of it. The PhD (short for Preferhired) Expert Series will be a four part series asking practitioners from companies, like Dell, HomeAway, Microsoft, and Zenoss, for their advice on a sucessful employee referral program.

Being creative is a key component of utilizing employees when it comes to an employee referral program. Whether you're thinking like a marketer or partnering directly with your marketing team -- it's important to be creative throughout the entire process. 

PhD Expert Series"What is the most creative way you've utilized your employee's for your recruiting efforts?"


Jennifer Newbill
Director, Global Employment Brand
LinkedIn Profile

"We have had open houses and ice cream socials where team members bring their friends into the open house. There is a mini job fair so that the referees can ask questions and talk to leaders and teams about their openings. We also have job fairs for internals only where referrals are sought. So, basically it is teams that collect in a space and basically just talk about their teams and request referrals. We have done give aways for sales including XPS 13 and Alienwaresystems!" - Jennifer N.

Liz Bronson
Owner/Lead Recruiter
Liz Bronson Consulting
LinkedIn Profile

"We've hosted several different types of referral contests that have kept employees engaged year round." - Liz B.
Al Pollard
Manager, Human Resources 
LinkedIn Profile
"When I worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car I designed and maintained the employee referral program for Washington State. Did several things over the years... paid $1000 cash after they start, each month give the employee with the most referrals a day off and I work in their place. Provide referral business cards to leave with people at other companies who may be a match for Enterprise. Ask them for 5-10 referrals when they start and provide an incentive for doing so. Employee referral lunches where the referrers and referees are recognized." - Al P.
Robin Schooling
Vice President, Human Resources
Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge
LinkedIn Profile
"We created 2 sets of 'business cards" for employees hand out; the first has the web address of our career page and is one they can pass out to friends, family or acquaintances. The second card is one that can be handed to a person who has providied excellent customer service during a personal interaction; a server, a bartender, a valet attendant or whomever. As we are in the hospitality and entertainment business we are ALWAYS on the look-out for individuals who are friendly, attentive and keen to provide an exceptional guest experience. If they have those qualities we use this card to not only thank them but also invite them to consider a career with us!" - Robin S.
Carmen Hudson
Principal Consultant
Recruiting Toolbox
LinkedIn Profile
"From billboards to buses, we've done it all when I was at Yahoo!" - Carmen H.
Amy Miller
LinkedIn Profile
"We have targeted specific leaders / team members to speak about their businesses / exciting projects at candidate centric mixers." - Amy M.
Aaron Kraljev
Manager, Employer Brand 
Wells Fargo
LinkedIn Profile
"Social recruiting and storytelling." - Aaron K.
Tiffany Lee
Manager, Global Employee Brand
LinkedIn Profile 
"We've helped them create summaries for their LinkedIn profiles, and other personal branding efforts. Weve used them in videos showing what a great referral looks like. We use and employee advocacy tool to encourage sharing to their personal networks." - Tiffany L.
Pam Rosenburg
Talent Acquisition Recruiter
LinkedIn Profile
"Emails were our bread and butter." - Pam R.

Alex Brown
Recruiting Manager, Candidate Experience and Social Media
Fiserv, Inc.
LinkedIn Profile

"Random drawings for branded swag and technology prizes for those who referred a candidate that made it to interview; an array of prizes and awards to encourage good quality referrals, not just quantity, and to recognize the effort even if the referral doesn't make it to hire." - Alex B.

Jessica Steinberg
Director, Employer Brand
CDK Global
LinkedIn Profile 

"We're planning to feature real success stories in upcoming monthly marketing campaigns!" - Jessica S.
Brie Bastidas
Senior Recruiter
Upstart Talent
LinkedIn Profile
"Referral marketing contests have worked well for us in the past -- we would incentive top referrals in order to gamify the entire process." - Brie B.
Bretney Skipp
HR Operations Specialist
LinkedIn Profile
"Social Media has always been a successful tool for us to use within our employee referral program" - Bretney S.
Jeff Waldman
LinkedIn Profile
"Employee referrals and recruitment marketing are key." - Jeff W.
Amy Esry
Human Resources Consultant
Hausmann-Johnson Insurance
LinkedIn Profile
"Encouraging activity in social media, using employee photos and talking about the fun things we do, and asking employees to Like, Comment and Share company posts." - Amy E.

Andrea Devers 
Human Resources
LinkedIn Profile

"Building passive talent pools from referrals." - Andrea D.

Jessica Boyd
Talent Brand & Social Media Manager
LinkedIn Profile

"Implemented a new tool, held contests, but also created big check moments to drive awareness of our program. And have employees share jobs to their networks through an employee activation tool." - Jessica B.

Check out our latest eBook, 5 Building Blocks to a Better Employee Referral Program, as it walks you through the five critical steps in building a program that has the potential to save you thousands. Don’t wait. Grab your free copy of our eBook here.

Topics: employee referral program

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