Common barriers to a successful
Employee Referral Program
When an employee makes a
recommendation, they take a risk on their
personal reputation and there is a risk that
the recruiters or hiring managers feel that
their time has been wasted.
If the referred candidate is hired, there is the
additional risk that the candidate will not
work out, and will always be known as their
’guy’, particularly given any financial rewards
they may have been paid.
Where rewards for referred hires are high,
there is a high level of due diligence, as well as
Where there are cash rewards, there are
plenty of reasons for saying no to a claim. The
sense of injustice proves to be a real cancer to
many Employee Referral Programs.
To get an Employee Referral Program to work,
the rules need to be transparent and
designed to reward rather than penalize.
When the system is seen as fair and reasonable,
employees are far more willing to take part.
The process behind the ERP needs to be
simple and quick, enabling employees to
contribute without interfering with the time
available to do their real job.
The more time involved in searching, matching,
communicating with potential candidates, recruiters
and admin, employees will be less likely to continue
A successful ERP needs to be admin
light and built with the employee
Whilst an accountant might know plenty of
accountants, their main job is working the
numbers, not recruiting staff.
The volume of referrals can be a good indicator of
staff morale and the ‘not my job’ attitude, so
where there is little buy in, why refer? It can also
be a result of employees lacking confidence in
making judgment calls, linked to accountability.
Not Their Job
“When employees are not required to make
selection choices, Employee Referrals go up.”
Line managers need to see the
Employee Referral Program as
being important to their team,
and the most effective way they
Where time and resources are invested in getting line manager
buy in, they are far more willing to include conversations about
referrals in team meetings, one to ones and more. Where
referral figures are included in performance reviews, then the
Employee Referral Program is kept front and center.
Line Manager Buy In
Some employees feel uncomfortable
approaching their friends about jobs
with their employer and are unsure
how to make the first approach.
The best way to resolve this is to make the process easy and to
offer training in the referral process and promoting the employer
Training and development to support the
Employee Referral Program will lead to success,
with employees being more confident in having
career related conversations.
Friends About Jobs6#
Successful Employee Referral Programs
place candidate experience at the center.
Negative feedback to candidate experience
will strangle any Employee Referral Program
Recruitment processes should be designed to
operate referred candidates as a separate channel,
with time scales for review and feedback to both
the candidate and the employee who originated
Most ERPs launch with great intentions, publicity and fanfare but after a
few months, employee enthusiasm and participation weans.
This need not be the case with careful planning.
When structuring an ERP strategy, you need to
think how you are going to promote the program
and keep it prominent in the thoughts of employees.
Celebrate successes publicly with open recognition,
plan for on-going communication and get referrals
on the agenda at every management
and team meeting.
Employee Referral Program