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Employee Referral Program Ideas [2023]

employee referral program ideas

Employee Referral Program Ideas

Companies are catching on that employee referral programs are a great way to hire faster, and cheaper. In this blog post, we share employee referral program ideas for your organization to leverage.

In the multifaceted realm of talent acquisition, few strategies have proven as effective and enduring as employee referral programs. At their core, these programs harness the collective networks of existing employees, leveraging their contacts, credibility, and insights to find potential new hires. When an employee refers someone from their personal or professional network, it’s more than just a lead—it’s a testimony to that candidate’s skills, fit, and potential value to the organization.

The Power of Employee Referral Programs

There are numerous benefits of employee referral programs. To start, they often lead to faster hiring and increased retention. Instead of wading through a pile of resumes from job boards, recruiters receive pre-vetted candidates, reducing the time-to-hire considerably.

Furthermore referred candidates usually have a more accurate perception of the company culture and job expectations, given that they’ve gained insights from their referring employee. This clarity often translates to better job fit and, consequently, longer tenure, reducing turnover costs.

But the advantages aren’t solely on the side of the employer. For employees, referral programs can come with incentives, both monetary and non-monetary, serving as motivation to participate actively. This can lead to increased employee engagement. Beyond tangible rewards, there’s a sense of satisfaction involved in helping a friend or acquaintance land a job and in contributing directly to the growth and success of one’s organization!

However, the success of an employee referral program hinges on how it’s launched, and how it’s understood by employees. It requires clear communication of the program’s details, attractive incentives, and a seamless process for both referring and tracking candidates.

When done right, it can be an invaluable tool in a company’s recruitment arsenal, yielding high-quality candidates who are not only skilled but also culturally aligned with the organization.

Download Our Free Flyers

Download our free employee referral program flyers and posters to share with employees at your company. Posters are a great way to generate employee awareness and help communicate your program's benefits and increase adoption.

Employee Referral Program Tips & Tricks

employee referral program ideas

As you’ve read, implementing an employee referral program can offer a number of benefits.  Launching a successful employee referral program can be a little difficult, so we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that could help you!


Effectively COMMUNICATING your program is integral in having a successful employee referral program. This means posters (see our link above to our free posters you can utilize and brand to your company’s guidelines), email blasts, newsletters, and more are essential in helping increase the adoption of your program.

Competitive Incentives

Offering attractive rewards for successful referrals is a great way to boost engagement and the adoption of your program. Here are some examples of incentives:

  • Monetary Bonuses ($$$)
  • Extra Vacation Days
  • Gift Cards
  • Company Swag


Make sure that the rewards are given out promptly after the referred candidate is hired. If there is a planned delay (for example, maybe you give 50% when the candidate is hired and the remaining 50% after 3 months) then make sure that is communicated.


If your employee referral program is not simple, no one will participate. Make the process fun, engaging, and easy to use! ERIN is ranked highly on ease-of-use on G2 and it’s something we take pride in having our solution be easy for our users to use.

Employee Referral Program Incentives (that are non-monetary)

If your organization has limitations and you need some ideas for rewards or incentives for your employee referral program, we have some suggestions.

RAFFLES – for every referral made (or successful hire), give employees a raffle ticket for them to be eligible to win a prize.

GAMIFICATION – gamify your employee referral program by creating leaderboards. Assign points to successful referrals and encourage some friendly competition!

CHARITABLE DONATIONS –  offer to make a donation to the referrer’s chosen charity as a reward.

The success of an employee referral program hinges on continuous engagement, clear communication, and tangible rewards. By exploring and experimenting with various ideas, companies can discover what resonates most with their employees, ensuring a steady influx of quality candidates.

If you’re looking to streamline or automate your employee referral process, consider talking to one of our experts to help you get started. 

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