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How to Supercharge Your Referral Program

It’s hard to deny that referrals are a great source of hires. Study after study shows that referred candidates get hired faster than traditional candidates, are cheaper, and tend to stick around longer too.

This ultimately means that you can already take advantage of a resource you already have — your employees. Here are seven tricks on how you can get the most out of what might be your most underleveraged, highest-potential source of hire.

1. Have coffee with every new employee

Sit your new employees down for a casual chat over a cup of coffee so you can get possible leads and learn more about their network. Building quick source jams into new hire onboarding is an orderly way for your recruiting team to discover any immediate potential fits. This way recruiters can also familiarize themselves with future candidates – even if there are currently no open roles.

A source jam approach can be very effective to overcome low employee referral rates. There are instances when employees simply don’t want to bother the recruiting team with seemingly unfit candidates. Employees assume a person won’t be interested in an open role or forget altogether that they have a promising connection. One-on-one source jams with a recruiter often provides the extra nudge employees need.

2. Let everyone know that there are current openings

It’s not enough that you’re posting job ads everywhere. If your employees don’t know about them, they won’t really have the chance to refer anyone.

You can start by promoting high-priority positions during team meetings. You can frame this as a “role of the week,” so employees are always aware of the pressing goals, they can help with.

3. Share successful referral stories

A good way to make everyone aware of employee referral programs is by sharing success stories during department-wide meetings. Share the details of how an employee was referred, their journey to getting hired, and their contributions to the team since.

This reiterates the value of referrals through sharing real stories, instead of just telling employees that referrals are welcome. It adds a human touch and provides more memorable evidence that referrals can lead to high-quality employees.

4. Send notifications

Reminders are great tools to make sure employees don’t forget to refer their former colleagues and friends to a current opening. They could be putting it off for more pressing tasks, so a recurring 10-minute event on your team calendar designated for referrals will be helpful.

5. Celebrate leading departments and individuals

Recognize leading departments and individuals in your employee referral program through a leaderboard for everyone in the office to see. If budget allows, you can also hand out quarterly prizes for people who are ahead of the pack.

You can reward them with branded swag, like a t-shirt, to recognize their contributions. When employees are walking around with shirts broadcasting their referral efforts, it helps embed referring to your company culture.

6. Offer bonuses

Cash incentives are a good way to keep everyone motivated to refer people. In lieu of cash, you can also offer paid time-offs or gadget rewards.

7. Don’t make it too complicated

A sure-fire way to put off people from referring is by making the program too complicated. You can make it easy for your employees to refer potential candidates by using software like Firstbird. With Firstbird, you can invite your Talent Scouts personally or with an automatic invitation link. Talent Scouts are your employees, alumni and business contacts who will share your company’s jobs on their social networks.

For a successful referral program to happen, make sure you talk about the importance of referrals consistently with your employees. Get creative with your strategies into getting them to participate, and you will have more referred candidates before you know it.

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