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Referral Program Design: Communication

By: James Dix Friday June 27, 2014 comments

One of the more important aspects to a fruitful employee referral program is communication. It is crucial to have communication between recruiters, employees, executives, and management. Not only do employees need to know about the referral program, but the employees need to know how the program fits into the overall strategic goals of the company. Further, employees need to be kept in the loop on how their referrals are doing in the hiring pipeline and be encouraged to make referring a priority.

Employee referral programs have strategic value to an organization, and it is well known that employee referrals are the best hires in numerous metrics including diversity, time-to-hire, culture fit, and productivity. The problem is, many employees outside of the hiring loop don't know how valuable employee referral programs are. Acknowledging and communicating this to employees helps with poor participation in referral programs especially when coming from the CEO.

What does your employee referral program offer as incentives for participation? Is there a cash incentive for a successful referral? Can a portion of the incentive be donated to charity on behalf of the employee? Are all top referrals guaranteed interviews? Is there a $25 gift card for the first referral regardless of whether the referral is hired? Even if the incentives are as simple as a dinner with the CEO, conveying to an employee every aspect of the benefits of referring is imperative.

A common problem with employee referral programs is that the employee who refers a qualified job candidate is not kept in the loop on how the referral is progressing through the hiring pipeline. It's a good thing if referred candidates are fast-tracked in the hiring process because, ideally, an employee would get some sort of feedback within three days.

There are some other things to consider with regards to communication. How are employees notified about job openings? Is there a system in place that automatically notifies an employee of an open job, gives them access to the job description, and also collects referred candidates? Are there personalized reminders about open jobs and how easy it is to refer someone? Regardless of how your company's referral program operates, an easy way to drive employee engagement is through communication.

About the Author: James Dix