The 5-step plan to build your own employee referral program

recruitmentEmployee referral programs consistently produce the best candidates in the shortest time and at the lowest cost. But if you’re like most companies, referrals comprise only 6.9 percent of applicants. What a waste!

Fortunately, that’s not a fixed maximum; with a little effort, you can boost those numbers. According to Gerry Crispin, a principal at CareerXroads, “companies where recruiters place greater emphasis on referral-related hiring” are able to increase the percentage of referrals by 7-15%. By following the following best practices, you too can start saving thousands of dollars (and countless hours) per employee.

Learn the step-by-step process of creating your own internal recruiting program.

  1. Define your employee value proposition
    An employee value proposition (EVP) is an extension of your corporate brand and a critical part of recruitment and retention. Your EVP is an expression of what you offer potential employees, and the better (and more accurate) it is, the easier it will be to recruit and retain top talent.
  2. Set a measurable goal
    Make sure the program works by setting benchmarks for the number of employee-referred hires you want to make and set a timeframe for completion. And be transparent! People can’t rally around a goal if they don’t know what success looks like at the end.
  3. Select a leader
    Follow good project management best practices and designate someone to lead the charge.
  4. Create incentives
    Recognition alone is a powerful motivator, but you’ll get the best response if you give your employees a little something extra for their efforts. The more you offer, the more likely they are to participate, but make sure you’re only incentivizing quality leads or you’ll end up with heaps of unqualified candidates.
  5. Spread the word
    Your employees won’t start making referrals unless they know you’re looking. Communicate the entire strategy—not just the rewards part—to all employees, get your executives excited, and let everyone know when there’s an opening in their departments. You’ll start collecting resumes in no time. But don’t stop there! After the launch, make a point to check in, remind employees, and give updates on your progress toward goals. It’s not a one-time push, it’s a permanent campaign.

Want to learn more about employee referrals? Download our new e-book, The ultimate guide to employee referrals: How to engage employees, save millions, and drive Employee Success™.