An effective employee referral program can help your talent acquisition team cost-effectively source and hire candidates within employees’ networks, speeding up the sourcing process and reducing the cost-per-hire. According to the Yello Recruiting Study, 94 percent of employees would refer their current company to a friend. Here are six ways to build a successful employee referral program.

1. Incentivize employees

Create a tiered incentive program for referrals. This might include gift cards for in-office interviews and cash rewards for accepted offers. Consider offering alternatives to money, such as gift cards, extra vacation days, or work-from-home opportunities.

2. Create brand ambassadors

Provide employees with the materials they need to promote your company’s open positions. Hold an employee referral training session, and provide content to help them best position your brand. This may include your company’s mission, what makes a stand-out candidate, the steps required to refer a candidate and even a stipend, such as a coffee shop gift card, to encourage constant networking. Employees should leave the training with:

  1. A clear understanding of the qualifications your company requires during the selection and interview process.
  2. How to communicate those understandings to their spheres of influence.
  3. How they can be rewarded for their referral activity.

3. Stay top of mind

Once you have shared the details of your company’s referral program internally, continue to build momentum. Work with your internal communication team to secure a spot in the employee newsletter, include the referral program details in new hire training and send around monthly “hot jobs” with a higher referral reward associated.

4. Be transparent with employees

Show employees where their referrals stand in the application process. Use referral technology to automatically increase hiring transparency, saving you time from responding to employee referral status inquiries. This helps keep employees engaged in the hiring process, and provides clear insight into what stage their referral is in the process, the total number of candidates referred over time and the the total reward associated with each position.

5. Invest in technology

Referral technology can enable employees to easily refer candidates, track their progress, and calculate their associated reward. Referral technology also increases the applicant-to-hire conversion rate; automatically incentivizes the referral process to facilitate employee engagement and retention; streamlines communication between talent acquisition, human resources and payroll departments; and mitigates legal risks associated with many multinational companies’ stringent employee referral policies.

6. Provide interview training

Once referral candidates begin to fill your candidate pipeline, create an interview training program for new hiring managers, new employees and first-time interviewees. This training will ensure every candidate’s interview experience remains consistent, aligned with your organization’s mission and leaves every referral with a positive experience with your company.