How To: Run an Employee Referral Program

One trick that can help your company to find and hire top talent is an employee referral program; employees recommend your company to their friends, family and professional network in the hopes that both active and passive job seekers will be interested in joining.

Studies have shown referred employees have higher retention rates and increase employee engagement within a company. So, how do you start a referral program, and how do you reward and recognise employees?

When beginning a program, the key is to let your staff know they are valued & trusted and that is why you are encouraging their input on recommending future employees. It’s also important to remind employees about the program frequently through internal communication and especially around your company’s peak hiring time.

A simple, easy and accessible way for employees to promote your company is via social media as most everyone will hold a social media account with one of the big channels. When employees share with their friends and acquaintances your company, its culture and its opportunities then this is a direct feed of positive information to an audience you may not have reached with a job posting or via your own company media.

Some companies have referral programs in place that reward the current employee with a large monetary bonus, but that’s not always feasible for everyone – this doesn’t mean your company cannot operate a program! If money is not an option, there are more creative ways to recognise employees, such as via a perks program (named parking space, 3 month gym discount, free lunch, etc.).

That being said, the number-one most effective way to ensure an employee referral program runs well is to simply make your company a great place to work at. If your existing employees feel valued then they will already be helping you – spreading the word and trying to find people that they want to work with and would be a fit in your company.

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