According to 200+ survey respondents from following are reasons that employees opt in, or out, of their company’s employee referral programs.

Here are the items that would act as a catalyst to get people more involved:

  1. Having an incentive
  2. Being made aware of when positions are available
  3. Understanding more about available roles
  4. Getting better feedback about people I refer
  5. Improving my company’s culture

Level of motivation for various incentives

  1. Public recognition
  2. Financial rewards
  3. A simple thanks
  4. Holidays/days in lieu
  5. Product rewards

There is no easy answer for motivating people to refer individuals to your firm but a few things are clear. Trying different programs and gathering data on what has worked, and not worked, is a great start. Also, more so than the amount of the reward…closely matching rewards and recognition to employee interest will produce the best results.

Here are some thoughts as to how to start:

  • Survey employees who have referred candidates, regardless whether the referrals were hired or not. Specifically ask them what aspects of the program were positive and which might be improved.
  • Survey non-referring employees and ask them about barriers to participating. Include a list of rewards and motivators and ask them to highlight the ones that would most likely increase their participation.
  • Benchmark other firms – find out what others are doing and shire the most effective methods.
  • Try out different programs – Because motivators lose their effectiveness over time, periodically change the rewards.

Firms that have very well-designed referral programs can reach over 50% of all hires from referrals without paying cash rewards. Find what works for your organization.