How To Get More Employee Referrals


By Danielle Look from Team Engine

Employee referrals are the best source of hire, but just because you build an employee referral program, doesn’t mean they will come. For such a program to work, you’ve got to keep it top of mind for your employees, and design a simple system that’s easy to remember and navigate. 

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Here’s how to do it:

1. Remind employees often.

Whether you’re filling one specific position with a specialized skill set, or hiring general labor on an ongoing basis, asking for employee referrals once is rarely (if ever) enough. Filling open positions is not the primary job duty of your workforce, so your hiring needs will quickly be forgotten by most employees. A quick, simple reminder will go a long way at keeping the referral program top of mind for them.

The interval of time between reminders will vary from company to company depending on the industry and positions, but you should be asking employees for referrals on a monthly basis (at a minimum) if you hire year-round.

2. Make it easy for your employees to refer.

Keep the program details simple.
Don’t over-complicate the process. Every time you add rules, paperwork, or extra steps to your referral program, you lessen the chance of it working for you. If you can’t explain how referrals work in a couple of sentences, it’s too convoluted to be memorable, and thus stay top of mind.
Make referring effortless.
Human beings are always looking for the most efficient path. So, if you’re designing a process for a specific behavior (like sending in employee referrals), one of the best things you can do is remove all hurdles to completing the desired behavior. Don’t just make it easy; make it effortless. 

The opportunity to refer usually presents itself away from work, so employees need to be able to recall the details and make the introduction in a variety of different contexts. That often means no paperwork, no emails or phone calls, and certainly no trips to the HR office. How is that even possible? One idea is to have employees keep a card in their wallet they can hand out to their referrals with the web address for your company careers page. Another idea is to automate your referral program through text messaging (more on that in a moment).

3. Make it easy for the referral to apply.

The same concept above applies for the referred employee, too. If it’s not incredibly simple to apply—if there’s any friction in the process—they’ll abandon it altogether. So, if the referral has to fill out a long form, give you a call to figure out next steps, or come into the office to start the hiring process, you’re creating unnecessary barriers that they don’t want (or need) to overcome. They’ll simply look elsewhere, where those barriers don’t exist. 

4. Use technology to automate wherever possible.

As I’ve previously said on the blog, speed is the secret sauce to winning the war on talent. Just as you likely employ some kind of technology to provide a great customer experience (such as automated messaging or self-scheduling), you can also use technology to beat your competitors on the talent market, too.

At Team Engine, we automate the employee referral process for our customers—including text message reminders to current staff about hiring needs, as well as outreach to kick off the process with referred employees—but it’s possible to automate parts of the process without our software, too.

For example, a recurring event on your calendar could prompt you to send out a reminder to your staff. You could use an online form to collect the name and contact info of the referral, then use a tool like Zapier to send out personalized, automated messages to the referrals. In that message, include a link to your online application form (and make sure that form only collects essential information).

A good employee referral program doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be complicated at all. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you do it; it just matters that you make it as easy as possible to refer and apply, and to ask for those referrals far more often than you think is necessary. The rest is up to your team.

If you need more help recruiting, check out our FREE course called Recruiting Talent, sponsored by Team Engine, by clicking here.

Tags: hiring , Recruiting , Referrals ,