Thinking Beyond Cash: Creative Incentives Drive Referral Results
When your best and brightest employees are engaged and active in an employee referral program, everyone benefits. The company has access to a full pipeline of qualified and culture-matched candidates. HR and recruiters experience fewer hiring headaches. Employees have the opportunity to serve as change agents by referring contacts who will bring fresh, positive energy to the workplace. It’s a win-win-win situation!
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When employees aren’t engaged… well, the program doesn’t achieve its full potential and neither does the company. That’s why it’s vital that your employee referral program creates and sustains employee engagement over the long term, keeping your candidate pipeline active and robust. How?
Employees who refer qualified candidates deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their contribution. Many companies offer cash bonuses based on complex formulas including how far a referred candidate makes it through the hiring process, how long they stay at the company, and what level of position they fill. This isn’t a bad idea, but it takes a lot of work and introduces a “gray zone” of uncertainty and delayed gratification. Trust us, the last thing an incentive, recognition, or reward should be is uncertain.
There are several creative ideas for employee referral program engagement tactics that are worth exploring. Here are a few incentive dos and don’ts to consider:
DO: Offer “Micro Incentives” for Referrals
Especially in the early adoption phase of an employee referral program, you’ll want to get employees in the habit of making referrals whenever the opportunity arises. Many companies fall into the trap of only rewarding “successful” referrals that lead to a hire, which can backfire if employees don’t see an incentive after their first referral or two and lose interest in the program. To encourage immediate adoption of the referral program, offer a small incentive for each referral an employee makes – this can be something simple like a gift card to Starbucks or Amazon.
DON’T: Get Caught in the Cash Trap
While some employees may be primarily motivated by a cash bonus, others will respond better to more creative rewards. Consider offering tickets to a sports game or arts event to employees who consistently refer qualified candidates. Employees who value experiences over dollar signs will be more motivated by the opportunity to share an experience with friends or family. Other employees might jump at the chance to receive a paid day off, a spa day, or a bottle of great wine. The incentive options are (nearly) endless!
DO: Keep Incentives Fresh
With so many options for intriguing rewards available, there’s no reason to let your incentives grow stale. In addition to providing options that attract different kinds of employees, a steady rotation of referral incentives is an opportunity to keep your program front-of-mind. A short email or push notification introducing the new referral reward is a great way to remind employees to keep those candidates coming!
DON’T: Forget the Power of Recognition
Sometimes a little show of gratitude is enough to keep employees engaged. Publicly recognizing high-volume or high-quality referrers lets them know their efforts are appreciated and also encourages other employees to get into the game. And while public recognition is nice, remember to always respond to each referral with an email or push notification so that employees know that every referral counts.
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DO: Gamify Your Referral Program!
There’s nothing like a contest or game to motivate employees. That can mean creating teams for a group referral challenge, a monthly contest to see who can make the most referrals, or a company-wide raffle in which each referral equals one ticket. Make sure the grand prize is truly impressive: you can use the winning employee’s story to drive participation in the next contest.
DON’T: Forget that Referring has its Own Rewards
Finally, and most importantly, don’t let incentives overshadow the fact that referring should be a reward unto itself. As referral guru John Sullivan writes for ERE Media, “Helping the team or the organization is a superior motivator (even if you also offer monetary rewards), because it turns referrals into an opportunity to provide their teammates and themselves with the very best coworkers.”
JobShakers Understands Incentives
At JobShakers, we know that employees respond to creative and varied incentives. That’s why our employee referral program solution includes everything HR and recruiters need to run a referral program that keeps employees engaged and active. We’ve even included automated employee notifications that recognize referral contributions and keep new positions and opportunities at the forefront.
Are you ready to implement an employee referral program that drives results? Contact us today to learn more!