3 ways to start an employee referral program

There are many facets you have to take care of when managing your small business. From establishing relationships with service providers to curating a social media presence, you have to ensure that all procedures are taken care of so that your company can flourish in the long run.

Perhaps the most important aspect of running a business is recruiting new workers. Thanks to new technology, it’s easier than ever to find top talent to strengthen your staff. Whether you use LinkedIn, Indeed or Craigslist, you can attract dozens of applicants who might be your next great employees.

Unfortunately, blind applications only get you so far. Even with an extensive vetting process, you might not necessarily find the best candidate to bring aboard. A worker might have a great resume and complete an outstanding interview, but that doesn’t mean he or she will actually be able to contribute to your company’s objectives.

In many cases, an employee referral program is more effective for finding great staff members than cold calls and blind leads. The strategy has always been popular, leading many job seekers to understand that finding work is more about who they know than what they know.

Here are a few ways to get your employee referral program off the ground.

Offer incentives
You can ask your employees to recommend their friends and associates for new positions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your staff members will respond to the requests. How many workers actually do anything without being offered some type of incentive?

To that end, the Hotel Business Review explains that you have to find rewards that will motivate employees to refer their contacts to you. Obviously, cash gifts are usually the most effective incentives because people want to pad their regular paychecks. Offer bonuses to workers who make referrals that lead to new hires.

What’s more, you can encourage staff members to only recommend strong candidates by offering further incentives. For instance, you can give out additional checks if the referred hires stay for certain periods. This will help you create a strong staff and enhance employee retention.

Use nepotism
Nepotism has more than a few negative connotations attached to it. In the corporate world many workers associate the term with being passed over for opportunities so that a boss’ relative could receive a promotion. While this case can happen on occasion, some experts believe that nepotism can actually help improve an employee referral program. Chris Forman, president of human resources at AIRS, told Monster that he seeks it out when looking for recommendations.

“This might sound counterintuitive, but we love nepotism. We have brothers-in-law and sisters who work here. My father works in the business. They’re our best employees. You never hire two people at once, but when people say don’t hire friends, neighbors, or relatives, they might be overlooking great candidates,” said Forman.

Tell workers to recommend whoever they want, whether it’s a relative, school chum or the person who lives down the hall.

Follow up
The worst thing you can do with an employee referral program is to not follow up on all of the leads. If you don’t contact applicants, you’ll likely raise the ire of your employees who want their bonuses and to see their contacts receive new jobs. Maribeth Bailey, national director of talent acquisition at Deloitte, told The New York Times that her company had to deal with complaints about this issue.

“We had people that felt referrals weren’t being attended to or referrals weren’t being contacted,” said Bailey.

Quite simply, you can’t afford to ignore referrals because your staff members will wonder why you didn’t consider their recommendations.

How did you start your employee referral program?


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