Good People Know Good People

Good People Know Good People

Employee referral programs always work. After all, "Good people know good people." What could be the best, direct way to bring skilled or performing employees to your organization? When you introspect or dive deeper, the answer is within your organization, the top-performing employees will know people like them and can add more value to your company by just referring their friends. Ain't that simple?


All said and done, after the pandemic, life isn’t just a referral click away.


During the pandemic, large companies couldn’t conduct in-person hiring. For example, Oneida Indian Nation went virtual to bring in potential employees. Joel Barkin, the vice president of communications for Oneida Indian Nation said, “A virtual job event allows us to provide a more intimate setting to discuss opportunities than we are able to do right now in person.”


Moreover, the company held a virtual job fair on Feb 04th through the Nation’s Turning Stone Facebook page, and it was a part of the company’s “New Year, New Career” initiative with Oneida County.  They had a diverserange of hospitality and gaming job opportunities with 150 positions to fill in.


While this is on, one of the critical manufacturing companies like Schulte is looking for "talent shopping". So they can hire furloughed or laid off employees to fill future roles. In most organizations, competency based referrals are being replaced by virtual interactions and remote job offers.


Now, let's cut to the chase. We all know that employee referral programs did work besides monetary incentives that attract employees to refer and earn additional income. 


What else could satisfy employees more than money?


Here's the list of Top 5 referral program ideas that work like magic.


1. Showing Employees the Taste of Referrals


Trying innovative ways for employees to understand you is a gainer. Here is an example of how a recruiter came up with an interesting idea when they were having hard time sourcing customer service representatives who could speak Portuguese. Jennifer Boulanger, the Head of Global Recruitment for from Amsterdam shares her experience.


When their ongoing referral programs didn't fetch Portuguese speaking representatives, they decided to try something different. During lunch, the recruitment team bought Portuguese food for the entire office and left a referral card alongside. The taste of food and need for Portuguese co-workers hit hard on the employees' minds and so did the referral lunch idea work, gaining Portuguese-speaking referrals.


2. Appreciation and Recognition - A Noble Act


Who will not like appreciation and recognition? When an employee crosses more than 20 referrals and the recruitment team has hired 10 of them and let's say all are top-notch performers. Shouldn't you take a moment to appreciate and recognize that employee who has made your hiring process simple?



A small gesture is all that it takes, a thank you note, a smiley sticker, a coffee mug, a bouquet of roses or tulips, or a standing ovation by co-workers in the cubicle shouting words of praises. As a recruiter, you can also arrange for a banquet or lunch with the CEO of your organization to honor the employee who successfully referred 20+ people. This will encourage other employees to follow in the footsteps and will in turn bring in more qualified referrals.


3. Encourage Social Media Referrals


As a recruiter, you can allow your employees to post a job on their social media pages. If someone clicks the job link and applies using the social media page, the referral credit should immediately go to the employee. The credits can be added as star points, which can be converted later to a gift voucher or cash prize.



If we could strategize the social media referrals, you can reach diverse groups of prospective candidates within a short period. Most often, you will find talents from various groups having similar qualities to your existing employees. In social media platforms, that is how it works, the person who will be interested in taking up the job will either be your employee's friend from school or college or a friend's friend who is as qualified as your employee. This is the virtue of social networking. Again, 'good people know good people' comes into effect.


4. Organize Parties or Conduct Social Events


Once in a month or two, you can invite employees and people in their network for parties. On such occasions, you can meet and greet people, know their qualifications and varied interests, if they fit well, the party is a win-win situation for everyone. More referrals coming your way.


Conduct social events, like Marathons, Field day, Cleaning Challenge, etc., and invite employees and their acquaintances to show you care and that is your workplace culture. When people other than your existing employees see that you care as an organization, it immediately draws people's attention, especially those who look beyond employment or career opportunities. This initiative can be rewarding to the organization for having created a social brand image and on the other side, it attracts people who eventually want to be a part of such events working for the big social brand.


5. Refer for a Good Cause


Four years back, 40% of DigitalOcean's new hires were placed through employee referrals. This is when DigitalOcean introduced a referral program where the referring employee received a $3500 referral bonus in addition to a $1500 charitable donation paid by the organization on behalf of the employee. The employee also gets to choose and contribute an additional portion to charity. For an additional donation of $500 or more, the employee enters the annual "Golden Ticket Raffle'', and the winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip as a note of gratitude for their generous contributions.



Another case of referrals for a good cause came from the fiercest women leaders from Epsilon. They brought in an employee referral program where they sponsored a girl child's education for every woman candidate they hired.


Having known the intrinsic values of employee referrals, you can still reward employees with double the referral bonus for hard-to-fill-in roles. However, thinking out of the box can also be fruitful in employee referrals. Aim to create an employee referral program that is both attractive and easy for the employees to use. Make it simple, is my style. What's your style? I'd love to hear.

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