How to Successfully Implement an Employee Referral Program

Posted on: in [ Employee Development, Employee Retention, Hiring, News, Recruiting ]

How to Successfully Implement an Employee Referral Program

The success of any business is largely due to the employees who work there. With that being said, it only makes sense that your team is your largest and most important resource. In fact, they can even be vital to your recruiting process. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start an employee referral program. This will not only cut your time to hire down but also your cost to hire. Skywalk Group has compiled a list of a few ways that you can start and implement your own employee referral program.

Decide Your Priorities – Before you can start an employee referral program, you have to decide what your goals and priorities for the program will be. You may want to have the offer available for only niche positions that are hard to fill or you may find it best to use it for all open positions. You could even offer it for senior positions that would have otherwise needed outside sourcing, costing time and money, to fill.

Make Your Expectations Known – Now that you have established which positions will be open for your program, it is time to lay out what you will need from your employees. More than likely, you will need to outline the program in the employee handbook and/or have it written and posted within your workplace. It will need to be specific and include:

  • Why the program exists
  • Which positions are a part of the referral program
  • Whether or not incentives are involved
  • Any stipulations or rules for the potential hire and incentive payout
  • Instructions for how an employee can participate

The Easier, The Better – One of the best things you can do to make your program successful is to make it easy. Employees don’t want to jump through hoops in order to refer someone. Start by posting the jobs that need referrals in one easy-to-find place. Attaching a list of the job requirements would also help employees narrow down who they refer. Not only does this help your employees make the best referral possible, but it will also help you find the best candidates. Lastly, send out reminders. Your employees are busy doing their job and may not have noticed the latest job posting. A gentle reminder can put things back on their radar.

Decide Your Referral Reward – If your team member is going to take all of their time to find you a great candidate for an open position, their time should be rewarded. How you decide to reward those that successfully use your referral program is up to you. First, decide if your bonus is going to be a one-time deal or a tiered program. For instance, your employee may receive a monetary reward if their referral is hired. Or, the employee may receive a small reward for the hire and then an additional bonus after the hiree completes their first 90 days.

Things to keep in mind when building a successful referral program:

  1. Make sure you communicate with employee’s where their referrals are. It’s discouraging to current employee’s to refer someone and then never hear from internal leadership where their referral went. Even if you don’t give specific details you can communicate to the current employee when their referral was reviewed and reached out to. If a current employee inquires as to the status of their referral don’t give ambiguous answers, be honest.

  2. Do what you say you’ll do, and follow through on any referrals given. Nothing undermines an employee referral program more than when the internal ball is dropped and employees don’t receive their referral reward and/or their referral is never contacted. To ensure that employees are paid the reward owed, a simple process between HR and payroll to track referral payouts needs to be established. In addition, all referred candidates should be reviewed quickly and the internal employee notified as to whether they are qualified or not to keep the internal employee’s confidence that their suggestions are being considered. If the referral is not qualified, provide feedback to the internal employee and encourage them to keep looking.

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business, so naturally, they are the best people to find your next hire. Setting up and implementing an employee referral program is a great way to find the perfect candidate for your open roles. If you need help finding a good fit for your team, Skywalk Group can help!