Acquiring great talent for your company is hard to come by. A study from Pew Research shows that low pay, a lack of opportunities for career advancement, and feeling undervalued at work comprise the top reasons why employees leave the workplace. Also, with the ongoing Covid pandemic dismantling the traditional work setup, the waters from the pool of talent acquisition seemed to have gotten even murkier.  

Luckily, you can tap into the potential of your existing talent pool through employee referrals. In this post, find out more about why employee referrals are vital in acquiring great talent for your company and how you can leverage them. 

Why Employee Referral Programs Work 

Given this kind of challenging hiring environment, it’s all the more necessary for your company to capitalize on employee referrals. In an era where employees easily come and go, referrals coming from individuals who have already spent some time in your company are vital towards attracting new talent. 

Indeed, nothing else can possibly draw in top talent into your company other than hearing from their friends and loved ones who are already working for your company and are having the time of their lives.  

Ways To Leverage Employee Referrals 

1. Maintain a Referral-Worthy Culture 

A study from the Harvard Business Review of a contact center company revealed that out of 100 applicants, employee referrals generated 70  percent more good hires compared to non-referred ones. In the same study, referrals also tend to improve if the referrer has a stronger and longer connection with the referred candidate.  

That being said, hiring managers should essentially treat employees like matchmakers. As matchmakers, they are also frontliners when it comes to representing your company and putting a good word out for it when it comes to potential new hires.  

In this manner, you must ensure that your employees feel well taken care of and appreciated by the company. No company is perfect but at the very least, your employees must feel that their voices matter and that they are rewarded for their hard work. This will also further motivate them to refer their friends to your company and to proactively contribute to the success of your employee referral program.  

2. Establish Transparent Guidelines and Expectations 

Great people know great people. If your company’s goal is to leverage on your employee referral program, bear in mind that for an employee referral program to really work, do not give your employees a hard time in referring and in getting their rewards for a successful referral. 

Hiring managers must establish clear guidelines and expectations in setting up a referral program. Start by establishing rules on eligibility. Who among your employees can refer and what are the steps for them to initiate the referral process?  

Also, be straightforward from the get-go on how your employees will receive the reward after a successful referral. For instance, what is the minimum duration that a referred employee must spend in the company for your employee to receive the incentive? Will the referred employee still be considered a successful referral even if the employee stays in the company for just a few months?  

Will the employee referral incentive be the same across the board or will the rewards vary according to position? These are questions that your employees will ask and that your organization should have ready answers to.  

3. Be Direct-To-The Point with Job Requirements 

In the referral process, don’t expect your employees to know exactly the kind of staff that hiring managers are looking for to fill certain positions. Hence, be transparent and clear about each vacant position by carefully outlining the job description and including it in the “call for referrals” email to be sent out to employees.  

This may seem quite basic but many organizations fall short in making their employees understand the requirements needed for a particular vacancy. When this happens, employees tend to refer potential candidates that may not even be qualified to fill a particular vacancy. This could lead to frustration on both ends.  

4. Ensure That Your Employee Reward System Truly Motivates 

Studies show that more than 45 percent of employees referred to by co-employees stay for more than four years, while only 25 percent of non-referred employees stay on the job for more than two years. This is why 82 percent of hiring managers place high trust on employee referral campaigns as these guarantee a greater return on investment.  

Since well-thought-out referral programs really work, you must ensure that your incentive system is truly attractive and enticing. Research shows that a great majority of companies offer monetary incentives. The median amount for these incentives is $1,000, while the most typical incentive for a successful referral is $500 or higher.  

Consider also offering non-monetary rewards to your most successful referees. These non-monetary rewards may include vouchers, gift certificates, or even tickets to shows and sports events. 

5. Market The Employee Referral Program 

For greater success, your employee referral program must be treated as a full blast marketing campaign to beef up the recruiting process and for greater employee participation. 

Like any other marketing effort, ensure that you are not asking for referrals too late in the game. Make your employee referral campaign time-bound instead of making it seem as if referring to an employee is just part of your employees’ regular tasks at work.  

Create a start date and an end date for the referral program. Use all communication channels such as emails, bulletin boards, and company huddles. This will create excitement for your referral program and increase the chances of getting plenty of qualified referrals.  

6. Keep Employees Updated with Outcomes of The Referral Program  

Employees who participate in the referral program tend to be more proactive if they are given regular updates on the status of their referrals. If your staff does not hear anything from the hiring managers, they will likely be demotivated to participate in any future employee referral program. 

Hence the importance of making sure to update them once their referral passes an exam or clears an interview. Take time to explain to them why a particular referral did not get hired. Update them also on the status of the release of their referral bonus for every successful referral.  

7. Acknowledge Employees Who Consistently Make Good Referrals 

Harvard Business Review reports show that providing positive feedback to employees is extremely vital in generating a sense of motivation and accomplishment as well as greater ownership of their work. This is also true for your employees who consistently provide good referrals to your company.  

Aside from their referral bonus, employees will also be more motivated to refer if they also get generous praise from you about the quality of the people they refer to. Nothing contributes more to the success of a company than having employees who are highly motivated.   


Hiring managers who are extremely keen on finding high-quality employees to fill crucial positions in their companies should consider getting a staffing company, such as Agile Workplace Staffing (WPS). As a staffing company, Agile actually has an Agile Power Network which gives you seamless access to pre-screened candidates. This will help you have a consistent stream of candidates to fill a vacancy with 50 percent less time.  

Employee  helps you ease the burden of acquiring talent in the era of the Great Resignation.  

The company has a team of recruiters that are highly specialized and skilled at providing top-notch handling of candidates, which can truly make a difference in your organization. Most importantly, the Agile Power Network gives you access to an exclusive list of top-tier candidates that are usually not found in the usual job boards. 

These are but a few of the many examples on how to use Agile WPS resources. Send us a message today to know how else Agile WPS can fulfill your staffing needs.