How to Motivate Employees To Help You Find Great Talent Using Referrals


How to Motivate Employees To Help You Find Great Talent Using Referrals

Recruiting new employees isn’t an easy responsibility. There are many variables when it comes to finding the right one for your organization—not to mention how long the process can take. Employee referrals can be a great way to expedite this process while making it more likely to find individuals best suited for their new rules at your organization.

However, encouraging employee involvement in helping you find qualified candidates can require some work, including designing a referral program that’s worth their time and effort.

Why Referral Programs are Important to a Business

A great way to encourage current employees to stay on the lookout for qualified talent is by designing an employee referral program. These programs are designed to help incentivize employees to play an active role in the business’s recruitment processes. These programs help businesses by:

Slashing Recruitment Costs

The hiring process can be costly for businesses. Working with recruiters or posting paid job advertisements can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and this doesn’t even guarantee finding the right fit. Employee referrals eliminate these costs altogether and significantly reduce the time to hire.

Finding More Qualified Job Candidates

The job candidate pool is highly dynamic and broad. As an HR manager, knowing where to concentrate your focus can be challenging when you have a specific hiring budget you’re looking to keep while also finding someone with the right skillsets.

Employee referrals are pre-screened job candidates that experienced members of the organization have already vetted. This helps to narrow the talent pool considerably and brings more focus to the hiring process.

Improving Employee Retention

When an organization places more value on their employees’ referrals, it shows that their opinions or suggestions are in high regard.

Being able to work with friends or previous colleagues also builds better team cohesion and a more enjoyable working experience. This helps to increase employee retention and reduce the likelihood of employees not getting along with one another.

Building a Strong Company Culture

Employee referral programs allow employees to play an active role in helping to shape the company culture. This helps to create a sense of ownership over how the company develops internally and can create a positive environment where everybody’s opinions are trusted and respected.

Strategies to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Referral Program

While any business can create an employee referral program,  getting the most benefit from it should be properly designed and executed. Here are some strategies you can apply to improve the effectiveness of your referral program:

Set Clear Expectations and Simplify the Process

Not all employee referral programs are designed the same. This is why it’s important to ensure employees have a clear understanding of how to get involved.

You’ll want to provide clear guidelines about the types of roles the company is hiring for, and any specific skill requirements to be considered. This helps to avoid employees referring to “anyone” they know without having some type of vetting process in place.

Businesses should also make the referral submission process as frictionless as possible. This can be done by using a simple online form or internal communication system. Establish a primary contact to whom the employees can send the information or will be able to answer any questions relevant to the position.

Offer Compelling Incentives

In order to maximize involvement in your referral program, it’s important to offer the right incentives to your employees. Incentives are used to thank employees for the time they dedicated outside of office hours to help locate and “close” potential job candidates into applying.

The great thing is that businesses can get very creative when adding incentives to their referral programs. While cash incentives or gift cards are a great way to get more people involved, you can also offer additional vacation days or other forms of recognition.

Another common incentive many larger organizations use when hiring multiple roles is implementing a tiered reward system for referrals. In these scenarios, higher bonuses are awarded to employees who refer more than one job candidate to the organization. The more people the employee refers to, the better the rewards!

Promote Referrals Using Engaging Activities

A referral program doesn’t have to be strictly “transactional.” It can also be a great way to infuse fun and a healthy competitive spirit into the organization.

You could hold an employee referral contest designed around a specific theme or have an updated leaderboard for the quarter or year. There could even be an additional prize awarded to the top referrers after a certain period.

These events can be a great way to create more excitement around finding new employees and can significantly improve employee engagement.

Personalize Your Referral Program

Not every employee will be motivated by the same incentives. Instead of keeping your referral rewards static, there are ways you can add flexibility or personalization to the equation.

While some employees may prefer some form of incentive pay when contributing to the company’s hiring processes, others may value being able to choose the next company event or team-building activity. Others may want to have a preferred parking space or additional days off.

Whatever your employees prefer as an incentive, it’s important to try and incorporate these requests as best as possible into your reward program. The more employees you can get involved in company referrals, the better chances your HR teams will have to reduce the amount of time they spend looking for job candidates.

Remember the investments you make in your employee referral rewards will almost always be considerably less than the cost of recruiting new individuals on your own. Besides the cost savings, you’ll also save your internal teams countless hours locating “potential” good fits—while your current employees may already be connected with a great long-term job candidate.

Improve Your Recruitment Efforts Today

Creating an effective employee referral program is a win-win for businesses. Not only will your organization be able to choose from a higher-caliber talent pool, but you’ll also show your employees that their suggestions are valued. This helps to create a culture that helps grow your teams and retain them.

About The Author

Cindy Mielke is Tango Card‘s Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, and a Certified Professional of Incentive Management. Her passion is helping teammates, clients, and partners achieve success. A strong advocate for the incentive industry, Cindy received the Karen Renk Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) in 2019. She currently serves on the IMA board of directors and on the board of the Incentive and Engagement Solutions Providers (IESP).

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