Employee referrals are proclaimed by many as the best source of new hires. John Hollon, editor of Recruiting Daily – one of the top online media resources for the recruiting world – maintains that “if you aren’t getting at least 25-35 percent of your hires this way, you’re simply hurting your organization and ensuring that your recruiting will be a lot more costly and time-consuming in the months and years to come.”

While employee referral programs focus on referrals from internal employees, talent referral programs can extend the reach of referrals even further by tapping into gigsters, former employees, clients, fans of the company, and more. 

Setting up and maintaining a Talent Referral Program (TRP) can involve multiple touchpoints and complexities. So here are four helpful tips to help you ensure you are getting the most out of yours.


#1. Nurture Your Former Employee Network

In today’s job market, more than 20% of workers change roles every year, about 10,000 Baby Boomers retire, and Millennials move to different positions every 2.8 years on average. That’s a lot of former employees who may know potential candidates – or even be a match for your opening themselves!  Hires from alumni networks or “colleagues for life” (who weren’t excused due to poor performance or policy violations, of course) are found to be better qualified, faster to ramp up, and more likely to commit to an organization long term. 

The German company, Robert Bosch GmbH is an example of a company that has created an entire subsidiary of over 1,700 former and retired employees who jump in quickly for short gigs, coach younger employees, and have 92% satisfaction rate from their customers.

Connecting with your broader talent pool of former employees can increase your referral numbers beyond current employee networks. To get some more ideas on how to nurture your former employee network, have a look at additional ideas in an article by SHRM.


#2. Think Like a Marketer

Most referral programs fizzle out as they can take a lot of administration to maintain and hold people’s interest. Lucky for us, there is a whole profession dedicated to this kind of challenge – marketing! Marketing best practices such as identifying your target, goals, budget, tools, and technology, content, analytics, and measurement can help set your TRP up for success right from the beginning.

For a deeper dive into the marketing mindset, here are some additional tips for you in our blog, “Optimize Your Talent Referral Program, Think Like a Marketer.”

In the meantime, you can get started on funding your TRP by splitting the investment into four commonly held “buckets.” 

  • Development Costs: These include the amount of administrative time needed to plan, run, and maintain your TRP. 
  • Marketing Costs: Newsletters, posters, food for launch celebrations are all examples of marketing costs.
  • Referral Rewards: Rewards can be the lump sum paid out to the referrer whose candidate is successfully hired. 69% of companies offer cash bonuses that fall between $1,000 — $5,000, and other companies are splitting that bonus up and paying it out in smaller amounts along the recruitment funnel. Non-cash items such as paid time off (PTO), gift cards and donations to causes that referrers care about are increasing in popularity as well.
  • Talent Referral Technology: Many companies are utilizing talent referral technology in conjunction with their ATS’ to make sure their candidate and referral experiences stay intact and productive for the long term (see tip number three below).

#3. Make It Easy for You and Your Referrers With Technology

Referral programs are a combination of three main functions: 

  1. Talent acquisition 
  2. Relationship management
  3. Rewards allocation. 

While ATSs can provide some functionality for referral programs, the complexity of coordinating between these three functions can see candidates falling through the gaps, and the referral program itself losing momentum. 

Talent Referral Technology such as Weevr merges these three functions into one application and gives people and recruitment leaders more ease, continuity, and visibility into how successful the TRP is.  It also comes with the ability to automatically update referrers on the status of their referrals and reward them for each step their referral moves through in the recruitment funnel (phone screens, interviews, etc.).  This is a relief for people teams as updating and recognizing referrers for their efforts along the funnel can take a large amount of administrative time.


#4. Connect Meaning to Open Positions Instead of “Just Find a Job”

People are getting bored with the old job descriptions. Not only is everyone’s attention span getting shorter (eight seconds according to a study by Microsoft), but more and more, top talent is looking for opportunities that align to their values and have meaning and impact on the world. In fact, in a recent study by Gallup, Millennials were firm on their search for purpose and professional development in their next job. 

A succinct, meaningful, impact-focused job description can also increase the ability to capture views beyond the company’s usual network of referrals by harnessing people’s primary urge to help other people. A job description with a call-to-action that connects to meaning, purpose, even the good of the community is more likely to be shared by people many degrees removed in LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Talent Referral Programs are attractive to people leaders looking to extend their reach of referrals beyond employees to your whole company’s network of connections. In addition, your TRP can have an even stronger impact with the use of marketing best practices, specialized technology, and content (job descriptions) that connect your opportunities to real meaning and impact.  

If you would like to know more about our Talent Referral Program technology, Weevr, and how it can increase your referral program’s chances of success for the short and long term, please drop us a line at info@weevr.io.