3 Steps to Starting an Employee Referral Program

  • Alen BubichJanuary 4 2018
Make it simple for your team to introduce you to new candidates and watch your ERP shine.

Want to start an employee referral program? Excellent idea! Finding good people is hard, especially when you have to trust a person based on an interview or two and a few sheets of paper.

That only tells you so much.

One of the best resources you have for recruiting good talent is the talent you already have, namely your employees. Employee referrals can mean you get recommendations from people you know and can trust, giving those recommendations more weight than merely matching requirements.

How can you start? With these 3 easy steps.

Set Employee Referral Goals And Make Them Easy To Meet

The first step is define your goals and make them easy for employees to meet.

Whatever your hiring goals are, make sure that employees are clear on them. Maybe you’re looking for young talent for engineering positions, an experienced senior project manager, or maybe you need to increase diversity in the company in your next round of hires. State them loud and proud, and make sure that employees are aware of what they are.

Then make it easy for your employees to refer people, however it may happen.

Some companies depend on a digital pile of resumes, others use an Applicant Tracking System (or ATS) to track, collate and otherwise screen candidates. However your company processes these things, make sure that it’s easy for employees to make a referral. The simplest way? Give a talent acquisition rep or HR professional a name and contact information.

If you make it easy for employees to refer talent and for referrals to be tracked, you’ve made some significant steps toward creating a successful employee referral program.

Train Employees And Keep Them Engaged

Once you’ve figured out how to handle employee referrals, the next step is to train employees on the employee referral program.

Granted, this could be as simple as:

“If you know anyone that meets the requirements and would be interested in the position, give their name and contact information to HR.”

However, if you use an ATS, employees will need to be trained in how to make referrals through the ATS. Hopefully, the ATS you’ve selected makes the process simple and user-friendly. If not…then you may want to figure out a solution to make it easier.

Once you have the system in place, you’re going to want to keep employees engaged.

Keep them updated with positions that are currently open and any that are about to be in company emails. Point out any currently working referred workers and the great work they’re doing, and how you might discover the next great hire. Encourage people to look through their LinkedIn profile and see if anyone fits any openings.

In other words, once you have a system in place, do what you can to get employees to refer people and that referrals are needed.

Social media, of course, is a recruiting superstar. It’s changed how recruiting is done, if handled correctly. If you’d like help managing recruiting through social media, Social Horsepower can help you with leveraging social media for your employee referral program.

Measure Employee Referral Progress And Reward Successful Hires

Once your employee referral program is in place, measure the progress over time. You’ll need to track how many and what percentage of new hires come from referrals, the percentage of referred candidates that hear back from your company, percentage of qualified referrals, and quality of referred hires.

These metrics will tell you how if referrals from employees are helpful in recruiting new talent, what their experience is in being referred, and also whether those hires are good hires.

You may also want to track workforce participation in the referral program, but that’s up to you.

Also, make sure to reward any successful referral hires to help increase employee productivity. A shout-out is always appreciated, but some other reward may also be appropriate. A small gift certificate, an extra vacation day, a bonus or some other material reward can be a great incentive for employees to participate in a referral program and reward for having done so.

Virtue, of course, is its own reward…but a little cash sure never hurt either. That can definitely help with an employee referral program.

Ready to kick-off an Employee Referral Program? Let’s Chat.

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