With millions of people unemployed, many in our own region, it’s a great time to find highly qualified candidates for your open positions. Are you taking advantage of this opportunity?


Do your current employees know your future employees? Develop a referral program to find out.

Employee referral programs can help you vet potential candidates through current employees who have worked with applicants in the past. Here are some tips to help your referral program become successful.

Employee Referral Programs

According to SHRM, employee referrals made up about 30% of new hires before COVID-19. That number is likely to jump higher as businesses reopen and begin to hire again.

Referral new hires often fit your company culture, are more engaged and productive, and more likely to stay longer. So, now that you know how referrals can benefit your organization, how do you get employees to offer recommendations.

Tips for Bringing on Your Next Teammates

Many employees would offer recommendations without incentives — but why leave it to chance? When it comes to creating effective employee referral programs, ensure that yours includes the following elements:

  • Incentives: These can be cash-based, such as gift certificates and referral fees, or non-cash-based, such as extra time off.
  • Ease to use: Create an online portal where employees can formally make suggestions. Word of mouth recommendations leave off important details, including the potential applicant’s work history. Putting the referrals online allow employees to document their reasons for making the recommendation and information on the person’s background, such as an uploaded resume.
  • Feedback: Send email updates on the status of the position you are filling. Are you moving forward with a better-qualified candidate? Is your employee’s referral still under consideration?
  • Recognition: When employees successfully recommend a new hire, find a way to recognize their contribution. When you send out the welcome email, you could mention the referring employee and thank them for their diligence.

Want to know what other companies are doing? Referral Programs offers blogs and testimonials on what companies do to promote their employee referral programs.


After you hire a referred candidate, it’s important to execute comprehensive onboarding programs to help new hires feel engaged and welcomed.

Here are a few onboarding tips to make new employees feel at home and productive from the first day forward:

  • Create an orientation package that includes your company’s norms and values to help new hires acclimate quickly and learn the layout of the business. Videos are a great format for orientation content.
  • Now that your new hire understands the culture. Give them a first assignment that increases their organizational knowledge without overwhelming them.
  • Create a network of mentors. Provide names and contact information for subject matter experts in the areas the new employee will function. If mentors are co-located with the new hire, arrange for a face-to-face introduction.
  • Develop a learning mindset. New employees will want to make their mark. Use this excitement to let them find their way in the organization and invite fresh ideas to make processes run more smoothly. If new hires feel devalued or unheard, they are unlikely to offer ideas based on their experiences that could benefit your organization. They are also more likely to leave within the first year.

Finally, include new hires on your employee referral steering committee. They may have valuable insight into how you can improve the recruiting and onboarding processes. Also, it’s never too early to ask for recommendations from new and existing employees, who may already know your next employee.

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