5 New Rules For Employee Referral Programs….

Tim Sackett Audacious Ideas, Tim Sackett, Total Rewards

First off, can we all agree on a couple of things?

1. Candidates hired through employee referrals tend to be better hires than those hires not coming from referrals.

Are we good?

2. Your Employee Referral Program sucks and needs a refresh.

Are we still good?

Don’t feel bad, 87% of all HR managers I talked to about this post said they needed to redo their Referral Program. So, you are in a blogger non-definable category of worthless metrics!  But, at least you’re not alone!

The nice thing is we here at FOT are willing and ready to help, so today we are giving 5 New Rules for a Kick #$$ Employee Referral Program!  Here we go:

#1 – Stop calling it an “Employee Referral” program – no one cares who refers them as long as they get referred to you and not your competition.  Start calling it a “Candidate Referral” program and pay the bonus out to whoever refers the person.  Look, if I’m down at the local barber shop and Pete the Barber tells me about a guy he knows who is a great guy and a great Java Developer – BAM! – Pete needs some love from me.  Companies who are continuing to use “Employee Referral” programs are lame – open your mind.

#2 – Post publicly a Candidate Referral scorecard.  If Ted in accounting has referred 3 people in the past 12 months and leads all internals with referrals – post it – post the Top 10 – let everyone know.  It will increase your referrals, guaranteed, or we here at FOT will give you the cost of your membership subscription to this site back!  If you’re really on top of it, post external referrals as well, especially if Ted’s wife has referred 2 others – now Ted is really responsible for 5 finds.  It’s good to connect the dots!

#3 – Your list of “rules” for paying out referrals and how they will get paid out – must be less than 150 words, and so simple the sales department can figure it out as well.

#4 – Don’t make people fill out your stupid form to refer a candidate.  Yeah I know – “But, Tim we’ve had problems in the past where two people referred the same person 5 minutes apart and it caused major problems in who got the payout!” No it didn’t – you just didn’t have the balls to tell the 2nd person, “Sorry, you’re 5 minutes late.”   Make it so easy to refer someone that a 5 year old could do it.  What’s their name – how can I contact them – email, phone number, linkedin, facebook invite or smoke singles – it doesn’t matter – I don’t even need their last name – I’m a recruiter, I’ll get it.

#5 – Put some crazy rule, in your rules, and don’t explain it.  It’s provocative, and every good “Candidate Referral” program needs provocation! My favorite comes from a small tech company which had the rule: “We’ll take any referral, from anyone, but they can’t be named “Benny”.  No reason given, just no “Bennys”!  That’s awesome, it made people talk about it – and the key to a good referral program is getting people to talk about it! Plus, who the hell wants to work with someone named “Benny”?