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Sourcing & Recruiting, Talent Acquisition

Best Practices for Motivating Employees to Give Referrals Using Non-Cash Incentives

By Elizabeth Magill , March 29th, 2018

In the rush to find top-tier talent for open position requisitions, companies frequently get caught on the gerbil wheel of the traditional recruiting cycle. However, that’s not the only — or necessarily the best way — to find the cream of the crop employees for your organization.

According to Career Builder’s publication, Referral Madness, 88 percent of employers consider employee referrals to be better quality above all other sources for new hires. That’s a significant amount of respect from a very diverse group of employers. It’s also the reason why it’s so important for businesses to encourage employee referrals whenever possible.

There’s no doubt that positive and successful employee referrals can be essential tools for enhancing the overall experience for employees. However, encouraging participation can be a bit of a challenge in some companies. That’s why it’s important to offer some form of incentives to prod employees into taking part. But with money being tight in businesses across the board, it’s equally important to find incentives that aren’t cash based for achieving these goals such as those mentioned below.

Consider Quarterly Prize Drawings
Obviously, the better you make the prize, the most people will be willing to work in an effort to bring that particular prize home. Some ideas you might want to consider include:

  • Coveted parking spots—for the upcoming quarter
  • Weekend getaway packages
  • Spa packages
  • Electronic gifts
  • Event tickets (concerts, sporting events, holiday events, movies, etc.)
  • Flight vouchers these employees are free to use at their convenience

Time Trumps All
One of the greatest incentives you can give employees today is the one thing they can never truly recover on their own: time. Offer days off in exchange for successful, high quality referrals that actually come to work for your company and s what a difference it makes in your referral rates, company wid. In the hearts and minds of many modern employees, this is one offer that’s worth more to them than money. It can be one day per quarter or year per successful referrals.

Consider Making Referrals Part of Annual Employee Performance Reviews
Employees are often highly motivated to do whatever it takes to get favorable employee reviews. They understand that bonuses, raises, and promotions, and even continued employment can be determined by these important reviews and are constantly on the lookout for new things they can do for a better score when it comes to their performance. The real goal is to create a company culture that honors employees who refer qualified candidates that become successful employees. You should also make a point of asking why employees aren’t referring people to work for the company if they aren’t. The feedback they provide might prove extremely valuable as you fine tune your referral incentive programs.

Small Perks for Better Work Atmosphere
Sometimes it really is the little things that make all the difference for employees. Small perks like free casual days, catered lunch celebrations with the company president where only those who have made successful referrals in the previous month or quarter are invited, public recognition for employee referrals, or even small tokens like prize packages with movie rental certificates, travel mugs, microwave popcorn, etc. can do the trick. The perks do not need to be elaborate in order to be effective.

Make it Work with Your Business Structure
Different businesses have different types of people with different motivations working for them. It’s important to always look for ways to improve your employee referral reward program to best fit the people who work for you and the business environment you’re trying to create. Once you’ve nailed down the proper “incentives” to encourage employee participation, then it’s time to make a concerted effort to train employees on the best way to make their recommendations.

Final Thoughts
Good employee referral incentive programs will excite workers to share their connections with the company, giving you access to a bucket full of great, pre-screened talent for your organization. And, at a time when social networking is at its highest level, it’s certainly worthwhile to tap into the bountiful employee referral network.

Check out our related post: Best Practices for Motivating Employees to Give Referrals Using Cash Incentives


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