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used-blog-nov-15-2016-referral-program-circleWith many Baby Boomers retiring, and relatively low unemployment rates all over BC, there’s a lot of competition for qualified applicants. Combine that with high candidate expectations and millennials who aren’t willing to settle for just any job, and employers are having to get creative to attract their next rock star employee.

Getting employees to source candidates for you can add a lot of value, but it’s still an underused initiative in recruitment. Twitter_logo_blue

But aside from posting and praying, what can you be doing to proactively appeal to the best talent?

The answer could be an Employee Referral Program—getting employees to source candidates for you can add a lot of value, but it’s still an underused initiative in recruitment. It doesn’t take much effort to get employees on board with filling your vacancies, and it can save you hours of sifting through mountains of underwhelming resumes. There are lots of pluses to an Employee Referral Program: current employees are likely to refer those with a similar work style and ethic, you know they’ll jive as a team, and you’ll save yourself time and money while getting direct access to a larger number of passive job seekers.

And who better to represent your employer brand than those who live it?

Some essential things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about rolling out an Employee Referral Program:

1. Make it simple. Avoid bombarding employees with too much information, and keep the process clear. Share step-by-step, simple instructions for how the referral program works, and don’t over complicate it by making employees jump through too many hoops to get rewards.

2. Make it valuable. To maximize participation, the incentives offered for referrals need to be ones employees actually want! A cash payout is a popular option, but it doesn’t have to be about money. Entry into a quarterly prize draw, a note or word of appreciation from upper management, or a choice between a few different reward options can all be great motivators.

Some easy low-cost reward ideas:

  • Starbucks gift card
  • Extra day off
  • Reserved parking spot
  • Restaurant gift certificate
  • Donation to a charity of choice
  • Movie tickets
  • Choice of shift schedule
  • Massage voucher
  • iTunes gift card
  • Tickets to a sports game

It all comes down to knowing how your team members like to be appreciated, and tailoring your incentives accordingly to encourage participation (Not sure what that means? Click Here for details on our upcoming Workplace Appreciation workshop)!

3. Make it shareable. For employees to spread the word effectively, they need to know what they’re talking about. Circulate the job descriptions and postings for sharing online and on social media, so it’s as easy as clicking a button to share an opportunity with a friend.

4. Make it standard. Decide what details you need to keep track of, and create a standardized form. If you’re trying to go paperless but don’t have an HRIS, an easy-to-build online form can help streamline the process. Include details like the names of both parties, referral dates, and when the incentive is due.

5. Make it better. Don’t rest on your laurels once your program is up and running. There’s always room for improvement! Get feedback from referring employees, referred employees, and employees who haven’t participated in the referral program to pinpoint ways to increase participation and improve the experience.

Your Engaged HR Assignment: 

Do you have an Employee Referral Program in place? If not, it’s about time you capitalized on your in-house recruitment squad. Feel like a formal program is too much to take on right now? Don’t underestimate the power of simply asking high performers to help with recommendations—everyone wins when you build a strong team, and your employees know that!

As always, if you’re looking for advice on how to get your employees on board with recruitment, this isn’t our first rodeo. Feel free to reach out—we’ve got some ideas and are happy to help!

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