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Best Practices To Boost Your Employee Referral Programs

For any growing company, referrals play a key role in almost all aspects of business operations – from selecting new vendors to getting introductions to new prospects. Talent acquisition is certainly another such area where referrals from employees have long been considered a valuable source of finding good quality talent.  Most companies and their executives understand this. Still, most employee referral programs fail to perform and are ineffective. Unfortunately, while companies want to leverage employee referral programs to improve their hiring process, they are consistently unable to implement these in an effective and sustainable way to get company-wide adoption.

Employee Referral Programs are aimed to encourage staff to help the organization find competent candidates. Since referred candidates have been vetted by the company’s employees, they are likely to perform better and have greater retention rates, if hired. At the same time, the referral process serves to boost employee engagement for employees who participate in the process.

Effective Employee Referral Programs can turn out to be a great boost to any business organization. If ineffective though, they can turn out to be a source of failure and frustration for the organization. Research shows that employee referral programs can greatly improve the quality of hiring. In fact, the most skillful talent in an organization is likely to have been sourced via employee referral programs. Effective employee referral programs begin with establishing a work culture that creates a loyal employer branding. Building an effective employee referral program could be time taking and a troublesome task, nevertheless it reduces the talent hiring lead cost and time by near about 60%. A successful and effective employee referral program is not just about sending emails to employees asking them for referrals. It requires building a system to drive the referral process in a structured way.

Here we present a few best practices to boost your employee referral programs.

1) Prioritize the Jobs

Effective employee referral programs ensure that jobs are prioritized before any marketing and distribution. Prioritizing the jobs and then asking the employees to refer candidates amplifies the job visibility and the probability of referrals. Effective employee referral programs tend to bring attention to a few high priority, high-impact positions at a time – allowing employees to focus on the specific needs of the positions and then identifying the people in their respective networks who they think would be a great fit for that position.

2) Integrate Employee Referral Programs With Social Media

With social media, employee referrals have taken a whole new meaning. It is much easier for an employee to look up her contacts to see who could be a great fit for her company’s open positions if the employee referral program is run on a platform that provides full integration with social media networks. The ability to easily search through contacts to find the best match with the help of the system doing the keyword matching, the task becomes much easier and scalable for both the organization as well as the employee.

3) Make It Easier To Use

When the integration is seamless and the platform easy to use, employees are able to simply browse their contacts directly through their social contacts, without having to learn a complex new system. Minimizing friction from the process improves the speed and overall efficiency of the employee referral programs.

Most of the employees nowadays spend quite a lot of time in strengthening their relationships through social networking. It, therefore, makes sense for a company to link their employee referrals with social media networks to make skilled referrals. Sustained and proactive efforts will let you build a strong social media strategy that will help you succeed in finding top quality hires.

4) Offer Rewards and Incentives

Employee Referral Programs work best when all stakeholders understand the benefits, incentives and what’s at stake. But how do you go about it? Every employee of the organization must be aware of how to participate in the employee referral program and the rewards associated with it. Effective Employee Referral Programs draft an understandable structure of the benefits and rewards that link with the program. A good ERP must be designed to encourage and motivate the employees to participate. The rewards and incentives offered should also be interesting enough for the employees to keep coming back and participating in the program.

5) Brand for your Employee Referral Programs

Employee Referral Programs when identified with a unique name, can create a distinct identity and are a great stepping stone in creating a loyal brand for the organization. You can take your ERP to the next significant success level by creating an innovative and unique logo. The next thing is to give your Employee Referral Programs a catchy punch line that goes along with the logo. It is easy to lock in the employees into the referral mindset by gaining instant recognition for the brand.

6) Simplify With Automation

To make sure that the workflow of your company’s Employee Referral Programs is smooth and efficient, take advantage of the right technology platform to automate the ERP. To find the right system for your organization, look for a robust platform that has applicant tracking, social media and other recruiting software features integrated into the same platform along with employee referral capabilities. This would ensure that your organization has the same consistent experience throughout the hiring process. The system should also provide the necessary information and updates to the referring employees so they can clearly see how their referred candidates are progressing through the company’s hiring workflow. Employee Referral Programs that allows for automated sharing of jobs on social media on behalf of employees plus enable them to easily search for, identify and refer vetted individuals for certain positions is likely to increase the quality of hires. When the process is smooth, guided and automated, employees are able to get more done with less effort, in terms of referrals.

7) Spread the Success

Employee Referral programs should provide company-wide recognition to those who contribute to the referral process. Publicly acknowledging the winners helps in encouraging all employees to participate in this critical company-building activity. The more tangible the incentives and rewards are, the more likely the program is to attract continued interest from all employees and encourage them to open up their networks to look for the best candidates for their organization.

Early champions and participants should be rewarded with benefits that appeal to them. Wondering what to do when your employees end up fetching you a talented referral? There should a plan of action for the post referral stage as well where referrers can get added benefits that create a positive mindset amongst the employees to refer more friends and win additional rewards.

Promoting Employee Referrals and having successful Employee Referral Programs are a WIN-WIN strategy for any organization its employees. It is a win for organizations as they tend to get top quality hires. It is a win for the new employees as they get to work with qualified colleagues and in an environment that is most likely a better match for them. And it is a win for the referrer employees as they benefit from the rewards and recognition policy of the organization, while bringing in talent that would be a great fit to their current team.

No doubt, effective employee referral programs can lead to hiring employees who will contribute to the success of an organization. Have you organized your employee referral programs yet? Request a Demo and learn more.

Image: Courtesy Solution Selling Blog

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