Employee referral programs: 3 X 3 success factors


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More and more companies are using referral programs to optimally fill vacancies without incurring low costs. Employee referral programs have many benefits, but also some important ones Success Factorsthat should be considered. Employee Referral Programs: 3 X 3 Success Factors Employee Referral Programs: 3 X 3 Success Factors


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Marco De Micheli photo-500x500-pixelMarco De Micheli is Publishing Director of the PRAXIUM Fachverlag in Zurich and book author specialized in Human Resource Management.

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Basics of Employee Recommendations

Basics of employee referral programs are:

1. Advantages and strengths

Referrals are faster, better fit into the organization, smoother, more loyal, and more engaged.

The chances that they themselves become referrals are high. The cost savings potential is great and the application process much easier and faster.

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2. Priorities and selection

Employee Referral Programs should be targeted and are particularly suited to hard-to-fill positions. Also expert and key positions or special demands on talents and skills are suitable.

For quick and easy to fill vacancies, there should be no referral programs.

3. Support and assistance

Employees should receive support - eg through the following activities:

  • "How-to-be-a-Power-Recommender" -training in workshops,
  • the use of social media and appropriate tools,
  • a flyer that explains everything you need, such as the bonus model and employer appeal
  • Exchange of experience among recommenders

Incentives for referral programs

In order for an employee referral program to be implemented, there must also be various incentives:

1. premium models

Premium models have a significant impact on the candidate quality and the quantity of recommended ones.

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Season bonuses tied to employee benefits are the most effective. Intangible incentives as an adjunct and the ability to select value premiums have proven to be best.

2. information and communication

Above all, it is important: job advertisements with exact requirement profiles and an overview of which vacancies exist and when recommendations from whom are particularly welcome.

Employee recommendations should be constantly discussed and communicated, for example in blogs, eMailNewsletters and employee magazines and achievements are celebrated.

3. Participants and target groups

Define the target groups, functions and positions of the program participants so that they receive good quality and appropriate recommendations, which has an influence on the quality or qualification of recommended employees.

Dedicated, qualified, performance-conscious and loyal employees are usually the best referrals.

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Practical implementation

But also on the practical implementation, the return of investment is important. In particular, the following should be noted:

1. Success control and key figures

Success control and key figures also include the following questions:

  • What is the recruitment quota for employee referrals?
  • How much is a new employee?
  • What is the duration and fluctuation rate compared to other instruments?
  • Are there gender, cultural, regional or national differences?
  • Who or which jobs and departments are most recommended?

2. Instruments and automation

The easier and more efficient referral programs are, the more successful they are.

There are quite powerful tools like the XING recommendation manager, Facebook tools or Eqipia, Firstbird and Talentry, which automate the search, digitize the two-way process and make it easier for everyone involved.

3. Employer branding and career website

For recommending and recommending, concrete, authentic and comprehensive information about the company as an employer is an important one success.

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Good aids for sharing in social networks are eg

  • A convincing social media presence,
  • an informative career website,
  • Posts in the company blog,
  • Insight into employer review portals
  • and a flyer for all recommenders


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  1. Theresa

    You should not promote nepotism too!

    • Simone Janson

      For many companies, employee recommendations are actually a tried and tested remedy!

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