The Secret Sauce Behind Employee Referrals

Jennifer Olvera
November 1 ․ 9 min read

With quiet quitting (and actual quitting) trending across all industries, what can you do to fill your talent pipeline and attract more quality applicants? 

Look to your current employees. 

To an existing employee, you reiterate that you value their input and hold them in high regard. High enough that you want to hire another top-tier employee that they recommend for open spots. 

To a potential new hire, engaged employees are relatable and are the best way to humanize your brand. Your current employees connect with potential applicants in authentic ways.

Employee referrals are an excellent way to increase engagement and fill roles faster. Read on to dig into the components that make an employee referral program work.

The benefits of employee referrals

Employee referrals have the highest ROI of all recruiting methods, ushering in a faster time to hire, lower cost per hire, higher retention rates, and better performance. Sounds like something worth investing in, right? With the right tools on your side, employee referrals also have the power to:

  • Attract top talent
  • Retain talent longer
  • Grant access to inactive candidates
  • Provide a quick, affordable link to top talent
  • Create a positive work culture that keeps employees engaged
  • Cultivates employee advocacy

Ready to boost your employee referrals? Let’s take a closer look at how and with what tools you can do it.

What makes employee referrals work?

SmashFlyX, Symphony Talent’s streamlined recruitment marketing platform, combines a powerful CRM, careers site and programmatic advertising for the most complete recruitment marketing and campaigning capabilities available in a single platform. Through it, employees can share and apply, while organizations can hire and track employee referral eligibility without toggling between software. 

Employee sponsors can easily share “affiliate links” to their social networks or share them directly with their friends by providing a quick, simple referral process. From there, referred contacts have the choice to apply for a job or opt into your talent network.

The platform lets you automate the “check for eligibility” to refer a candidate, track bonus amounts and determine the sponsor “ownership” period. You can also allow recruiters and program administrators to update their eligibility status.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased team efficiency
  • Complete talent pipelining and campaigning
  • A unified experience for your team and talent
  • Visibility and predictability in every behavior and every channel

Since employees are your most valuable talent pool, SmashFlyX lets you promote openings internally,   quickly using campaigns to target employees for valuable referrals with high-touch personalization. 

How does a referral portal work?

The platform delivers an exclusive, gated, employee-only experience optimized for high-quality referrals. First, employees are assigned a personal referral tracking link, which is easy to share with friends they’d like to refer.

Through the self-service site, employees can track their referrals’ progress.

You can opt to post all jobs or only ones eligible for referral. Employees can find a match with friends in their network or sign up for job alerts. Personal referral links can also be shared as a general invitation to sponsor a candidate for a job they consider a good match.

As referral links are shared with their network and referred contacts apply to jobs, employees can monitor the progress of the contacts they have sponsored.

The process is just as easy for prospects — potential candidates who get a job link from a sponsor go straight to the job details, where they may choose to apply and/or explore other job openings. As referral links are shared with their network and referred contacts apply to jobs, employees can monitor the progress of the contacts they have sponsored.

How does it work in the CRM?

Each referral contact is marked on their profile. Referrals are linked to their sponsor along with eligibility and sponsorship history. The referral toggle becomes uneditable when the referrals feature is enabled.

In terms of sponsors, each employee has a contact profile and is marked as a sponsor in the CRM once they have initiated their first referral. Adding to the ease:

  • Referrals are also identified 
  • Each is linked to the other in the CRM with the referral status and history  
  • Referral bonus Eligibility and Amount are tracked per job
  • Sponsor toggle is not editable by users
  • You can search by sponsor or referral in the eligibility status filter

When it comes to campaigns, you can target employees to promote the referral program as a whole. Or, you can target things like high-priority job openings, complete with a custom message/voice for referred friends. Workflows can also automate a special welcome message to all referred contacts.

To track the success and progress of referral bonus awards. And an activity dashboard delivers at-a-glance referral program metrics. 

Once the referrals module is enabled, you can assign permissions and referral settings can be configured.  Users with access to tools and referral options can configure settings unique to referrals, including sponsor types, status groupings; eligible global statuses; ownership period; and hired status(es).

Several options are available to support the employee referral policy and program access. You can:

  • Control access to the referral portal using an email address
  • Require single sign-on (SSO) for employee access to the referral portal
  • Require agreement to the referral policy, with a link to the Policy page
  • Determine referral content audience settings – referral only, sponsor only, or both
  • Send a sponsor welcome email or sponsor job alert

An employee referral program backed by a powerful, synced recruitment marketing platform has the power to:

  • Capitalize on the talent you have
  • Cultivate vetted talent to build your talent pool 
  • Elevate the number of quality hires 
  • Shape a work culture where employees feel included, appreciated and supported for what they bring to the table.

Learn more 

To learn more about referrals, contact us here.  

Want to check out more on how referrals fit into your recruitment marketing tech stack?

Check out "Your Guide to Accelerating Candidate Connection.” 

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