7 Ways to Modernize Your Employee Referral Program

Employee Referral Program

Trying to tap into the vast and talented workforce that is the millennial generation? Get your current employees ages 22 to 37 to help. Last year alone, nearly one third of employers increased their reliance on employee referrals. New hires referred by current employees are more likely to be a fit with company culture, say 66% of employers. When you take into consideration the potential savings on sourcing costs, growing your employee referral program is a smart use of resources. You can encourage more of your younger employees to participate by modernizing your referral program with these strategies:

1. Streamline your employee referral program

If you haven’t reviewed your referral process for a while or you’re building from the ground up, take this opportunity to streamline it. Boil it down to a few basic steps that give employees a clear understanding of what they need to do to participate, and what their friends, former co-workers and network connections can expect from you at the start.

Candidate experience

2. Make it easy for employees to find

Though it may sound obvious, making your employee referral program information quick and easy to access digitally is one of the most important actions to take to increase participation. Put it on an employee network, your internal Facebook page – anywhere employees can access it online by mobile device.  You could also consider a weekly message or post highlighting positions that are your priority to fill.

3. Make it easy to share on social networks

Millennials are a highly connected generation, and you can leverage that connectedness to increase your employee referrals. Share some examples that spark their ideas for messages they can push out on their social media. Many prefer to communicate by text and email rather than in phone or face-to-face conversation, so make email and text templates available that they can share out.

4. Offer incentives today’s employees want

Monetary bonuses for employee referrals are a common incentive, and for a majority of employers, the average range is $500 to $2,500. In traditional employee referral programs, employees receive part of the bonus when their referral is hired, and the remainder at a later date in time. That practice is changing, though. You can simplify your program by paying the entire bonus three to six months after the date of hire.

Non-monetary bonuses are also effective in generating referrals. Younger employees may be motivated by extra time off, the opportunity to attend a conference or training, and donations made to their favorite cause or charity in their name.

5. Add employee referral tracking to your metrics

Data collected when you start tracking employee referrals can provide important insight for ongoing improvement of your program’s performance. For instance, tracking referral cost of hire and time to hire against non-referrals may make your case clear for increasing referral bonuses. You may find some employee referrals are more effective for certain positions, such as sales or administrative, and decide to focus your program on these job families. If most of your quality referrals come from a small number of younger employees, you could consider a tiered bonus structured to reward those employees.

Adoption of New HR Tech

6. Ask for feedback

Make it easy for employees and those they refer to provide feedback on your program. Their input could lead to small tweaks that have a big impact on your program’s performance. Some organizations use their internal messaging platform or an employee polling app to facilitate feedback. You could also add a question or two to your onboarding program to discover what referred new hires think about the experience.

7. Make employee referrals part of your brand story

Satisfied, engaged employees make referrals. If you have a high employee referral rate, share that with candidates and in your talent brand messaging.  It’s proof positive that your organization and workplace offer a great employment experience for younger generations.

Look to Employee Referrals to Improve Sourcing Diversity

If you’ve made progress toward diversity goals in your organization, build on that success by leveraging your employee referral program. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Making new hires aware of the employee referral program during onboarding, and asking for referrals right away
  • Encourage employees to make referrals for any position within your organization
  • Hold a virtual or in-person recruiting event just for employees and their connections they think might be interested in joining your organization. Whether you measure diversity by representation or by diversity of perspectives, make sure your brand message reflects the inclusive nature of your organization in an authentic way.

You could also find a way to include the referring employee in the new hire’s first day in an onboarding exercise or social lunch.

Employee Referral Programs Make a Positive Impact on Company Culture

According to a Jobvite study, hires referred by other employees have greater job satisfaction and stay longer with the organization than non-referral hires. Simply put, they fit. By modernizing your employee referral program, you can encourage younger workers to make referrals and contribute to stronger working relationships within your organization.

Diversity and Inclusion

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