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Pimp your employee referrals program

While the recruitment world has changed considerably in the last few years, the power of word-of-mouth recommendations certainly hasn’t. When people have a good experience, they invite friends and family to do the same, which is why employee referrals have become one of the most popular and most productive ways for organisations to find top talent.

The changing recruitment landscape has given candidates much more power over their own job search. According to research from Recruitment International, 90% of today’s job market is candidate driven, which makes hiring quality candidates with the right skills a bit tricky - and tough on recruitment budgets.

Prospective candidates are choosing their employers, not the other way around, which is why organisations have opted to solve this problem through their own employee networks. Inviting current employees to be a part of the recruitment process has become an integral part of hiring and sourcing talent.

Now, I’m pretty sure you know what the benefits are - saving time and money, attracting quality candidates, increasing employee engagement and retention, etc, etc. So the real question is, how do you pimp your current employee referral program?

Well, put simply, sending out a quick meeting or casually mentioning referrals during a meeting won’t cut it anymore. Because you just can’t keep track of referrals this way. How are you supposed to manage referrals and rewards, on top of your day to day responsibilities, without a proper system or the right software in place? And how do you expect your employees to see the big picture? It’s not going to happen.

Today, the online market firmly accounts for where 92% of candidates found their last job. There are currently 6.9 million online job seekers in the UK, of which 90% are using mobile in their job search. Plus, over three quarters of UK job seekers use social media as part of their search and 15% use it exclusively.

Stats like these send a pretty clear message - you need to be taking advantage of the technology available to you.

So, with that in mind, here’s a quick run-down of a top notch 21st century referral program...

Gamification all the way

It doesn't always need to be about the financial rewards or giving people a shout out just for sharing great company news. Using creative game-like mechanics to create a more interactive referral process can help in that balancing act, keeping current employees engaged and eager to participate.

The feel good factor

You don’t have to reward employees directly to keep them engaged in this process. By offering to donate money to the employees favourite charity, local project or good cause, you can create a stronger message and you’ll see re-shares rocket.

Ask the right questions

Think about asking questions instead of publishing a simple statement, e.g. “share this role”. You’ll be amazed by the impact you’ll have by simply asking your workforce the direct question “do you know a great marketing executive?”

Tailor your rewards

Remember that not everyone is going to enjoy a high ropes course or off-road driving experience. Rewards are difficult to get right, but offering a variety of your rewards that offer something for everyone is a good place to start. And keep in mind that you don’t have to go overboard - consider offering simpler perks like time off too.

And finally...

Last but not least, ask your new starters to help drive your employee referral program within their first couple of weeks. This will drive a clear message of the importance you put behind your ‘refer a friend’ program.

Increased employee retention, employee engagement and candidate quality all feed into your employer brand, which is why employee referrals can be such a powerful tool in your recruitment arsenal. A personal recommendation to a great candidate can help your organisation cut through the noise because it’s just that - personal. It’s a genuine review coming from a trusted source.

If you want to know more about how to pimp up your employee referrals program, then I’d love to connect with you. You can find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.