For a referral program to be successful, recruiters need to make sure that it caters to the interests of employees. After all, the staff are the ones who make any referral program work,  so it’s best to ensure that your practices appeal to your employees.

Recruiters can implement different strategies to strengthen their referral program. Here are some of the most common pitfalls in implementing employee referral programs and how you can avoid them:

1. Mistake: Making it too complex

Best Practice: Streamline your referral process

The best way to lose someone’s attention and interest is by making your referral program too complicated. Asking your employees to fill out multiple forms or redundant steps overcomplicates the process, which can demoralize and discourage them from participating.

Referring someone should be quick and easy. If you really want your employees to get on with the program, make it simple to participate and refer.


2. Mistake: Slow turn-around time for referrals

Best Practice: Prompt, timely action on referrals

Don’t leave your employees hanging if they have queries about the referral program. If you ignore them or make them wait 4 weeks before you answer their questions, they won’t feel valued and will most likely not recommend their friends and acquaintances.
If possible, respond to queries within 24 hours after receiving them. A prompt response shows appreciation and helps build a culture where your employees know that their contributions are valued. Whether through an email or a quick phone call, the important thing is to keep an open line of communication.

3. Mistake: Constantly emailing employees with referral requests

Best Practice: Regular, targeted requests

Everyone’s time is valuable, so don’t waste it by sending daily email blasts, asking for referrals for every open position.
You can, instead, schedule a weekly email digest that contains all the current vacancies for the week. Additionally, you can target your requests to specific groups within your employee base. For example, if you are looking for a new accountant, you’re more likely to get a referral for the position from the finance department than from your creative department.

4. Mistake: Not giving feedback on referrals

Best Practice: Communicate with employees regarding their referrals

You should make a habit of communicating with employees about their referrals, both the good and the bad. If the person they referred does not fit the qualifications that you are looking for in a position, let your employee know. Feedback helps referrers better understand your expectations.

5. Mistake: Not prioritizing referrals

Best Practice: Put referrals at the top of the list

Research shows that referred hires tend to be better fits, are more productive and stay longer than non-referred hires. Companies also save $3,000 or more per hire if they were referred by employees. Employee referrals can bring a company a host of benefits, but only if employers take them seriously.

6. Mistake: Same rewards for all jobs

Best Practice: Create reward tiers depending on position

Some positions are more demanding in terms of education or experience. If your company derives a greater value from specific positions, the reward for that referral should reflect it. Positions with skills that are rare or in high demand should also carry a similarly significant reward.

7. Mistake: Not delivering on the reward for successful referrers

Best Practice: Prompt fulfilment of promised rewards

If an employee was able to refer a quality hire, make sure that you give them the reward that you promised. Let your employee know early on, when they can avail of the incentive. If your employee has to ask about it, you’ve waited too long.

An employee referral program is a powerful recruiting tool, so you should always update your strategies to make sure you get the best out of it. If you want to simplify your employee referral program and avoid these mistakes mentioned above, contact us try out  Firstbird.

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