Build Employee Referral Culture

How to Build a Successful Employee Referral Program

Who doesn’t want to hire loyal employees who engage with the company – committed to helping it grow and thrive? When it comes to having high employee retention rates and making enthusiastic, engaged employees a part of the company’s culture, building a successful employee referral program is an ideal solution.

The best employee referral programs not only attract and retain top candidates, they also allow current employees to be active in the hiring process; giving them a sense of ownership in the company. Employees who feel valued will go the extra mile for the team.

Ready to start an employee referral program? Here are tips to consider:


1. Get Help From the Top

Executive involvement is integral to the success of a company’s employee referral program for a variety of reasons. First, executives can ensure that managers are explaining the details of the referral program properly and are offering the best guidance on what the company or organization is looking for in a job candidate. In addition, executives can best assess the success of the referral program and suggest changes to make it more successful.

“In a referral culture, employees are expected to refer qualified candidates and employees expect their employer to consider their recommendations,” said Jerome Ternynck, founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters. “Creating a referral culture requires employees at every level to invest in the program.”


2. Motivate and Reward for Referrals

According to, while employee referral programs can produce great results, only about 30% of employees take part in the programs – 70% of employees don’t refer candidates. Companies can motivate employees to participate by offering rewards and recognition. ERE suggests sending a personalized note from a top executive to the referring employee, along with a T-shirt or plaque. Another suggestion: host a quarterly or annual luncheon for employees with the CEO and then publicly thank them for taking part in the referral program.


3. Get Creative with Rewards

According to LinkedIn, employees expect a reward for referring potential employees but not necessarily in cash. “Sometimes just a special parking spot or even social media recognition can be enough to encourage internal employees to refer friends and colleagues to your company,” said Bill Peppler, managing partner of Kavaliroh, a national recruiting company. “This type of compensation can be just as effective as cash.”

Consider individualizing rewards, for example give a coffee drinker a Starbucks gift card or a music lover an iTunes gift card. Get creative with rewards. Prize drawings, such as a quarterly drawing for a vacation, can also be effective and fun.


4. Use Social Media

With the popularity of social networks, it’s not surprising that we spend 19 percent of our time online engaged in social media sites including Facebook and LinkedIn. When it comes to employee referrals, social media can be invaluable. Encourage your employees to post job openings to their networks as a low cost way to find your new employees.


Photo credit: Gangplank HQ / CC BY 2.0

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this valuable information to our vision. You have posted a trust worthy blog keep sharing.Nice article i was really impressed by seeing this article, it was very interesting and it is very useful for me..

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