Employee Referral Program: Make it Easy & Make it Pay

As we mentioned in our 4 Top HR Trends for 2017 blog – Referrals will be key in recruiting top talent in 2017. A Workplace Trends research revealed that HR professionals ranked employee referrals as the best resource for finding candidates, and a LinkedIn survey shows that the number one source of new employees will be represented in 2017 by referral programs. Existing employees have a strong understanding of an organization’s culture, mission, values, and strategy and are more likely to recommend someone that would be a fit for the position and the organization. And referral programs tend to be cost-effective when compared with other channels such as job boards and employment agencies. It’s important for organizations to first determine reasons for an employee referral program and what the long- and short-term strategic goals are. Identifying the strategic goals and expected outcomes of the program from the start will help set the stage as the program is developed and will help with stakeholder buy-in. There are two vital aspects to consider when creating a successful employee program – that’s having a simple process and an attractive reward. We explain more in details below:

Make It Easy

An employee referral program has the best chance to succeed when it’s made easy for employees to understand and navigate. If the employee referral process is too complicated, employees will not participate. Employee referral programs should be designed to be fast, simple and user-friendly. To start, ensure there is buy-in from the stakeholders - The next step is to create a referral portal where employees can submit the information of the referral candidate. Using a talent management/applicant tracking system you can easily create a portal that includes important fields like the referral candidate’s contact details, resume and any particular opening the candidate is recommended for. Using a talent management/applicant tracking system, you can also automate job postings through social networks allowing employees to easily promote job openings on their social networking profiles – And with the ATS you can simply track the candidates and the referrer. Make It Pay Create rewards that will encourage employee participation. Some possible options can be an extra day off with pay, points employees can exchange for a prize, gift cards, company-wide recognition, or a cash bonus payment which tends to be the most popular. The cash bonus payment amount depends on the recruiting budget. According to a 2016 survey by World at Work, the average payment is between $1,000 and $2,499. Employers can issue rewards immediately when the new hire comes on board or it could be issued after the new hire completes a probation period (60 – 90 days).It’s important to consider offering rewards as immediately as appropriate to encourage continued employee participation and a constant stream of referrals. Some employers implement a two-part reward system, a gift card when the candidate has been hired and then a cash bonus payment after the candidate spends a period of time.

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