Technology Can Help Streamline Your Referral Program

Article main image
Jul 6, 2018

The employee referral is the best source of hire for a number of reasons. Referrals cost less money and require less time to hire, especially, if you have properly trained your employees to assess candidates before referring them.

Also, referrals are typically better quality hires because your staff knows a true cultural fit when they see one.

Many employers aren’t making the most of their employee referral program. The good news is, technology is paving the way for a more efficient experience for both employees and HR professionals.

Here are some common employee referral program mistakes that can be solved through technology:

Lacking a mobile experience

The success of your employee referral program relies on your submission process. Unfortunately, complexity is still a common problem in this area.

My company, RolePoint, conducted a survey to better understand how HR professionals manage employee referrals. We learned that a staggering 63% say their employees provide feedback very often/frequently, saying the process is too complicated to refer a candidate. If employees have to jump through hoops to submit a candidate for a job posting, they’re not going to participate often.

Bottom line: Employees want (and deserve) a simplified referral process. This is where mobile technology comes in.

Nearly one in three (35%) of HR professionals who responded to our survey say a mobile-friendly employee experience is the biggest technology hurdle they want to address in their referral program. Mobile access to your company’s employee referral portal simplifies the submission process to just a few clicks. The experience is similar to popular mobile job search apps that offer a one-click apply feature.

Employees won’t need to invest a lot of time outside their typical work responsibilities to participate in the program with mobile access, giving them more incentive to grow your team.

Failing to automate processes

Technology automates tedious practices, freeing up time and energy. And in the world of HR, there are many processes that should be automated.

For example, our survey found that four in 10 HR professionals still use spreadsheets to manually track employee referral bonuses. Not only does this eat up too much time, but also it increases the likelihood of errors and oversights.

These errors can hurt the employer-employee relationship. For example, you structure your referral program so that employees are guaranteed a cash bonus if their referred candidate gets hired. With a manual process, it might take you several weeks, or even months, to process it. When this happens, employees lose trust in you and your referral program.

Bottom line: Both HR and employees deserve a better experience when it comes to administering bonuses for employee referrals. A manual process of tracking and distributing bonuses will not cut it. In fact, our survey revealed that 24% of HR professionals agree that automated bonus reporting is the top technology hurdle they want to address.

With automated reporting, everybody wins. Integrating bonus tracking with ATS ensures accurate, cost- and time-effective updates of each referral and bonus status. HR doesn’t have to spend a tedious amount of time inputting and cross-referencing bonus information, and employees won’t worry about experiencing delays.

Leaving social networks untapped

Social networks are a valuable tool for your team to access a vast pool of potential referrals. In fact, 90% of HR professionals who responded to our survey said their employees generate “a lot” of referrals using their social networks.

Unfortunately, an overly-complex referral process will prevent your employees from effectively using their social networks. Promoting opportunities to professional contacts should be as simple as possible for your employees.

Bottom line: Your employees want their friends and professional contacts to join the team. However, it can be very time-consuming to manually assess their network connections and contact them with little more than crude job descriptions they pulled from your website.

Simplifying job sharing is as easy as adding social share buttons to your detailed job postings. Employees can simply click the share button and promote openings to their massive network to see who shows interest in the company. They can also grab a link to a specific posting and send it directly to certain individuals they think are the best fit for a role.

Employees want your help matching candidates with relevant positions, and some employers are taking strides to meet this demand. Fifteen percent of HR professionals who responded to our survey said using matching technology for more relevant referrals is an obstacle they want to address. Fortunately, matching technology is becoming more common. For example, Google Cloud Job Discovery uses machine learning to better match the intent of a job seeker with the content of the job posting. So when employees want to find jobs to refer to their friends, they can easily locate relevant positions.

Keeping employees in the dark

An employee submits his former co-worker for an open position. The referred candidate applies and gets invited for an interview.

Then, crickets.

Unfortunately, most employees are left in the dark after they refer someone. This frustration discourages employees from participating in the referral process.

Bottom line: Your employees want to know the status of their referrals. The success of your program depends greatly on sending updates to employees about where their referred candidate is in the hiring process.

This includes letting them know when the candidate is contacted, interviewed, and has advanced toward earning an offer. Also, they should know when the referral is denied or considered for future roles. With simple tracking technology, you can keep your employees in the loop and engage them more with your employee referral program.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Keep up to date with the latest human resources news and information.