Why a Marketer Mind-Set Is Essential in Fueling Your Employee Referral Program

The best source of hire continues to be employee referrals.


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According to SilkRoad’s Sources of Hire 2017 report, the referral made up more than 30% of all hires in 2016 and a whopping 45% of internal hires.
This is why so many employers use employee referral programs (ERPs). But a major obstacle they face is actually getting employees to participate. If your employees either don’t know about your program or don’t know how to submit referrals, you’re missing out on the best hiring strategy.
Instead, adopt a marketer mind-set to fuel participation in your ERP.

Start with Branding

In the world of marketing, a brand represents the identity of your business. It acts as an extension of your company.
But you can apply this tactic to initiatives, like your program. In fact, branding ERPs is becoming more common in the workplace.
My company conducted a survey to better understand how HR professionals are managing and promoting their ERPs. One of the top ways they’re promoting their programs is creating a name for them. Plus, many are planning to design a logo as part of their branding strategy within the next year.
A name and a logo make your program more memorable and add credibility to it. Employees will see that the ERP is a priority, not just another corporate initiative.
One of the best examples of a successful branding campaign for an ERP comes from LinkedIn. The marketing and talent acquisition department teamed up and created what they called Talent X. Using a logo with this name, they ran internal advertisements to raise awareness and praise their top referrers.

Show, then Tell

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the submission process. In fact, our survey found that 63% of HR professionals say their employees provide feedback very often/frequently, saying their process is too complicated to refer a candidate.
If it’s too hard to submit referred candidates, your employees won’t participate in your program. One of the best marketing tactics that professionals use is educating their audience on how to best utilize the product or service they’re promoting.
Apply this strategy to your ERP. Host live demonstrations to walk your staff through the whole referral submission process.
Then, teach them how to identify the best candidates for your culture through talent assessments. This way, they grade candidates and only submit the best fits.

Leverage the Right Channels

Just like marketers, you need to know where to reach your audience, which is your employees. Simply hanging signage is not enough. You want to take a proactive marketing approach to promote your program.
Identify the best promotional channels. According to our survey, HR professionals most commonly use e-mail, social media messaging, SMS, and video content as their top channels for promoting their ERP.
Within the next year, they plan to improve their social media presence to advance their branding strategy. Social media cannot be overlooked because most employees are active on many social media channels.
But you need to understand your employees’ communication habits to effectively promote to them. Start by listening. Conduct surveys, and test which channels get the most engagement. Then, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you need help boosting employee referrals, consult with your marketing team to develop a more efficient, tactful strategy.

JP Bertram is the head of marketing at RolePoint, a company focused on employee referrals, internal talent mobility, and creating seamless ATS connectivity. Connect with him and RolePoint on LinkedIn and Twitter.