If you’re struggling to find high-quality applicants, you need to stop relying on external recruitment efforts and tap into an often-overlooked resource: your current employees. They often know someone who would be an excellent fit for a role you have to fill, and all you need to do is ask! Employee referral programs reduce recruitment costs, save time, and often help bring in better candidates than traditional methods. Plus, they help improve company culture and teamwork since employees recommend people they already get along with.
Find out how to begin your employee referral program with the suggestions below. Just don’t forget to check out The Essential Guide to Attracting Hourly Workers. This free guide outlines even more proven strategies to amplify your sourcing efforts with ease.
How to Create an Employee Referral Program That Works
Be Transparent About Hiring Needs
First and foremost, you have to be comfortable sharing your hiring needs with the current staff members. There’s usually no need to pick and choose who you tell — it’s typically best to establish communication with everyone at the company. That way, you maximize your reach and potential to get great applicants. You never know who has someone in their network that would be a fantastic fit for your company. A restaurant manager might have a friend looking for work as a chef and vice-versa.
While being transparent about the position you need to fill, make sure you also clearly communicate its specific requirements. You don’t want your employees suggesting a bunch of candidates who don’t have enough experience or lack the skills necessary to perform the job, especially in technical roles. You’ll end up wasting everyone’s time — including yours. Consider drafting the job description ahead of time and sharing it internally before posting online to better inform your employees in their search.
Offer an Incentive With Clear Requirements
While many employees would simply be happy to work with one of their friends or someone they get along with well, others need an extra incentive to help with your recruitment efforts. 92% of employers with a referral program offer a monetary incentive, and the majority of them consist of a $500 bonus. Just keep the timing of the bonus in mind — not just the amount. Only 27% of those employers give the employee the bonus immediately upon hiring the applicant they referred. We recommend awarding the bonus after the new hire has been there and proven their reliability for at least 90 days.
Tip: Make the requirements as straightforward as possible for employees to earn the referral incentive. The last thing you want is one of your best employees (and the friend they referred) to complain and get disgruntled over a misunderstanding of the program.
Make the Referral Process as Simple as Possible
Also, make sure you don’t hinder referral efforts by making it a long, complex process. Nobody likes having to fill out piles of paperwork or read through extensive stipulations, especially in addition to their regular work. Try sending an email to employees with a brief overview of the job and incentive with a link to a convenient Google Form they can use to submit contact information about who they think would be a good fit. You can even make it as simple as replying to the email.
Maintain Communication With Employee
Remember to stay in contact with your current employee about how the hiring process is going, especially regarding the person they recommended. It’s not a good feeling to be left in the dark after trying to help the company and a friend. It can be as detailed as you feel comfortable with, but just make sure you let them know as soon as possible if their friend is just not a good fit for the role (but that you’re highly appreciative of your suggestion).
Employee Referral Program Email Template
Here’s an example of an email you can send out to the company when you want to begin your employee referral program:
Hi [Employee Name],
We’re looking to expand our team, and we’d love your help finding the right person for the job. You’re an important member of the staff here at [Company], making your opinion extremely valuable to us. You’ll even get a $500 bonus if the person you refer gets hired and stays for 90 days!
Here’s the role we need to fill:
- [Job Title]
Please take a moment to fill out this Google Form so we can get to know the person you recommend and hopefully get you on the way to earning an extra $500!
Thank you for your help,
Tip: Be sure to mention the incentive bonus in the subject line to increase the open rate!