Even a perfectly designed employee referral program can be rendered useless if no one knows how it works, or that it even exists. Properly promoting your program is equally as important as having one in the first place, but maybe you don’t have access to a marketing department to help spread the word. Don’t fret! Here are some ways to unleash your inner marketer and take back your employee referral program once and for all:
4 Ways to Unleash the Inner Marketer Inside You
Understand Your Audience
One of the first things a marketer considers before starting a project is their audience. Who are you trying to get the message to? When it comes to your referral program you should have one audience in mind: your referrers (whether external or internal). While the success of an employee referral program hinges greatly on the engagement of the employees, it's just as important to think about external referrers. What’s the best way to communicate with employees in your organization? The answer to that can vary from one workplace to another, and even from department to department. Where some companies have everyone at a computer using email, others may have departments where employees are rarely at their desks. How do your employees respond to the program incentives?
Keeping employees engaged in the program
Like a marketer who is always actively listening to what's being said about the brand they represent --- as practitioners you should always be listening to your employees and understand where they stand with the company. One of the leading authorities on compensation, PayScale, found that the average tenure for an employee within a Fortune 500 company is 3.6 years, which is roughly on average with Deliotte's 2016 Millennial Survey. This is your greatest challenge when learning to promote and constantly engage employees in the workplace. If you're skimming the blog (we get it, short attention span, not enough time in the day, but really great content) this next point is the one to take and run with today.
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to find out how your employees wish to communicate is to, well, communicate with them and ask.
It's ironically one of the greatest pitfalls to marketers -- and one that is often overlooked. As practitioners, we get it, you're probably running at 100mph and have no time to stop, take a step back, and understand what's at the core of your employees, but trust me, it's worth it. You'll understand what type of content they read, how they digest, when they digest, what they're doing when they digest (hopefully not at work!), but keeping employees engaged in your program is all about communicating with them and understanding them at the core.
Not sure how to begin? Start with an employee survey. It's easy, [should be] anonymous, and allows you to build a employer brand that is engaging, and representative of your employees -- and guess what? That 3.6 years figure will increase to 4, then 5, and then you'll have employees with tenures of 10+. The ability to engage will make or break your employee referral program and the best way to engage is to understand everything, from the good to the bad.
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 cost less.
Marketers love automation -- you should too!
Gone are the days when a stack of fliers in the break room was the only method to spread the word about something. Thinking like a marketer means keeping up with the latest technology - and today’s referrals are done online. Let technology do the work for you and make the workflow of your referral process as convenient and automated as possible. An online referral program with mobile capabilities, social sharing, and texting functions make it oh-so-easy for your employees to share job opportunities. On the recruiting end, all parties involved (candidate, referrer, and hiring manager) will have access to data and insights in one transparent tool and streamlined process.
Be creative, be social, and repeat.
If you read this and you're like "I put in 60 hours a week, when do I actually have time to be social and creative?" The answer to your question is how do you not have time not be creative and social? This stat has probably been pummeled in your face, but they say that it takes about 7 times for something to stick to long-term memory and 21 days in a row for a habit to form. On average, 40% of hires come from referrals. Okay, now say that 7 times in a row.
Just know, repetition is key when creating and promoting an employee referral program. It's not only important to be able to defend your program by understanding key hiring metrics, but by forming a habit of promoting the program, telling your employees about new job openings, and reminding them that the employee referral program still exists will be not only repetitive, but just as important. And, now we've come full circle. The habits that you create also starts to form habits with your employees. An employee referral program that is on autopilot is the dream for any practitioner -- you can live that dream.
If you forget everything you just read, remember this, at the core of an employee referral program is thinking like a marketer. In order to think like a marketer, you must first know your audience and understand them at their core. That's the secret sauce. Completely lost? Do you feel like you're program has be chugging along for so long that you don't know how to put the brakes on and start engaging your employees the right way? You're in luck, we do.