Tap Into New Talent Potential With an Employee Referral Program

The base of the talent management pyramid comes in the form of tapping into talent potential, and one viable way to do that is through an employee referral program.


With an employee referral program you’re gaining access to talent you might not otherwise know about and it’s also more likely to be qualified talent since these are people coming from the recommendations of your current employees.

Employee referrals can be casual, or it can be a strategic and formulated part of your overall talent management strategy.

The strategic program is often the recommended route. So how do you go about implementing this type of program in your organization?

First, The Benefits

There’s the basic benefit of an Employee Referral Program (ERP)  – you have access to new talent.

There are other benefits as well, however.

First of all, employees found through an ERP tend to have more staying power than other candidates and you’re also able to access people who may not be actively looking for a job, which is often a lacking element when it comes to most talent sourcing techniques.

Having an ERP in place also tends to be efficient in terms of time and money.

Making an ERP Work

There are a number of tips you can utilize to ensure you have an ERP that actually is bringing your organization value.

Here are just a few:

  • Marketing and promoting your ERP internally needs to be a primary focus. You need your employees to know all about your ERP in order for them to start using it. Just as you market other things like employee wellness programs internally, you should be being doing the same for your referral program.
  • Incentivize employees. Your current employees are going to be more engaged with helping draw in new talent from their own pool of contacts if there is something “in it for them.” There are different incentive formats you can follow—some organizations give rewards that are universally applied whereas other organizations may have more valuable rewards for the higher ranking positions that are filled by referrals.
  • Along with incentivizing ERPs, gamification also works well—particularly when these two elements are implemented together with one another. There’s always something valuable about motivating employees through competition and you’re going to up your participation quite a bit if you’re willing to include this in your overall employee referral program.
  • Create strong internal social media accounts because this is one of the big ways your employees are going to implement the referral process and this is where a lot of the communication is going to be taking place. You want your employees to be able to share your company’s employee social media profiles to engage and attract potential new talent and also to strengthen your employer brand.
  • Keep it simple. You want to make it easy for your employees to share job listings and information and you don’t want the referral or the application process to be too complex or time-consuming.
  • If you’re using a rewards system as part of your ERP and are worried about the quality of candidates you attract, consider only giving the referrer a reward after the new hire has passed a pre-determined probation period. This will help you ensure you’re getting quality and not just quantity as a result of your ERP.

These are just a few of the many ways you make an ERP work for your organization. Do you rely on employee referrals as part of your recruitment tactics? If so, do you have a formalized or informal program for doing so?

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November 26, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015   employee referral program, erp, external hiring, hiring   

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