August 22, 2017

How to Really Make an Employee Referral Program Shine


Employee Referral Program Ideas

Finding the right employees is the difference between having a middle-of-the-pack company and one that’s innovative. Employee referral programs are one way to locate that perfect candidate; Your staff know people who could fit well into the corporate culture. They also have a good idea about who has the skills you might need, and whether they might be interested in changing jobs. But what should the focus be when running these programs? To find out, we asked members from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:

“Do you have an employee referral program and if so what makes it successful?”

Employee Referral Program Ideas

Here’s what they had to say:

1. We Focus on Long-Term Rewards

“Our employee referral program focuses on not only finding, but keeping great talent long term. Instead of offering a bonus up front, we provide financial incentives with vesting, incrementally over time. This guarantees that the referrals we receive are fit for long term, while keeping the employee who brought them in interested in sticking around. Both become tied to each other’s long-term success.” ~ Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

2. We Offer a Culture People Want Their Friends to Join

“We do the typical things — incentivize financially and ask for recommendations — but the biggest difference we’ve found is having the kind of workplace that team members are excited to bring their friends into. Our culture is incredibly important, and when team members feel what it’s like to work in a place that cares about them, they want to bring their friends along.” ~ Zach ObrontBook in a Box



3. The Process Creates Trust

“The best way to make a team feel like a family is for employees to refer people they know. Your employees are the people you should trust. If there is someone they know would be a great addition to the team, there is weight to that claim. That means they have vetted them in their free time and would be willing to spend work hours with them. That means a lot.” ~ Renato LibricBouxtie Inc

4. High-Performance Employees Are Likely to Refer Someone of High Quality

“We have a referral program for the last six years, and some of our best employees have come through it. Everyone wants to bring their friends in the company whenever we have job opportunities. It is easier to convince a referred employee on salary, job duties and company culture. Generally, a high-performance employee is likely to refer someone of high quality. It works for all parties.” ~ Piyush JainSIMpalm

5. Give Engineers What They Love Most

“We do have an employee referral program in place in our engineering offices. Software developers like new gadgets and that what’s been working really great for my team as a referral bonus, such as a new iPhone or Apple Watch that has just hit the stores here in the U.S. and is not yet available in Russia. Those hard-to-get bonuses produced a much better result than significantly bigger monetary compensation.” ~ Andrey KudievskiyDistillery

6. The Program Is Mutually Beneficial

“Given we help clients with their talent acquisition needs, we’ve used the success from our own referral program to help companies put together their own similar ones. Referral programs are mutually beneficial, because companies find relevant hires and employees earn more money. However, if most hires are made through referrals, companies should ensure measures promoting diversity are in place.” ~ Peggy ShellCreative Alignments

7. We Start With Interns

“We find our best employees through our internship program. So, we encourage our team to find as many interns as possible to work in our marketing, copywriting and program development departments. Should any of these interns get hired as a full-time team member, the referrer will receive a cash bonus after that employee has worked with us for at least six months.” ~ Duran InciOptimum7

8. We Maintain Open Referrals

“If you’re leading a growing company with an eye toward the future, I think hiring is about finding the right people, and then figuring out where they fit in. Thus, keeping an open referral policy holds the most weight, as filling open jobs when they arise is about timing, not about the best candidates. Encourage your employees to refer talented individuals whenever, not just when you have a need.” ~ Bryce WelkerCrush Empire

Picking Employee Photo via Shutterstock

1 Comment ▼

The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

One Reaction

  1. Aira Bongco

    It is important to be constantly recruiting. This will help you have a steady stream of talent in your company. You’ll never know when one is leaving.

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