June B-School: 7 Local Leaders' Big Pivots LEARN MORE

Strategy

Getting the Best Out of Your Employee Referral Program

Celeste Cramer, system director of recruitment and retention for CoxHealth, and Nikki Hampton, senior talent management consultant for Commerce Bank, provide a peek at how their employee referral programs succeed.

By Max Havey

Mar 2020

Shaking Hands Shutterstock Image
Photo Courtesy ShutterstockEmployee referral programs can be a huge win for your business with just a few simple tweaks.

Incentivizing employees to refer new job candidates with cash bonuses and vacation days can be a huge boon to your company’s culture, recruitment efforts and retention rate. If you’re looking for where to start, CoxHealth’s Celeste Cramer and Commerce Bank’s Nikki Hampton share a few secrets on how they make their referral incentive programs thrive. 

Simplify the Process

Commerce Bank revamped its One Commerce referral program in 2018, and Hampton says the bank ended waiting periods, so employees can earn referral bonuses immediately. As a result Hampton has seen a 47% increase in referral hires and an increase in diversity and inclusion efforts thanks to a larger hiring pool.

Trust Your Employees’ Judgment

For Cramer, recruiting at CoxHealth means hiring for positions that often require specific qualifications and education. Thankfully, existing employees often went to school with people who have the right skills. “The data shows employees that are referred by other employees have a higher retention rate,” Cramer says. “They’re higher performers, they go through training faster and are more productive sooner.” 

Embrace Competition

“We see departments get into competitions with each other to see who gets the most referral bonuses, and we’ll do an award,” Cramer says. While the award is usually something small like lunch, Cramer sees competitions as an opportunity to market positions internally. Along the same lines, Hampton coordinates drawings every six months for vacation packages based on employees who referred candidates during that timeframe. Both Hampton and Cramer note that this internal marketing can help to reduce the overall agency spend for advertising similar positions.

Business Listings: