June 25, 2018

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Your Employee Referral Programs: Kick it Up a Notch

  1. Develop a name

    It never fails. When we encounter an employee referral program that has generated minimal results, we find there has been no ongoing promotion.

    We must emphasize that the success of any ERP is due, in part, to keeping a substantial employee share-of-mind. Giving your program a name will help to increase recognition. But, going one step further, you can increase the value of that name by giving it visual impact. Make it into a logo. Use the logo on all communication pieces, giveaways, etc. Companies spend thousands (even millions) on logo development. And with good reason. It gives the company identity. That's your goal, too. creative with the name. Play on your company name, your industry, or the task at hand for the referred. For example, "Matchmaker" is a great name for a bridal shop. It conveys the point of the program in a term that is meaningful to the industry.

  2. Send a home mailer

    When was the last time you mailed something to the employees' homes? Not counting the annual W-2, it's probably been a while. So, sending a home mailer promoting your employee referral program will definitely get noticed. Who wouldn't read something from their employer?

    But there is a side benefit to the home mailer. With it, you have a chance to double the number of people involved in searching for talent on your company's behalf. Why? Because once the information arrives at the household, you have the opportunity to involve your employee's spouse or significant other.

  3. Add a limited time offer

    Sometimes you need to get your employees to respond quickly to immediate hiring needs. There are different ways to accomplish this, but one important change you can make is putting a time limit on referral submissions.

    Adding a time limit will give a sense of urgency in the employees' minds. You might consider this for the entire program or, possibly, just for the positions that need to be filled instantly. In the latter case, you could add an extra incentive for those who respond by a designated date.

  4. Add some drawings for extra excitement

    Both the program promotion plan and the size/type of reward are important to the success of your ERP. Here is a great idea for enhancing both - simultaneously.

    Set aside certain times of the year for drawings. Your prizes can range greatly in value. If you're doing an annual Grand Prize Drawing, make it something impressive. A cruise, a trip to an island, a car.

    Instead, you may choose to hold multiple drawings throughout the year. The idea here is to get more people receiving extra rewards. Although the monetary amount will be lower, look for something special. A DVD player. A Palm Pilot. Extra cash.

    Use the drawing as an event to be promoted throughout the company. Make certain that it is conducted in a high traffic area within the company and that it is held at a time that is convenient for the most people, i.e., lunchtime. Don't forget to take pictures and write up an article about the winner(s) to circulate in your next company newsletter. The drawing and subsequent articles are a no-pressure way of reacquainting your employees with the program.

  5. Organize some ERP events

    Sometimes to make things memorable, you have to make them fun. And employee referral programs are no exception. That's why many companies can radically increase the awareness of their ERP by organizing special events.

    As we discussed in number 4, drawings can be very valuable in drawing attention to your program. Both the event itself and the written promotion afterward are a sort of soft sell.

    But you might also consider a kick-off event. One client, for example, had a western theme to their ERP and asked that the cafeteria serve beans, franks, and other "grub" while displays with brochures were placed around the room.

  6. Re-examine the rewards

    The value of your rewards can rise and fall based upon the importance of filling your open positions relative to meeting your company's overall business initiatives and the general recruiting climate in your area.

    Sometimes you require immediate action. So increasing the rewards for a limited period of time might make some sense.

    But, to keep your program productive, you should also constantly monitor the local hiring landscape. What is your current cost-per-hire through other recruiting techniques? That number could be considerably higher than when you originally instituted the program. In that case, make an upward adjustment. Put the extra money created by market demand into your employees' hands. In addition to increasing the productivity of your program, it'll go a long way toward employee retention.

  7. Use giveaways

    Keeping the program name in front of your employees is crucial. Every time a potential referrer sees the ERP logo or uses its name, you are gaining greater share-of-mind.

    One way to increase awareness through repetition is to hand out giveaways with the program's logo emblazoned on it. You might consider giving something to everyone who makes a referral - whether the candidate is hired or not - as a way of saying thanks for participating in the program.

    You will want to choose something low cost that will more than likely remain around the office. A pen. A mug. A water bottle. In this way, the program logo will be sitting on desks as a reminder to other employees.

  8. Develop an online application form

    The Internet is a great tool for enhancing the application process. An online application form will have the following advantages:

    • Easier to make referrals (it can be as simple as a button on your intranet)

    • Information delivery is to the proper individual(s) and can be changed as many times as necessary

    • It creates a more permanent record

    • You can send automatic responses to the referrer

    This is low-cost and not difficult to achieve. The project can become slightly more complex if you have the information from the form populate a database. However, this would only be necessary in a high volume situation.

  9. Send out thank you notes

    A thank you is always nice. It shows you have received the information and that you appreciate the effort. After all, it could mean one less position you have to worry about filling.

    But most of all, a thank you note serves as another promotion of your program. The referrer sees the name and logo once again and awareness is increased.

-Brad Petersen
This article from HR QuickTips provided by Davis Advertising Inc.
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