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5 Things That Can Kill Your Employee Referral Program

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It’s true, Employee Referral Programs are cheaper to implement than other traditional recruitment methods. When you use traditional methods like job ads or job boards, your company will spend about $4,285 to more than $18,000 per hire.  Recruiting through a referral program, on the other hand, will only cost about $1,000 per hire. Also, regardless of how well-designed your Employee Referral Program is, it’s up to you to nourish your ERP in such a way to avoid making the five common mistakes that will eventually kill your program even before you can build it.

So, here’s what mistakes you should avoid making, at all costs.

1. Keep your job openings a secret

If you are relying on your employees’ to keep track of your job openings by holding on to the expectation they will continue to log in to your referral program on a regular basis, think again. They are far too involved with their work and their daily tasks, to have the time to check on possible job openings. How can they refer someone when they don’t know that there is a vacancy in the first place? The same job openings will continue to aimlessly float about in your Employee Referral Program, bringing in zero referrals.

Make it a habit of sending out periodic emails about the current job openings or finding creative ways to promote the program on your web page so your employees can start referring.

2. Make the application process too complicated

Nothing kills an employee referral program faster than a tedious, time-consuming application process. The last thing employees want is to fill out a 10-page application form before they can start referring their friends and former colleagues. If referring is too complicated and arduous, staff members will lose motivation because it’s simply “too much work.” On the other hand, If they do decide to brave through the process but in the end, they don’t hear back from you within 72 hours, you might as well “pull the plug”  on your referral program.

Remember that referring candidates goes on top of your employee’s regular work tasks, so be nice and make it easy for them.

3. Fail to keep track of your referrals

After you have successfully advertised a job vacancy to your network of employees, the referrals start to roll in. It happens that some employees are very enthusiastic about referring people for job vacancies in the company.  So, Imagine if 10 employees send 5 referrals each for one position – keeping track of emails and conversations about those 50 referrals, will be confusing and downright, ineffective. Slow responsiveness generates lack of motivation and trust.

The most efficient solution is using an employee referral software that allows you to easily track referrals, from the moment they’re referred,  to the moment they are on-boarded.

4. Keep your employees in the dark as to the status of their referrals

Sharing occasional updates or keeping your employees completely in the dark after a referral has been made,  makes it hard to keep your employees engaged and motivated to refer their peers. Current employees who have referred candidates want to know the status of their referral. They want to know if the application has moved forward and if their referral was hired or rejected. On top of that, a lack of feedback on unsuitable referrals, or even great referrals –  that eventually did not get hired – strips employees of any kind of insight into the screening process, or on the company’s hiring practices.  

When you keep employees in the loop on the status of their referrals, they will be more inclined to refer again in the future because they know it was processed and not ignored.

5. Delay rewarding the referee

Without the rewards and the incentives, your employees will not be motivated to refer candidates to a vacant position. Regardless of whether their referral has been hired or not, employees expect recognition for their efforts. On the other hand, when they’ve already successfully referred a great candidate, they expect to get their reward right away. If not, they will lose their motivation and think the whole employee referral program is a scam.

Once a referral has been hired, don’t delay the reward for the employee. Thank them right away and hand them their prize. They will appreciate the gesture and will show greater respect towards your employee referral program.

Referral programs are great sources of hires, if you know how to effectively implement strategies and avoid “killers” like those mentioned above.

If you are looking for an effective way to track your referrals,  visit Firstbird to learn more about our employee referral software.

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