"If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It..." -- Is this the best philosophy for your Employee Referral Program?

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“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”…. We’ve all heard the expression and most likely have used it ourselves. Are you employing this philosophy when it comes to your company’s Employee Referral Program? Look at it another way: When you buy a new car, what are the important things you look for? Good gas mileage? Cost? Resale value? Safety features? Once you identify that “Perfect Car”, you make your purchase. Over time, the car still runs well, but wear and tear starts to kick in. Maybe it’s not as efficient on gas as it once ones because it has a leak. Or possibly your tires are worn and you can’t drive as safely in snow and ice. Do you not get your oil changed as frequently because the car is older and not worth the time for maintenance? Yes, it runs fine and gets the job done, but how do you feel about it? Envision getting new tires, a tune-up and having the car detailed. Get behind the wheel now and it may feel like a whole different ride!

Look at your existing Employee Referral Program. You may be able to make a few adjustments and it will feel like a whole new recruiting tool!

When is the last time the structure of the program was reviewed?

Most individuals don’t “recruit” as part of their job and therefore may not have a full understanding of how they can use their network to lead to a “quality hire”. If you make it easy, there is a higher likelihood for someone to take action. What “toolkits” do you have for your employees who can bring in these very valuable referrals? Toolkits can include anything from e-mail templates, sample blogs, messaging about events your company attends or is sponsoring, and a company “sell sheet” just to name a few. Try offering a free company lunch or cocktail hour where you can teach your employees some ways to “pitch” the company to their friends.

How are you rewarding your employees for referrals?

It is important to periodically review the incentives you offer. A financial reward may offer immediate gratification, but it also shifts the focus to “me” perspective as opposed to that of what is best for the team. By setting up internal challenges among teams and offering group rewards, you are helping to create a stronger team which in turns yields a stronger company. Remember that every individual you work with has different drivers and motivators. While a check for $1500 may be a motivator for one, others may be more inclined to have first choice at selecting days off for vacation. You will never know unless you ask the people you work with. In many companies, managers are not eligible for monetary rewards for referrals. Are there other incentive that can be offered to them? Think outside the box – perhaps you let them choose a charity where they would like a donation made on their behalf by the company.

Are your managers actively promoting the referral program?

Your managers have an incredible amount of influence on their teams. They spend a lot of time with them and have a solid understanding of motivates each individual. Your leaders can also coach the team on the importance of quality referrals and how it effects the team as a whole. Take the “Hire for the Team” approach which demonstrates that “you deserve the best” and how that will influence the team as a whole. The performance of employees is a key metric in evaluating the quality of referrals. Better referrals = better hires = higher output = hitting goals = higher bonuses!

Create a Company Story

Nothing can have a more profound impact on engaging the top 25% of successful individuals into your company than your unique story. Is it your products and how they impact customers? Or maybe the culture of your company. Whatever the stories, be sure they are easy to communicate. Make videos, take photos, and illustrate exciting wins for the company. Know and be able to communicate the stories of employees that have had a particularly successful career paths since joining the company. Where did the founders of your company come from and why did they start it? Your company story is your inventory of what makes it a great place to work. “Great benefits and a completive salary” are NOT enough to get the top tier individuals in your front door.

So sure, maybe things seems copacetic, but can they be better? Small adjustments may lead to some great progress and a really smooth ride!