Do Employee Referral Programs Work?

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Do employee referral programs really work? The short answer is YES! Employees can truly leverage your brand on all different grounds. Below, you'll be able to read up on some interesting statistics and examples of how to make employee referral programs work for your business.

Nobody can tell your story and the story of your company as enthusiastically as your employees.

They are the lifeblood of your company, they have a passion for your company, brand, product or service, and company culture. When there’s passion involved, involving your employee advocates in the recruitment process is easy. They live your brand on a day-to-day basis.

Global companies like Helan, Sodexo, and Bayer understand the power of their employees and proactively recruit via social media, employee advocacy, and employee referral programs.

Why? Because your employee advocates are very likely to be connected to people on social media with a similar background and job profiles as themselves. Imagine the number of relevant profiles you have access to through employee referrals.

What role do my employees play in a referral program?

Imagine you are looking for a new marketing manager. Asking your brand advocates to share the vacancy on their personal social networks is just one piece of the puzzle. Nevertheless, this is, for many companies, the only move.

Here are some more insights and tips on how your employee advocates can play an active role in the recruitment process.

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1. Reviews

The most popular website to read reviews from employees about their employer is, without any doubt, Glassdoor.

Not only do employers google their (future) employees, future employees google your company as well. Don’t miss out on this opportunity by not being present on Glassdoor.

So, why not actively encourage and make it drop-dead easy for your employee advocates to leave an anonymous review on Glassdoor to boost your company image? Once you've stacked up a good amount of reviews, we suggest including a direct link to your Glassdoor company page in future vacancies. It’s social proof, and that’s what matters nowadays.

2. Referrals

Let me start this one off with a statistic. According to a survey, 65% of respondents said they would consider an opportunity for a new job if they learned about it from a personal connection.

At Ambassify, our search for a Marketing Manager went 100% through referrals we collected from our own employees. That's how effective and profitable employee referrals can be.

Let me give you some insights into our recruitment process via referrals. We are a fairly small team giving us access to a total of 6.820 professional connections (duplicates included). Out of those connections, 2.247 connections are active in the field of marketing. We had no insights into the number of people that are actively searching for a new opportunity.

Based on our beautiful, nevertheless unsexy location, we received 13 qualified job offers, just through recommendations from our own employees. Imagine the pool large companies can start fishing in. The potential is immense, while the effort is minimal.

And why not reward the employee that brought in the new candidate? 

3. Share

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that asking your employees to share your vacancy is just one piece of the puzzle. Of course, it makes sense to let them talk about the opportunities your company has to offer.

People notice your company is doing well due to the search for a new profile. And, of course, new potential employees you haven’t thought about during the referral process and thus slipped through the maze of the net still have a chance to start working at your company.

4. Reference

In general, potential candidates meet the HR manager and sometimes someone from the team they will be working in. Based on the people you’ve met, you need to make your decision.

Will I start working at company X, yes or no? It’s a hard choice, right? Especially since you don’t know what it’s like to work there. Of course, the HR manager can answer most of your questions, but wouldn’t it be much more helpful to hear all this from a current employee?

How’s the work/life balance? Is there any sort of entertainment during short breaks? Do we have access to lunch, or can we order something via the front desk? And what if my child gets sick during business hours?

We are convinced future employees choose to come work for you much faster when the HR manager says at the end of the job interview: “Well Pieter, here are 3 people from the marketing and communications team you can call and ask anything to. Why not even go and grab a coffee, so you can learn what it’s like to work for us”.

Creating a database of employee advocates that volunteer to be such a reference can be part of your company’s recruitment process.

5. Buddies 

Taking a new professional direction is always a big adventure.

New colleagues, a new building, new procedures to follow, etc. To make your new employees feel at ease, you could create a “Buddy” database.

People from the HR department can assign new employees to you. Your task? Make them feel at home as fast as possible. Consider the godfather as your personal mentor for the first weeks.

What's in it for them? A question we get a lot. A general takeaway is that (employee) advocacy starts from a deep passion for the company, the brand, the product, and the culture.

The success of a good employee recruitment flow lies in identifying the right people to involve in this process. Not everyone possesses advocacy DNA.

Focusing on finding genuine employee advocates — for whom we have special procedures in place — we notice people participate even without being rewarded. They do this because of the social status they gain and the simple fact of belonging to a group of like-minded people.

Nevertheless, providing business-minded rewards can deliver a nice surprise for your good employee advocates and make your strategy even more of a success.

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