Thinking about an Employee Referral Program? Here are 7 Ways to Get One Started

Tips for Growing Employee Referral Programs

Getting great talent to work for a company can be very hard. Why not use your current employees to help you find your next ones? To find out how, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question on how to encourage your employees to help you acquire better new employees.

“Building a talented team is a never-ending process, and sometimes relying on your team is the best way to find top talent. What’s one little-known tip you have for establishing or encouraging a successful employee referral program? “

Tips for Growing Employee Referral Programs

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Offer a Meaningful Amount, Over Time

“Offer the employees a meaningful sum of money (could be a month’s wage) for someone they refer. Sounds like a lot, but believe me, it isn’t when they recruit a star. However, it would have earn-out. Meaning, they get a third of it after the first 30 days onboard, a third after 60 days, and again after 90 days (or whatever timeframe you deem appropriate). This way you ensure the new hire is a quality team member.” ~ Justin McGillLeadFuze

2. Stress Quality over Quantity

“It can be helpful to have a large pool of potential long-term talent to sift through, but I’ve had much greater success with our employee referrals once I gave them specific requirements. Rather than encourage my team members to refer as many people as possible, I reward employees who dig deeper, even if it results in fewer referrals over time. Often, these more selective picks will last longer.” ~ Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

3. Be Inclusive

“In the past six months, I’ve watched four friends join the same startup because the company’s health insurance completely covered mental health care. One person brought in three of their friends without any sort of cash incentives. Taking care of employees’ needs enables them to do their best work, which encourages them to invite their friends to apply. This approach also improves employee retention.” ~ ThursdayBramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

4. Provide Acknowledgment

“While monetary benefits are part of most referral programs, recognizing top referrers publicly will work in adding that all important extra touch. This acknowledgment can come in the form of public appreciation from the top boss, an award, or a mention in the weekly or monthly meeting. Dell, for instance, awards points to the company’s top referrers, who then get recognized locally and globally.” ~ Derek RobinsonTop Notch Dezigns

5. Create a Video Pitch

“Try creating a video pitch for your business to go with your referral program. By creating a high-quality video that shows your workspace, the equipment you use, and the type of environment you work in, potential employees can get a real view of what to expect. Also, this video is something that your current employees can share on social media to drum up interest in your organization. When a video is creative and valuable, it can yield excellent results.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

6. Give Bonuses for Longevity

“Incentivizing team members to refer talented individuals is a wise investment for growing companies. It’s a smart way to leverage your team’s network and experience. Happy employees make willing cheerleaders for your business, and this can help attract talent. Tying bonuses to the time a referred employee remains with the company can help ensure that your employees are selective about referrals. ” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

7. Remember Taxes

“Most folks use the bonus money to make an employee referral program attractive. One way to enhance that is to make the bonus after tax. If you don’t do that, the person bringing you the new hire might have somewhat of a bad taste in their mouth if the program says you get $500, but turns out to be about $400 after taxes.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

Photo via Shutterstock

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.