employee referralsAccording to the Jobvite Index 2012: Employee Referrals, employees who are recruited through an employee referral program have a 46 percent retention rate after 1 year compared to a 33 percent retention rate for employees recruited from career other sites. Even those hired from job boards only had a 22 percent retention rate. Numbers don’t lie, and these numbers are telling us that it pays to have an employee referral program.

Don’t have one in place just yet? Never fear because in its recent infographic How to Implement an Employee Referral Program, social recruiting company Zao teaches us how to start one.

First things first, if you aren’t fully convinced about implementing this type of program, the infographic gives you some facts:

  • Referrals are the highest quality hires because 1) they perform best on the job compared to other recruiting sources and 2) they make the best cultural fit because they’re pre-vetted by your company’s current employees
  • Referrals are no.1 for diversity hires with 55.3 percent of companies saying referrals are productive/very productive sources of diversity hires

Now that you’re convinced, where do you get the referrals from? Employees, former employees and alumni i.e. your company’s and employees’ networks.

And exactly what incentives do you provide to these people? The infographic says cash rewards are the no.1 incentive for getting people to participate in the program. Other popular incentives include: public recognition, product rewards and vacation days.

Aside from the rewards, it’s important to increase employees’ engagement in your referral program. The infographic suggests a few ways to do this:

  • Build a compelling career site as it is the no.1 source of influence for referrals
  • Make participation easy because 50 percent of employees sign up on the first day (when it’s easy to do so)
  • Writing compelling job descriptions, providing feedback on the referral program, and implementing gamification

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