Truth be told, you could be doing something to unintentionally discourage employee participation in your current Employee Referral Program (ERP).
The job market is competitive. Without solid employee engagement, you could be seeing fewer qualified candidates from your ERP and applying for open positions. The harder you make it for your employees to refer, the bigger the barrier you’re putting up.
So how do you know if you’re doing anything wrong?
There are a few major things to avoid when cultivating your ERP. If you can manage to avoid these unfortunately fairly common pitfalls, you’ll be more likely to see ERP success.
Budget constraints may prevent you from handing out iPads like candy to employees willing to make referrals, however you can only collect so many company logoed pens and notepads.
Properly incentivizing employees doesn’t have to break the bank, but it does have to actually provide something of value. By giving generic or useless incentives to employees willing to send you a referral you are almost guaranteeing that they won’t do it again. You also won’t see additional participation from employees, knowing there’s really nothing in it for them.
Even just a certificate can have a positive impact. Also, don’t discount personal connections. A phone call from the CEO can go a long way to build employee morale and foster additional pride in participation.
It’s All About the Benjamins
If you are going to offer a financial incentive to employees willing to participate in your ERP, make sure it’s actually achievable and/or worth their efforts. Some common mistakes could include:
- Having to split the referral bonus between the employee and new hire
- Bonus only being paid out after 6 months of employment
- Bonus too low to effectively incentivize participation
Pay structures like those listed above just reinforce that the company doesn’t really value these referrals. In the long run you’ll just end up costing your company more money on wasted training for week candidates who end up leaving anyway and you’ll have under-motivated employees who don’t feel their contributions are valued.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Statistically speaking, most employees will not refer a candidate simply for the referral bonus. They refer because they feel it will help their company or they will be helping out the candidate. These are the right reasons, and in order to encourage this mindset you have to make sure your employees are happy.
Of course employee happiness opens an entirely new, larger can of worms, however if you start with the ERP culture, you’re off to a good start. Make it easy and fun for your employees to make referrals and you’ll have more active participation in the long run.
Encourage employee participation by giving them tools and resources to share with others what it’s really like to work for your company. If they have nothing but positive things to share, you’ll be attracting the best candidates. Some great ideas might include:
- Creating a career section on your website showcasing employees and culture
- Providing social media posts for employees to share with their networks
- Providing referral literature or cards for employees to network with
Active ERP participation is a group effort and if management takes an active role in fostering and effectively rewarding employee participation, your ERP will attract more rock star talent that you know what to do with.