Recruiting | 7Min Read

11 Best Employee Referral Programmes Examples

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Employee referral programmes are at the peak because of many good reasons. Thus, if you are also thinking to conduct an employee referral programme to fill the open position but having heap questions, such as:

  • What is an employer referral programme?
  • What are the steps to set up the employee referral programme?
  • What are the best examples of employee referral programmes?

If yes, then, must read this blog 11 Best Employee Referral Programmes Examples.

Recruiters seek various ways, methods, and techniques to improve the recruiting process and find the best talents.

Employee referral programmes often emerge among the most efficient tools for attracting high-quality talents that stay in a company for a long time. 

What is Employee Referral Programme?

Employee referral programmes are a form of recruitment hiring managers use to encourage their hires to recommend trusted candidates for an open vacancy. Hence, it's an internal hiring method that has high odds of success because employees know best what it is that their company needs and who would be a compatible match. It is also known as an internal referral programme.

It is not surprising that referrals are at the top of the most time and cost-effective recruiting techniques, making the candidates coming via this method five times more likely to be hired. Thus, referral hiring increases employee retention because your team members know which is the candidate profile that fits organizational values, goals, and brand. 

Candidates coming via Referrals Method are  Five Times  more likely to be Hired

But what it takes to develop a quality employee referral programme that will bring the best results to your hiring process?

How to Setup Best Employee Referral Programmes?

First of all, it's the HR departments that have the responsibility for outlining a well-performing company referral programme, but development starts with ensuring buy-in from the executives and leaders. Hence, HR professionals have to analyze the hiring needs and provide benefits of referrals before presenting their plan.

#1 Strategy outline

Once they get a green light, it's time to move on to the final design and strategy of a future employee referral programme. It is recommendable to think through every detail and process and leave no place for ambiguity, mistakes, or failure. 

That also means evaluating why do you need a company referral programme and is it the best method for your company to source candidates? What are the needs and long-term goals you will meet by introducing this form of recruitment? What will be the ideal outcomes?

Best employee referral program complete guide for 2021

Some of the goals recruiters could achieve by choosing this method are improving the quality of hire, boosting employee retention and morale.

Thus, some of the positive outcomes of referral programmes are lower recruiting costs, eliminating time-consuming hiring methods, and enhancing the talent pipeline. 

Another crucial element of the employee referral programme is to consider what is the best way to maximize the number of internal referrals. There are a multitude of useful tips on how to enhance your referral efforts and accepting them even when there is no open position and fostering a transparent process is among the most efficient ways. 

#2 Participation rules

Besides identifying the most efficient communication channels, good recruiters should also think of what's in it for the employees providing them with quality referrals. Although one could recommend an acquaintance who is the perfect match simply because they love their workplace, think about rewarding the hires. 

Also, consider whether there will be restrictions on who can participate in the programme and what the conditions are. If too many limits or paperwork are in place, you could discourage employee participation.

80 percent of companies use non-financial rewards

Although 80 per cent of companies use non-financial rewards, some referral participation benefits could be offering extra paid days-off, gift cards, or an opportunity to participate in the company's contest with valuable prizes. 

When you set the rules on who can take part in the employee referral programme, it's time to consider how and where will it play out.

#3 Communication with the employees

It is essential to work on continuous and effective communication with employees and customers. That means that recruiters have to think of channels they will use to communicate with the hires and to perform the process.

Make sure that your employees know that your company has a referral programme, and be ready to provide them with additional information and answer their questions. Thus, let your new hires know that you offer this kind of opportunity during onboarding.

The goal is to provide employees with a smooth, quick, and easy programme. Consider how the hires will submit their referrals and create a form they will use when sending the files. There are various options you can choose, depending on what you perceive as the most efficient channel. However, you could opt for the company's intranet, email, Excel spreadsheets, or even paper.

Some companies use HR technology and tracking systems to collect referrals, while others also use LinkedIn.

#4 Progress tracking

To make sure that the process is seamlessly flowing and foresee any necessary tweaks, recruiters have to implement progress tracking. With those data and insights, they can improve the referral programme and get the best outcome of the process.

As you measure the programme's success, think about the other metrics too and how many employees are you planning to hire using referrals. Think about whether you will use other recruitment methods, and what's the number of expected hires resulting from that technique. 

82 percent of organizations rate employee referrals

It is recommendable to continue tracking even after you have reached your referral hiring quota and to shift your attention to the retention levels of referral hires. Compare it to the rates of those hires that were sourced using external methods and analyze which one brings better results to the organization.

Overall, internal recruitment should bring you satisfying results because of 82 per cent of organizations rate employee referrals above other sources of hire for ROI.

11 Best Employee Referral Programme Examples

For those considering introducing this technique of hiring, these are some of the best employee referral programme examples.

#1. Pure (Privilege Reciprocal Exchange) - fast and efficient

The American group of insurance companies has an astonishing level of success with its employee referral programme: PURE sources between 40 and 60 per cent of employees using this method. If you are wondering what's their secret ingredient, it's efficiency. PURE doesn't like wasting time.

As soon as they welcome new hires, recruiters ask them if they know someone whose skills and experience would be a good fit for the company. With their straightforward and in-res strategy, they generate a lot of referrals in a short time while also emphasizing the programme.

82 percent of  organizations rate employee referrals

#2. Salesforce - happy hours gatherings

The cloud-based software company is another American business that has a highly well-performing referral programme. They achieve success by providing employees with generous rewards, which are not always financial. 

The company is known for creative ways of doing things, and their hires have access to mindfulness room, support when they don't receive promotion for over 18 months, and they are paid to volunteer to help the community.

Their creativity expands to the way they collect referrals, and their method is to organize Recruitment Happy Hours, which allows team members to invite friends who could be a good fit. Hence, they also have a fast process that's also fun and engaging.

Another fun fact is that Salesforce's employees get a cash bonus of 2.000 USD for every successful referral. 

Salesforce employees get a cash bonus

#3. Inmobi - extraordinary strategy

The mobile advertising enterprise transformed its employee referral programme out of necessity back in 2015. In the beginning, they had only six recruiters who had to manage 900 people. It was logical they couldn't keep up with the hiring demand, so they came up with a great strategy.

After every successful referral for the engineering manager, the referee got a Royal Enfield bike in India (which is the equivalent of Harley Davidson in India), and the US office employees got a Vespa. Thus, the referrers could choose between a bike and a trip to Bali.

The vehicles were parked in front of the company to increase employee motivation.

#4. Google - the aided recall

A giant that doesn't need an introduction. Google is another company that likes a quick and straightforward approach. Instead of investing in a comprehensive and demanding programme, Google's recruiters ask their new employees simple questions, such as "Who's the best software developer you know in California?"

That kind of incitement makes people think a bit harder about who they will refer, which is known as the aided recall. Well, it works for Google!

#5. Accenture - emotional reward

Dutch consulting and IT enterprise Accenture is thoughtful, innovative, and creative. Their employee referral programme works on a principle of an intrinsic emotional reward: they let their employees donate a part of their referral bonus. Thus, hires get to choose the charity or community.

#6. Fiverr - gamification

When the global freelance platform needed more freelancers, they upgraded their game and started using Zao, a company that offered an employee referral programme. Hence, whenever a freelancer shared their job ad on social media, they would get points. Thus, Fiverr used a leaderboard to incite competition and keep everything transparent.

boost the employee productivity

#7. Intel - diversity method

The American tech enterprise doesn't only care about the successful company referral programme, but also about diversity and inclusion effort. Hence, referral bonus doubles when hires successfully refer people from underrepresented groups.

#8. Godaddy - codes and puzzles

The American dedicated WordPress hosting makes its best employee referral programme loyal to the niche by putting a poster with code employees have to decode. The coded message says "If you know of a coder in your network who kicks ass, refer to GoDaddy Recruiting."

#9. - food and referring

When the team of hiring managers had a hard time find someone who speaks Portuguese and English to fill their customer support vacancy in Brazil, they brought Portuguese food to the office. That way, they reminded the employees that they need Portuguese-speaking customer service representatives, and they filled the position in no time.

#10. Enterprise rent-a-car - challenging competition

The American car rental company loves competition, and its employee referral programme is an indicator of that passion. They source one-third of all its employees through internal referrals by creating a contest between the regions in who can refer more people.

#11. Distillery - tech rewards

The American software development company used what their employees love the most to create a successful programme: they reward their employees with new tech gadgets for every referral.

Key Takeaway of Employee Referral Programme

When evaluating all these employee referral programmes examples and their strategies, it is clear that the principal element is creativity and a reward that leaves an impact. People love emotional incentives, so it's recommendable to give the employee referral programme poignant and sentimental tones or turn to material rewards.