Employee referrals are a great way to drive qualified candidates from a very active and engaged pool of professionals who are your employees. They know the organization, its culture and can speak to the business brand like no one else. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, they are also the most trusted representative of your company.
It’s not enough to simply create a program for employee referrals. Sure, you could send an all company email with instructions on how to refer candidates to open positions at your company and leave it there, but it’s likely to fall flat (or get lost in email). Your employees are busy with their lives and their jobs. One can not simply build an employee referral program and expect the employees to come.
How to Promote Your Employee Referral Program
HR and recruiting leaders must be master marketers focused on the internal employee as well as company communication. Based on the experience of the success of a number of customers here at Comeet, we’ve identified the most effective ways to promote your employee referral program. Because what CEO or HR doesn’t want a qualified pipeline of candidates whose cost per hire is substantially less. Don’t get me started on how employee referral programs also historically have lower turnover rates because those candidates are prepped and given expectations by your best employees.
Roll It Out
As soon as you set up an employee referral program, HR should do more than just send an email. Internal marketing should be a focused, detailed, and long-term process. HR teams should think big picture looking at small opportunities to drive conversation such as bringing in a lunch or snack, gathering your teams, and talk about the benefits for employee referrals. Position it as a perk (“you’re great, you likely know other great possible employees”) and don’t just leave it there. Combine these more tactical strategies with a larger plan, you are sure to generate positive results.
Celebrate the Small Wins
Send an all company email when someone’s referral is hired—and include what the referring employee will get (X dollars after X days of employment for their referral). Examples like these will incentivize other team members to stop and take a look at their networks to see who they can send your way.
Rockstar Employees Refer Rockstar Candidates
Ideally, you want hire referrals from your best employees—and your top performers. Logically, it makes sense that candidates in your employee’s network share some of the same traits that you’re looking for. Your highest performing teams are likely also the busiest ones. It’s key to make employee referrals easy and quick, plus include the referring employee in the status of their referral. Comeet’s collaborative software makes this a) easy to share and b) easy for an employee to check on their referral.
Post an Employee Reward or Bonus
Your staff wants to know that you, as their HR manager, care that they took the time to refer a candidate through your company’s referral program. It’s a small thing to set up a reward system, whether cash or gift card or a paid day off (once their referral has worked at your company for a specific period of time). Have all hands meetings? Take the time to thank your team members for their referrals. Recognition is its own reward.
BONUS: Offer a 90 day or 120 retention bonus on top of your first day start referral bonus. It helps ensure that the employee who’s doing the referring is committed to sending the best talent for the long term to your company.
Be Different, Be Social
Instagram is one of the best social channels for promoting your company’s culture. You can take a page from AT&T’s book; they created a #lifeatatt hashtag that any employee, from corporate to retail, can use to show what a day at AT&T looks like on the company’s Instagram channel. Turning your employees into company champions is an excellent way to promote ownership and investment. Snag a “LifeAt___” Instagram channel and put someone in charge of reposting hashtag photos. Time investment: Minimal. Cost: Free.
NOTE: Photos in IG cannot currently be linked, but it is coming soon. Be sure that the link in your IG bio is to your careers page.
With a Small Budget, Consider Swag
Referring again to AT&T (because they hire huge numbers of people every year), why not create a killer design for an employee tee with your brand and Instagram hashtag? Or a tagline like “ask me about my amazing job @yourinstagramchannel?” Depending on the number of employees who are willing to wear the shirts around town, at the gym, at grocery stores, putting it on a tee is a fun way to get a conversation about your company started. Bonus: Company branding!
The Bottom Line
The most important factor for successful employee referral programs is engaging your current employees and keeping them engaged. If they don’t love where they work, why would they refer a friend? Do you know the temperature around your office? Comeet can help you with that too.
Make sure your leadership and managers are empowered to give recognition to high performers. Enable them to ask for feedback and report it back to you. Your best ideas are going to come from employees who work for your company; the best reward is recognizing the employees who have them.
Are you looking to start your hiring process today? Comeet can help. Check out our plan options to learn more about how we can redefine the way you recruit new talent.