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10 tips to create an amazing (and successful) employee referral program.
March 2, 2016
10 tips to get the best from your referral programme.
Ok so you've just created your brand new referral programme because you recognise the potential locked within all your staff members to generate referrals. Here's a quick guide to getting the most out of it.
1. Make some noise about it.
Don’t just send out a solitary email, do something dramatic. Announce the launch and then say that the very first person to provide a successful referral hire made through your new referral tool will win $10,000 or an extra 2 weeks of holiday. Ok so that's a lot but you need to grab their attention and make sure they know this is a serious and ongoing programme. It’s up to you how generous you want to be but make sure it’s a ‘blimey moment’. So when your staff see the reward offered announcing the launch of the programme they go………
”Blimey, that’s good”.
So grab their attention with a seriously tasty one off reward for the very first hire.
2. It has to come from the top
If you can, make sure it’s the head honcho that launches it…..the big cheese. If your staff know that it’s the CEO pushing it, the programme will carry greater importance in their minds. That introductory email and/or message on your intranet should come from the top.
3. Publicise the successes
When you make a successful referral hire, publicise it. You can send out a monthly email or entry on your Facebook page or intranet announcing who gave the referral and what reward they got. A nice picture holding their new iPad in the staff magazine is a good starting point. The more success stories people hear about, the more they will want to get involved to win those nice rewards.
4. Speaking of rewards…..
Don’t be shy, get the cheque book out and really incentivise your staff. If you’re offering a half day of holiday or $10 gift voucher then you’re not likely to get many staff members working hard on your behalf to try and find you someone suitable. It’s like a lottery: if you offer enough as the top prize people will join in. iPads, TVs, 3 days of holiday, $500 in cash, a flight to London etc etc the more you offer, the more you’ll get.
You might also like to consider a multi reward scheme so if someone successfully refers say 3 people in any 2 year period offer then offer a serious reward on top of the individual rewards for each hire. It’s a bit like earning loyalty points. Once they’ve earned enough they can cash them in so on the 3rd successful referral give them an extra weeks holiday on top of the standard referral prize for that 3rd hire……..and publicise it !!! Remember the ‘blimey’ moment. So not only could a successful referrer win an ipad, $500 and a flight to London for 3 successful referrals the 3rd one also qualifies them for a weeks holiday.
Don’t forget, all of this would still cost you less than the fee of 1 placement from a staffing agency.
5. Don’t be afraid to up the reward
If you have sent a job to only a select few staff members asking for referrals and nothing has happened open it up to everyone. If you’ve sent a job to everyone and you still can’t fill it, send out a reminder email or post onto your intranet and up the reward. Remember a $2,000 bounty is a lot less than you’d pay a staffing agency so it’s definitely worth being generous to save yourself a much bigger fee.
6. Consider adding external referrers
There’s nothing to stop you adding in external referral suppliers, ex members of staff or just about anyone who would be interested in joining your scheme. All you have to do is add their name and they’ll receive your email alerts alongside regular members of staff. Why limit your pool of available referrers to only those currently working for you?
7. Be selective about which jobs you ask for help with
If every job you ever recruit is sent out to staff members then it will begin to lose it’s impact. We recommend you focus the employee referral programme on hard to fill jobs or those with management responsibility and above. If your staff get an email every week asking for referrals they will begin to switch off. Once a month is fine with new jobs and tasty rewards.
Generally speaking the more traditional routes to candidates like job boards should work pretty well for lower level vacancies so you may not need to use a referral programme for those type of positions.
8. Keep the referrer informed
If you can, whoever the applicant was referred by, keep them informed of how their referral is doing. Just drop them an email……”Great referral. We’ve invited her in for a 1st interview next week”. Equally if they weren’t successful, tell the referrer why not because the referrer might know someone else who could be more suitable. The more they feel part of the process, the more they will help you again in the future.
9. Offer rewards for ‘close but not quite’
You could offer say $500 for a successful hire but if someone gets a 1st interview you could offer $100 or if they get to 2nd interview, $200. It’s entirely up to you how you structure it but there’s nothing stopping you offering different rewards depending on how far the applicant gets in the hiring process.
10. The gift that keeps on giving
Some football teams (that would be soccer to our American cousins) do this. So when a player is sold to another team the transfer fee contains financial incentives to the selling team if that player does really well….so extra bonus payments go the selling team in 12 months time if the transferred player scores lots of goals. Why not do a similar thing for you referral programme so you could say that the referrer will earn $250 for every year the applicant stays with your company. So if someone successfully refers 4 people they’ll be earning $1,000 every year on top of their salary.