Amit Das

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Naming an employee referral program for success

Naming an employee referral program for success

What is in a name? ’ While names cannot be reduced to a mere identity, they do convey a lot of things - dreams, aspirations, and goals. Ask the authors or the entrepreneurs who spend countless hours naming their books or startup. 


Ask the talent acquisition professional, who spends hours with the marketing team to arrive at a name for their employee referral program yet to find it failing.


What are some best practices in terms of naming the referral program and does it even matter? After all, ‘what’s in a name?’


Let us understand this in detail. 


Employee referral program names


Employee referral is marketing to your internal audience. Your employee referral program is going to be the cornerstone for attracting great talent to your organization. Most of the hires coming through this channel tend to be a good culture fit. 


Given how critical employee referrals are to the hiring needs of an organization it is imperative that the name you choose for the program resonate with employees.  Listing a few good practices you must keep in mind while naming a referral program.


1) Keep it simple -  Remember, simplicity is the key always.  For example, names like ‘I refer’ or ‘My refer’ are straight and convey the objective easily.  At the end of the day, your employee tune into your intranet or website to look for the word referral. 


Also, amongst the barrage of emails one would receive over the week, it is easy to recognize that ‘I refer’ or ‘My refer’ is a referral program. It’s a simple name. Not cocky, clever, arrogant, or smart. But it works. Works like a charm.


2) Avoid Acronyms -  Avoid them as far as possible. For example, people don’t understand what BYOR or BYOB (Bring your own buddy) means. Your acronym might be descriptive, intelligent, and even cool yet people hardly understand or relate to it. 


After all, referral names must be easier for people to understand. Given a choice, I would ban any referral names with the company names in them. Remember, this is the worst branding you could ever do. 



3) Be clever with the cause and not names - Employee referral programs are not meant to be clever. It is not the cleverness or intelligence in the names that drive the program. Rather the cleverness of the cause is going to drive employees to refer their friends. So, the most critical value is ‘Recall’.


4) Multilingual names - If you are a local organization operating in just one country, say Spain, it makes complete sense to name your referral program ‘Amigo’ - Friend in Spanish. Similarly, if you are in India and call your program ‘Parichay', meaning introduction, or ‘Dost’ meaning friends are fairly decent and bring out the essence in it.


But, if you are a global organization trying to pick a local flavor to the name does not render itself to other geo's. The fact that you’ve to explain the program about its purpose and benefit itself is a killer. 


What are some good and terrible employee referral program names you’ve come across? Let me know in the comments.


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