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The 6 Elements of a Winning Employee Referral Program

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is the Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse, where she gets to share her love of the written word and endorse the use of the Oxford comma on a daily basis. Before joining Greenhouse, Melissa built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Planning out an employee referral program can seem complicated, and there are definitely a lot of moving parts. But if you’re looking for a source of high-quality employees who are more likely to get hired, perform better on the job, and stick around longer, then it’s definitely worth the effort!

We’ve spoken with a lot of our customers to learn how they’re able to create predictable and productive referral programs. While there are many aspects of referral programs that are unique to that particular company’s culture, we’ve identified six elements that are pretty consistent through most successful programs.

What are the six things every company should do to enhance their employee referral program? Read on to find out!

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Featured Image Referral Programs

Getting Buy-in for an Employee Referral Program

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is the Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse, where she gets to share her love of the written word and endorse the use of the Oxford comma on a daily basis. Before joining Greenhouse, Melissa built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You may already be aware of the positive impact a successful employee referral program can have on your company (a smoother recruiting process, better quality hires, and better retention, to name a few), but how do you get the rest of your company bought in?

If you need help getting your execs bought in or increasing employee adoption, we offer a few tips in today's post.

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Featured Image Referral Programs

Making the Case for Employee Referral Programs

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is the Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse, where she gets to share her love of the written word and endorse the use of the Oxford comma on a daily basis. Before joining Greenhouse, Melissa built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

In today’s workforce, the people you hire have a big impact on what your company can achieve both creatively and financially. We have a feeling you probably already know this—that’s why you’re looking for ways to get even better people through your doors.

Luckily, there’s one approach that will help you find top-performing, dedicated employees who will lead your company to do great things: Asking your existing employees to make referrals!

Let’s take a look at why referrals should be an essential part of your recruiting strategy.

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Featured Image Referral Programs

3 Steps to Building an Employee Referral Program Your Employees Love

Morgan Chaney Headshot

Morgan Chaney is Head of Marketing at Blueboard, an experiential employee rewards platform for the modern workplace. Living Blueboard’s mantra of adventure and exploration, when not at work leading marketing and content strategy, you’ll find Morgan photographing wildlife, practicando su español, or trying her hand at watercolors. Connect with Morgan on LinkedIn.

Want to set yourself up for success (and limited panic attacks) when thinking about end-of-year headcount planning?

Invest in an employee referral program everyone can get behind! We'll show you how...

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Featured Image Referral Programs

Do Employee Referral Programs Reduce Diversity?

Vipul Sharma Headshot

Vipul Sharma is CEO and Co-Founder of Simppler, a company that helps recruiting teams improve discovery and engagement of candidates through referrals. As an early employee at Eventbrite and Proofpoint, Vipul has broad experience in building teams in growth environments. An engineer by trade, Vipul is an expert in machine learning and data science, currently holding six unique U.S. patents. Connect with Vipul on LinkedIn or Twitter.

With many companies invested in both hiring the best talent and building a diverse workplace, a common question is, “Do employee referral programs reduce diversity?” The concern is that employees refer candidates “like” them, which might end up creating a homogeneous candidate pool and hence hurt diversity.

But is this really the case? Read on...

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Featured Image Referral Programs

How Stripe Created a Referral Culture Without Monetary Reward

Casey Headshot

Casey Marshall is Partner Marketing Specialist at Greenhouse. She teams up with Greenhouse partners and customers to tell a story and share insights into ways companies can improve their recruiting. She loves that this job allows her to build relationships with thought leaders andshowcase how innovative companies are changing their recruiting approach. Connect with Casey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Recruiters often vocalize that referrals are the best source for finding high quality candidates. But we can all pretty much agree that it can be a challenge to incentivize employees to tap into their networks and refer. Some companies provide monetary rewards to employees to encourage them to refer. But not all companies have the means to do so—and other companies (Greenhouse included) don’t want money to be the sole motivator.

So, what's the best approach to building an employee referral program that works, when money is not a factor?

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, Stripe, a technology platform that helps internet businesses accept online payments, explains the approach it takes to its employee referral program, resulting in a compelling 40% of their hires coming from employee referrals alone!

Learn how Stripe accomplished this...

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Featured Image Referral Programs

How Greenhouse Does Its Employee Referral Program: Philosophy, Execution, and Success Metrics

Katie Di Cioccio Headshot

Katie DiCioccio is Greenhouse’s newest Associate Recruiter who facilitates the Employee Referral Program and helps Greenhouse's Sales, Engineering, and Operations teams continue to grow. She’s also very active in the company's Culture Committee, intramural soccer team, and baseball club. Connect with Katie on LinkedIn

Good people know good people, right? It’s simple logic that has laid the foundation for such concepts as networking, blind dates, and...referral programs. But contrary to the success rate of being set up by colleagues or friends, referral programs have a strong history of churning out positive results!

According to Dr. John Sullivan of the Wall Street Journal, 88% of 73 major employers surveyed said that referrals are the #1 source for above-average applicants. 

In crafting our own employee referral program here at Greenhouse, we considered what other companies were doing and even made sure to avoid common mistakes. As a result, we rolled out a formal referral program last December, and I’m pleased to report that we’ve experienced great success ever since.

In this post, I’m excited to share Greenhouse’s referral philosophy, our process, and our successes, so that you can implement your own effective employee referral program, too.

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Featured Image Referral Programs

5 Common Employee Referral Program Mistakes—And How to Solve Them

Sesame Mish Headshot

Sesame Mish is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. She is also pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Besides a love for marketing and the written word, she enjoys playing volleyball, doing volunteer work, and rooting for the San Francisco Giants. Connect with Sesame on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The power of successful employee referral programs can’t be overlooked. Referred employees are the #1 source of new hire quality, showing higher retention rates, engagement, and performance. They also get hired faster and ramp up more quickly than non-referred employees.

Despite these numerous benefits, there is still a big disconnect between potential and execution when it comes to employee referral programs. In fact, referrals account for not even 7% of all applicants, showing an enormous missed opportunity. So, where does it all go wrong? Unfortunately, there are several problems that often occur, jeopardizing employee participation and causing you to miss out on this valuable source of talent. 

If your company is looking to jumpstart its employee referral program and get the maximum benefit from this channel, consider if you’re guilty of any of these 5 common mistakes...and then work to correct them!

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Featured Image Referral Programs

Building a Referrals Machine: 5 Questions to Make You Rethink Your Employee Referral Program

thinking_child_blog

Sesame Mish

Sesame Mish is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. She is also pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Sesame held previous roles at Marketo and TechShop. Besides a love for marketing and the written word, she enjoys playing volleyball, spending time with family, doing volunteer work, and rooting for her favorite team, the San Francisco Giants. Connect with Sesame on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

There’s no tool more powerful in recruiting than a strong employee referral channel. According to Staffing.org, 88% of 73 major employers surveyed said that referrals are the #1 source for above-average applicants. So it’s no wonder that referred employees make a measurable difference in your organization—they have higher retention rates, engagement, and performance.

Clearly, having referred employees is the goal. But unfortunately, getting employees to refer candidates is not always easy. This is why recruiting teams strive to put together structured and attractive employee referral programs.

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