Get Great Employees Coming Your Way

When there is high competition for exceptional employees and a limited talent pool, rural business owners need innovative methods to attract great employees. Employee referral incentive programs offer an effective way to recruit some of the best talent available through leveraging the networks of your employees.

Here are 4 tips for making an employee referral incentive program work for your business.

1.     Make each employee feel part of the program

Each employee needs to play an active role in attracting prospective employees. Educate your employees about who is the ideal candidate for the type of positions you want you fill. The more descriptive you can be when describing what constitutes a great employee, the better the chances your employees will send you qualified applicants. Be sure to provide a clear job description for the positions you want to fill.

Also, educate your employees about why your business is a great place to work.   Some helpful tips include:

  •  Creating a compelling story about the company, how it came into being, its vision, past achievements, etc.
  •  If you offer better benefits and working conditions relative to what other employers in the area are offering, let your employees know what these are. Encourage them to make potential applicants aware of these perks.

2.     Think outside the box and consider alternatives to cash incentives

A monetary reward program is one of the simplest to implement. However, monetary rewards can be limited in their effectiveness. Consider tailoring the incentive to the person making the referral. What type of incentive would be appealing to that employee? One employee may value time off to spend with family, whereas another employee might enjoy a gym pass or restaurant gift certificate.

3.     Give rewards for recruits who stay longer

You can actively enlist the help of referring employees to retain the new employee. Since the new employee already knows the employee who referred him or her to your company, the referring employee is in a great position to help the new employee adjust to the company culture and get integrated in their new job. By offering incentives based on the referred employee’s longevity with the company, the referring employee will be more motivated to support their friend in remaining with your company.

Consider offering increasing incentives at regular intervals. You might offer a small incentive upon hiring the new employee and a more valuable incentive 6 months into the new employee’s employment, followed by increasingly valuable annual incentives on the anniversary of the employee’s date of hire.

4.     Reach out to former employees and people outside your company

Consider opening up your employee referral incentive program to former employees, friends, and other people in your network. The more people you reach out to, the higher your chances of finding the right person.

Implementing an employee referral incentive program is an easy, and relatively inexpensive way (especially when you consider the high costs of turnover!), to get high quality applicants coming your way.

If you have this type of program in place, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Sabrina Starling, Tap the PotentialWritten by:

Sabrina Starling

6 replies
  1. Fred Pieplow
    Fred Pieplow says:

    How do you avoid a long-term employee resenting a new hire getting special recognition just for not quitting? For example, a 5 year employee who is always there for the company but only gets there annual raise in recognition of their service.

    • Dr. Sabrina
      Dr. Sabrina says:

      Hi Fred,

      Actually, with this type of incentive program, the long-term employee is the one who gets the incentive–not the new employee. So, this would actually be a morale booster for long-term employees, who help attract more good employees.

    • Dr. Sabrina
      Dr. Sabrina says:

      Let them go! Even if that employee is a top performer, if they are undermining the company in other ways, it’s best to let them go. Your other employees will breathe a sigh of relief and so will you.

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