Tips from the Leadership Coach: Maximize Your Employee Referral Program

Go Back to Searchlight Q1 2015

An employee referral program can pay big dividends when recruiting candidates for every level of the organization. Studies consistently show that employee referrals are one of the best ways to attract well-qualified senior executives, managers, professionals and other members of the workforce.employee referral form

But not all employee referral programs deliver the same results. It’s essential for organizations to think carefully about their goals and resources when reviewing a current program or launching a new one. Here are ten suggestions for maximizing your employee referral program.

  1. Focus on recruiting for high-impact and hard-to-fill positions. That might mean offering higher awards for referring front-line sales executives or technology professionals like application developers and programmers whose skills are needed to support the organization’s growth.
  2. Provide a meaningful award to the referring employee. That might be financial or something intangible like a preferred parking spot or time off.
  3. Train employees to become recruiters. Give them specific guidance about how to reach out to family, friends and associates and point them in the right direction.
  4. Hold special events like a “recruiting night” or a catered luncheon to build awareness or announce a change to the current referral program.
  5. Demonstrate how employees can tap into their personal and professional networks on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
  6. Keep track of your most productive recruiters. Give their referrals a high priority and get back to those candidates as quickly as possible.
  7. Use multiple channels, such as email, social media and break room flyers, to inform employees about the program.
  8. Highlight success stories to encourage conversations and motivate other employees.
  9. Look for opportunities to create excitement. How about a “Wanted” poster for a new COO or CFO, or a magnetic “fish pond” where employees who make referrals can “hook” an extra financial reward?
  10. Monitor the program’s results. A senior-level committee or task force should periodically review the referral program to see how well it’s accomplishing the desired objectives. Different market conditions, corporate resources or strategic goals may necessitate a restructuring of the referral program.

Remember that an effective employee referral program can give your organization a competitive advantage in today’s talent pool. Give your program the time and attention it deserves, and it may develop into your most effective recruiting channel.

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