Head of Operations at Scede.io
How is your employee referral programme going? For a large number of companies, it’s a struggle.
However, employee referral programmes can be one of the most powerful weapons an internal recruitment or HR department can have.
Here are some of the benefits that show why an employee referral programme is so great:
46% of referred employees are likely to still be in the business after a year, as opposed to 33% of employees that have come from a career site
Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% apply, but this accounts for 40% of all hires
67% of employers and recruiters said the recruiting process was shorter, and 51% said it was less expensive to recruit via referrals
So how are businesses like Deloitte, IBM and Freshbooks rocking their employee referral programme and keeping their employees engaged throughout? Although there are many great benefits to employee referral programmes, you’d be surprised at how many companies get it wrong and do not stick with it.
The answer – Gamification.
“The application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.”
Before you do anything, you need to get people on board with the idea. At the end of the day, if your employees aren’t bothered about your employee referral programme then you will get very little results.
Create a step by step guide for all employees. This guide will enable you to explain the rules, the game and processes, prizes, your recruitment process and the type of people you look for.
By clearly highlighting each step, you are allowing each employee to master the system and get really involved.
Perhaps give them some basic social recruitment training so they feel confident in the actions they take.
In any part of the recruitment life-cycle, feedback is one of the most important parts of the process. This is no different!
Employees won’t ‘play the game’ if they feel that their referral falls into a black hole, never to be seen again. By constantly giving feedback, you are encouraging further action to be taken by each member of your team.
By implementing a points system, each employee can see exactly what they have done and that their action has been recognized.
To keep everyone engaged and encourage everyone to participate, points should be rewarded based on effort.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Sharing the career site blog, jobs and company culture
Proactively building a network within your industry and competitors
Providing leads on candidates who are looking to move from their present role
Recommending qualified candidates
Candidates who pass interviews
Candidates who are hired
Make it multi-player:
Just like any other game, it’s OK playing on your own, however it’s a lot more fun when you have others joining in too.
Bring out the competitive side of your team and create a leader board that you can share with your entire business.
You could even have a leader board displayed in the office if you are going through major growth.
To ramp up the competition or build on participants (not to mention to expand your network!) you can invite non-employees into your employee referral program. Consider bringing in industry influencers, former employees, business partners and vendors into the game.
They will enjoy being part of something and having the potential to win prizes. Furthermore, you will get a far wider reach of passive candidates.
Make it fun:
Allow more winners.
It’s one of the simplest but yet most powerful pieces of advice I can give for creating a successful employee referral programme.
Think about it. As an employee, you put it in all that effort, the candidate you referred has made it to the last round, and they fall at the last hurdle. What do you get for it?
That’s right, nothing. Not even a pat on the back from your boss. So why bother next time?
There are a lot of things you can do to make your employee referral programme fun for your employees and therefore boost recommendations. I would suggest speaking with your team to find out what they are motivated by.
After all, who knows what they want better than themselves?
In the meantime, here are some ideas to get you started:
Surprise your employees! Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. Swap and change the points system, have random raffles for people who have hit a certain points level or even have a power hour where they will get double points for the actions made within a certain time frame
Got a hard to fill role? Offer a special prize for everyone who refers a qualified candidate for that position
Make points redeemable for prizes – this gives your team an element of control (which they will like). You can start off small and inexpensive: scratch cards, vouchers and experience tickets
When people reach a particular status in the leader board they can win a fixed prize. For example, dinner for two when they reach the top 4
Encourage teamwork – have a department or office location competition to create teamwork. You can then give a collective reward to the department that contributes the most qualified candidates
Remember: An employee referral programme is not something you launch, it’s something you do. In order for your program to take off, you need to constantly enrol people into the game!
Remember: Your leaders need to get involved too. Like with anything else in the working world, your Hiring Managers need to set a good example – set them monthly goals, or even separate hiring manager competitions to keep them involved.
Remember: Review your leader board often and stay on top everything. People will quickly lose interest if you don’t.
Remember: Constantly acknowledge your staff and give people feedback.
And there you have it, some key advice to help you get your employee referral program working and turning your entire workforce into recruitment superstars!
Before I go:
But before I go, I want to leave you with some ideas of how you can reward your employees. Not every business has the cash reserves for extravagant rewards.
Best reward practices:
Product awards e.g. Tablets and clothes vouchers
Experience awards e.g. A theatre trip with overnight stay in hotel
Paid vacation or days in lieu