It’s no secret that referral hiring is growing in popularity as one of the top ways for companies to find new talent. Referral hires tend to fit into the workplace culture easier, onboard faster, and stay with a company longer, making referral hiring a desirable way to go - especially if you find yourself with high turnover roles. So the question isn’t should you be using an employee referral program, but rather how you can use it to ensure the best results.
A fruitful employee referral programs needs a relevant incentive to stir up some excitement. Many companies reward employees with a cash reward if their referral is hired on successfully. It doesn’t even have to be $1000-$5000 type of bonus, rather it should be something that tells your referrer that you appreciate their help in filling a role. It’s essential that this reward is given in a timely manner; if not, you’ll lose all the goodwill.
Starting an employee referral program is hard, but worth it. Not only are they the most productive source for diversity hires, but they stay longer, are a better fit, and and cost less.
4 Secrets to Ensure Success with Your Employee Referral Program
If Rachel refers her friend, Dan, for a position within your organization and Dan applies, that is an excellent start! If Dan waits around for a couple of weeks without hearing anything from your organization, he’s going to keep asking Rachel about it. If Rachel hasn’t heard anything either, she’s going to get frustrated with the workplace for making her look like a bad friend, and Dan may get frustrated with Rachel. This could negatively affect your brand as an employer. Don’t let your employee referral program put your employees in a difficult spot. They delivered on their end, so it’s up to you to ensure there’s a process in place to deliver timely responses and updates. If employees catch wind that your organization blows off employee referrals, it won’t take long for the program to turn into a ghost ship.
The last thing you want your referral program to do is cause you legal issues. Diversity in the workplace is always something to keep in mind, and being conscious of that as you review your applicant pool will ensure that you can utilize the benefits of a referral program without causing harm. First of all, it’s okay to let diversity goals be known and encourage employees to recommend candidates from all backgrounds. An easy way to prevent inadvertent discrimination is to ensure that referrals can be accepted from anyone and everyone, not just a select few or only the department you’re hiring for. When considering these potential hires (both employee referred or otherwise), make sure you’re using the same set of criteria to measure their eligibility.
Spread the Word
This might seem obvious, but people aren’t going to refer anyone if they don’t know there is an employee referral program. Go into the office tomorrow and ask coworkers if they can tell you the reward for successfully referring quality candidate and/or new hire. If the response is a blank stare, you are missing out on potential resources - and it’s time to rethink how you’re promoting your program. Don’t assume that everyone realizes there is an employee referral program (or knows how it works). Have regular communication about it from time to time - at least whenever a new role is open - and collaborate with your organization’s marketing department for assistance with internally promoting the program.
Make it Easy (Make it Mobile)
No one is going to be willing to make referrals if the process is not easy to do. The art of referral hiring relies on an employee to tap into their social network, so it makes sense for this process to be in the same mobile world where social media exists. Online resources are available to help get your employee referral program up-to-date and online, making it easy for employees to make referrals and for you to find the right candidate, all in a streamlined process.
Referral hiring needs to be given serious consideration with every job opening you encounter. But in order to get there, you need to devote some time to building out a smooth process so you can save time and resources, and source successfully within your referral hires. Looking for more inspiration? See how these companies are winning with their employee referral programs.