How to Increase Employee Referrals

How can my company generate more employee referrals?

If you are a talent acquisition specialist, recruiter, or HR professional, there is a good chance you’re asking yourself: How can my company generate more employee referrals? You have read the reports, scanned the numbers, and gotten approval for the incentives associated with launching an in-house employee referral program (ERP).  So now you’re ready to start reeling in new hires through employee referrals. Not so fast. There is a little more to it than that. Employee referrals can actually be a pretty natural reaction for employees, given a few critical conditions are met. Imagine that! Your team just automatically tells you when they know the perfect candidate for your new opening. In this blog post, we will work to uncover some of the most important aspects of an effective employee referral program.  Before we dive into the nuances of ERP platforms and solutions, we have to address the most basic piece of any employee referral program — current employees.

The first question you need to ask is: Do we have a culture of engaged and motivated employees?

If the answer is no, and you must be honest with yourself, then this is your starting point. Employees don’t refer friends to places that they themselves don’t endorse. Now, for some folks, this may have just lit a fire. We won’t be discussing the steps necessary to build a winning workplace environment in this post, but that may be a pressing need for you to address outside of this blog post.

Assuming you already have a culture of awesomely engaged employees, you’ll want to make sure they know that you do indeed have an employee referral program. Before you jump up and show off, we are not talking about the Uncle Sam inspired “We Want You” poster currently hanging on the break room wall. It’s time to bring employee recruiting and referrals into the digital era. Consider using email or even social media to let your employees know that you have openings and you want their help to fill them. Think about how you attract your best clients. Did you simply show them the product demo and ask them to sign on the dotted line? No way! You marketed to them, and provided incentives to a sales team to track down and engage your clients. In the same manner, you should be marketing these job openings to your current team, and showing the value of a great hire by providing incentives for employee referrals.

So now what?

OK, now we’ve established that you must have engaged employees who are aware that you have a great employee referral program. Another piece of the puzzle is the platform or technology in place to support all of the great referrals your employees are ready to start sending your way. A successful employee referral program, today, can’t rely on paper referral forms and separate software for recruitment and incentive tracking. Many of the potential pitfalls in employee referrals revolve around insufficient digital infrastructure. In a digital and mobile-centric world, consider adding cutting edge tech to your recruiter’s toolbox too. Look to create a solution that allows your team to share openings in a personal, 1-to-1 message, via social media or text message. Oh, and you better be sure it is mobile-friendly, or better yet, use a mobile app. This digital integration not only makes your employee referral program easier to use (which means they will actually use it), it allows your talent acquisition team to run reports and perform deep analysis on the effectiveness of the strategy and different distribution channels.