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Employee Referral Page

How to build a referral culture

Nasser Oudjidane
March 19, 2023

A successful referral program is so much more than the technology that sits behind it. Yes, fancy tools and awesome automation can make all our lives easier, but what really matters when it comes to referrals is right in front of you – your people. In this guide we’ll explain how to build an effective referral culture so that your business can fulfil its potential.

What do we mean by ‘referral culture’?

You’ll know you have a successful referral culture when your employees are happy to vouch for your company. This should never feel forced, but genuine, and ultimately you want referrals to become a habit among staff who really connect with your company’s values.

A referral culture is inextricably linked to your workplace culture. If you’re an employee, are you really going to recommend a workplace to a friend if you know they’re going to dislike it? Equally, would you vouch for a candidate if you thought they’d end up being a disaster? An employee has all the incentive in the world to recommend a ‘good hire’, as their reputation within the company can grow if that new recruit adds value. A strong referral culture should be mutually beneficial for both the employer and employees.

Work on your ‘employer brand’

As we’ve covered, cultivating a referral culture owes much to building solid relationships and creating an organisation where people want to work. So taking care of your ‘employer brand’ is a key part of that. Consider doing an audit to find out what people like (or dislike) about working at your company, and whether it matches the expectations set by your social media presence.

Enhance your candidate experience

When recruiting, we all spend so much time thinking about the person who gets hired that it’s easy to forget about the people who don’t. An often overlooked question is what the experience is like for candidates who attend an interview, and what this tells your existing employees about your company’s values. Did the interviewer turn up on time? Was the communication prompt and clear? Was the candidate waiting around forever for an answer? If your employees get the impression that your candidate experience is a positive one, they’ll be more likely to make referrals and do their mates (and you) a favour.

Include new hires in the referral process

One way of instilling a referral culture is to ensure that new starters are familiar with your referral policy. This helps to set the expectation that referrals matter to your company. Also, new starters can be invaluable in making referrals as they are often keen to make a good first impression.

Incentivise your co-workers

If one of your co-workers comes up with a killer referral, they deserve more than just a pat on the back. Rewarding employees that refer quality candidates sends a signal that you value their contributions, and helps to build a referral culture. But what should these rewards look like? It could be a cash bonus – set at an appropriate level – or non-monetary rewards such as experiences, or simply a public leaderboard which acknowledges the most prolific referrer. Give people a good reason to refer and it will start to become second nature.

The technology is there. Use it!

The culture you create and the tools at your disposal are interlinked. Collaboration tools like dare we say) Intrro simply cut the amount of time your hiring team have to spend swiping through online profiles and sifting through CVs. And by making it as easy as possible for employees to introduce candidates to your recruitment team, you can start embedding referrals as a habit within your organisation.

With Intrro, you can practically recruit quality candidates with your eyes closed. Take a free trial and see how your hiring process could be transformed.


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