How to increase employee referrals in 5 easy steps

Increase employee referrals

88% of employers said that referrals are the #1 best source for above-average applicants. (Source: Dr. John Sullivan research).  It’s not news, but most businesses are still facing an uphill battle to increase employee referrals.

Tipping the balance to reach a point where you’re less reliant on external hires to fill every open role, because you’ve got a steady stream of referred candidates topping up your talent pipeline every week is a dream position to be in.  

More referred candidates equals less time-to-hire, reduced recruitment costs and usually lower employee turnover.

But, to get to that point you need to consistently test strategies and tactics that ultimately increase the number of referred candidates into your business.  Here’s our top 5 – but don’t forget, creativity is critical to driving participation so there will always be more ideas. 

1. Automate the referral process

Without blowing our own trumpet early doors, one of the reasons Real Links works so well is it overcomes the very first hurdle that gets in people’s way.  Actually referring a candidate.  Between not knowing what roles are open to not understanding the process to refer someone, it’s a common bottle neck. Real Link’s unique matching technology automatically identifies skills from your job adverts and matches them with skills from people in your employee’s networks.  The employee is sent a notification, and at the click of a button they refer and receive a reward.   

2. Nail your rewards

A Real Links survey found that 34% of companies only offer rewards for referrals upon a hire being made with a further 65% once a referred candidate has passed their probation period. That is a long time for an employee to wait to be rewarded. And it’s not only about how long they wait, but the rewards they’re incentivised with.  Most organisations are still reliant on monetary rewards, which will be hurting their referral participation. 

3. Communicate – all the time

Whether it’s a lack of transparency of the referral process; confusion about how to join in the first place or no up to date information on current open roles there’s a long list of reasons referrals fail, more often than not because of poor communication.  Clarity and consistency of communication from the day you launch your referral program is imperative for longevity.  A clear communications plan should be a key part of every new referral scheme. 

4. Build an employer brand worth shouting about 

Ok, it’s not a small task.  Especially if you’re starting from scratch, but living by an employer value proposition that’s clear and inspiring for your staff is likely to have the same effect on great talent.  We all know it’s important, but when it comes to referrals your employees have got to be committed to your message, and to do that, your message has to be clear and consistent.

5. Embed referrals into your culture

People are your most valuable asset.  Each and every person has a profound effect on the long term viability of your business.  As an HR or Talent Acquisition team you have a responsibility to convey how vital hiring is to the success of the company and empower employees to want to support you in making their business the best it can be.  In this case, by referring great talent. 

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