Best Practices and Management of an Employee Referral Program

HR Resource
January 30, 2014 — 3,111 views  
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Employee referral programs can boost a business like no other. A referral program is like building an army of devoted ambassadors, who keep your brand at the top of the game. Most people are cynical about what's posted about a company through banners or media, unless said so by a “trusted source.” Not all of your employees are going to get into this army right away- it takes planning and effort. You need to create a cohesive environment to work in, with positive work culture that would make them want to refer you. The program can help in increasing the retention rate of the referred employees, while increasing their engagement with the company.

The Importance of Communicating Back

Referral programs often fail as a result of slow response or none at all to inquiries. Keep your response time deadline at 72 hours, and don’t extend it beyond that. Prioritize referrals first, by moving them on to the fast track for evaluation or processing. Offer flexible options to the referred candidates, by giving them the lenience to pick the interview date or time. This would attract more potential talent.

Giving More Allowance

Whom are you handing over the reins to when it comes to bringing in the referrals? It is important to choose the right candidate, as you aren't looking at filling just another spot in your company, and the right employees often know who can fill those shoes. Give your recruiters and managers to refer candidates even if it isn't in their area of expertise. They're often well-connected and may have access to a strong talent pool outside. Up your referrals by asking retired employees, clients, and stakeholders to pitch in too. Note who your “bad referrers” are. If they've poured a steady line of irrelevant candidates into your hands, you know where not to look.


While encouraging them for their employee engagement efforts is a good thing, it won't keep fueling them for long. On the other hand, you'll be surprised how much rewards can do. Don't just reward the ones whose referrals are hired. If you thought a certain referral was good, even though he/she wasn't hired, make sure you reward them for their efforts in putting the right candidate across. You can thank them through a monetary bonus or a company-sponsored lunch.

Encouraging Referrals

Ask your new employees for referrals right when you take them on board. If you have consistent referrers, keep them in the loop by sending out updates and notifications on their referral status. If a referral did not work out, give them a feedback, so they stay informed too. This can also help in improving the quality of referrals they bring in the next time, as they know what you're looking for. If you want to expand your referral program further, you can give out referral cards or hold events where the likeliness of finding prospects is better.

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