Easy Steps to Building a Successful Employee Referral Program

professional skills

Bringing in new hires through employee referrals is a great way to save time and recruit like-minded job applicants. You can build your own successful program by recruiting employees, offering incentives for referrals, announcing job vacancies regularly, and promoting the program throughout the company.

Employee Referrals

Employee referral (or involvement) programs can help to promote current employee participation in achieving company goals as well as bring qualified professionals into the workplace. Here are four easy steps for building a successful program with your company.

Ask an employee to make a referral for open job positions.

Step One: Recruit Your Employees

Recruiting your own employees to help fill open positions within the company through referrals is a cost-effective way of achieving quick hires. Taking advantage of your employees' connections with friends, family, and acquaintances can cut down on the time required to sort through resumes and screen applicants. Your employees will most likely have a good idea of which individuals possess a similar mindset, talent, and passion for their chosen career field. Invite your employees to help in the footwork, and don't forget to let them know that their hard work won't go unrewarded!

Step Two: Announce Job Vacancies

The only way your employees will know who to refer for which positions is if you promote those open positions on a regular basis. Announce job vacancies at employee staff meetings. Provide a brief job description as well as a list of qualities the company is looking for in a candidate. The following forms of workplace communication can help you get the word out about hiring opportunities:

  • Interpersonal Communication - Inform department heads of job openings, which they can in turn pass on to their employees during weekly meetings or chat time around the water cooler.
  • Written Communication - Use employee e-mails, newsletters, or inserts in paychecks to announce upcoming job availability.

Spread the word about job vacancies and encourage employee referrals.

Step Three: Offer Incentives for Referrals

When encouraging employees to refer like-minded professionals to fill workplace vacancies, make sure they don't go unrecognized. The number and value of perks or incentives can start small and grow depending on the number of referrals. For instance, provide small incentives for referrals, even if the individuals aren't hired. Give larger rewards to employees whose referrals are hired.

Here's a list of possible ways to provide incentives:

  • Equip employees with personal business cards to pass on to referrals.
  • Recognize employees through a special staff meeting or ceremony accompanied by a courtesy meal.
  • Celebrate by holding month-end drawings for different prizes (i.e. gift card or merchandise).
  • Reward employees with a bonus check, time off, or other perk.

Step Four: Promote the Program

How will employees know they can be recognized and rewarded for making referrals if you don't promote the employee referral program? In order for the effort to be successful, employees need to be informed about what a referral program is, how it works, and how they can benefit from it.

One of the best ways to promote the program is through the hiring process. Include the employee referral program when discussing employee benefits and perks at new hire orientation. Outline the requirements, rewards available, and how much the company values its employee participation when it comes to recruiting new staff. Refresh employees' memories about the program when reviewing company policies and procedures and when holding employee reviews.

Employee referral opportunities promote workplace culture.

Employee Referrals and Company Culture

One of the most common benefits of employee referrals is the way they enhance organizational culture. Employees aren't just referring anybody to the open positions, they're recruiting individuals with the same values, beliefs, passions, and outlooks as themselves. Individuals referred by existing employees already have a level of familiarity with the culture of the company because they know someone working on the inside.

Learn more ways to communicate effectively with employees regarding issues ranging from referral programs to workplace culture in the Effective Communication in the Workplace Certificate Program from Study.com.

By Amanda Johnson
June 2018
professional skills organizational planning

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