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How To Create an Employee Referral Program

employee referral program

The hiring process can be overwhelming if you don't have the right recruitment strategies in place. Posting open positions on job sites may be one of the most popular methods to find new hires, but developing an employee referral program is key if you're looking to grow your small business quickly and efficiently. Not only does hiring employee referrals usually speed up the recruitment process, but it also cuts costs and increases the likelihood that you're hiring someone who knows your specific culture and how to be a successful member of your team.

Everything from getting members of your staff to participate to promoting the opportunity efficiently is important to creating a program that brings in successful new hires. If you have yet to establish an effective referral program for your company, start with these tips:

1. Create a structured framework

One of the first steps you have to take to garner interest in your referral program is creating a clear framework. Simply telling your staff about the opportunity without guidelines or instructions may not leave you with the best results. Inform them of new methods they can use for referring candidates. For example, alter your general application so that there's a spot where applicants can enter the name of a referring employee to push their application to the top of the pile. 

Always highlight the specific areas that you're hoping to hire people in. This way, you will end up with applicants with expertise in those departments and avoid a stack of resumes you have no use for. It's also important to remember that if staff members refer candidates and these applicants never hear back from you because you're not hiring in those departments, your employees will be less likely to participate in your program down the road when you do need people for those positions. 

2. Make the reward clear

You should clearly state the bonus that you will be providing for employees who suggest candidates you end up hiring. Don't forget to clarify at which stage of the recruitment process your staff members will get their rewards. It's usually best to offer them after you've officially hired the referred employees. Failing to specify this can create confusion and problems in the future. 

For positions that are more difficult to fill, offering a bonus that's a little bit larger than the reward for referring people for other easier-to-fill roles can give employees the push they need to do some digging to find someone in their professional network who would be a good fit for the job. 

3. Don't be afraid to extend your network

If your employees can't find anyone to fill the position, allow them to ask their referrals is they know someone. Extending your outreach to candidates recommended by your employee referrals can increase the chances that you will find a qualified employee for your open position. After all, you would probably have to start considering external candidates who have no connection to your trusted workers if none of the employee referrals are interested or available. When it comes to providing a reward, consider splitting it with your employee and their referral.

4. Communicate the program effectively

Promoting your employee referral program through platforms that optimize its visibility is crucial, especially during its launch. Advertising your program in the company newsletter or through email blasts are effective strategies. Include links that lead to specific referral guidelines on your company's website and refer to a human resources representative who workers can go to for more information. Holding staff meetings where you can explain the opportunity in detail and answer any questions will also help to get the word out there.

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