8 Employee Referral Pitfalls to Avoid

Employee referrals can be quite an involved process for your employee.

A referral, of any sort, is a personal recommendation from one person to another. When you ask for an employee referral, you are asking that employee to:

  • Open up his or her personal network
  • Leverage a trusted relationship they have worked hard to develop
  • Make a recommendation (exposing themselves to review by their colleagues)
  • Deliver their friend to your HR team who will take over from there

When you break it down, step-by-step, employee referrals can be quite an involved process for your employee. When designing and launching your new employee referral program, keep in mind that even the best program’s in the world won’t work, if you don’t avoid these common mistakes.

8 Employee Referral Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Too time consuming
    The more time involved, and the more steps it takes to refer a candidate, the lower your employee engagement will be. Keep it simple.
  2. Lack of transparency
    Make it clear if there are any dis-qualifiers or qualifications that must be met in order for the referring employee to earn the referral reward. Don’t look for excuses not to pay the reward.
  3. Out of sight, out of mind
    Constant promotion and reminders are the best way to keep the ERP top of mind. It’s up to you to create brand advocates and referral champions. Consider an automated email campaign to make sure your employees know about the bonus opportunities that exist for referring their friends.
  4. Uncomfortable with the concept
    This could be due to a bad experience with poorly managed employee referral programs at prior jobs. Or it could also be as simple as not knowing how to start the conversation or share the open job.
  5. Lacking appropriate incentives
    Think about how much you value the next hire. You’re dangling a carrot on a stick, and the carrot has to be big enough to excite and motivate your team.
  6. Low morale
    Even the best programs with the highest rewards won’t motivate a team that doesn’t believe in the organization. Remember, an employee referral program relies on the built in trust relationship that employees have with their personal network. They aren’t going to stick their neck out for something they don’t even believe in themselves.
  7. Under-developed Infrastructure
    Admin heavy systems and poor candidate tracking technology are surefire ways to keep your HR and recruiting team from promoting the program. Look into digital solutions that track applicants, referrals, and incentives. Don’t forget it needs to be mobile-friendly, or better yet, a mobile app for employee referrals.
  8. Employees aren’t referral champions
    Employees must be the brand advocates and referral champions for any ERP to be effective. This is a pivotal piece that so many programs ignore. If your HR and recruiting team is leading the charge on referrals, it may be coming across as a pressure-filled sales tactic, and not an organic means to find the best possible applicants. Making referrals a natural part of the company culture is important.

In this post we have covered some of the primary factors affecting employee engagement with an ERP; click the following link to read Part 1 of our series, Adopting a New Employee Referral Program.