Your employees are the best. They’re hard working, talented, productive, energetic, and fun. As your company grows, you find yourself wishing you could clone them.
The best way to accomplish that feat — outside of hiring a mad scientist—is to encourage your workers to spread the word about your company to their like-minded family members and friends.
With a strong employee referral program, you’ll be well on your way. But building such a program can be challenging, especially if the workers you’re trying to replicate are primarily remote employees.
Here are eight tips to help you overcome those difficulties and put together a strong, effective remote employee referral program.
1. Focus first on the workers you have now.
According to an article on Recruiter.com, this is the best place to start. Make sure you interact frequently with your remote workers and build your relationships with them by finding meaningful ways to thank them for their accomplishments. “That in turn builds a base of referrals among other people” who will want to work with you, the article says.
2. Build a strong corporate culture.
Even if you take the time to connect with your remote workers, they’re not going to make referrals if the rest of their experience with your company is negative. You need to make sure they feel like they’re part of your firm’s culture, even if they work hundreds of miles from headquarters.
“One risks a friendship/relationship/acquaintance when referring someone to a company that won’t make good on the promise of a ‘great environment’ that you made when you asked them to jump on board with you,” the Recruiter.com article says. If your employees believe in your company, they’ll be willing to make referrals when the time is right.
3. Offer incentives.
With a solid relationship established, your employees will likely talk up your company to others in their networks. To encourage them to take the next step and actually refer those friends and acquaintances, offer a monetary bonus.
“The amount of the bonus can vary depending on position level,” the Recruiter.com article said. “The company should also recognize the employee that made the referral. This can be done in a newsletter, award ceremony, or staff meeting.” Recognition can be difficult with remote workers, so be sure to find a way to say thanks that is meaningful to them.
4. Keep things simple.
Your employee referral program should offer incentives and direction to your remote workers, but it shouldn’t be overly complicated. Clearly state what constitutes a referral and what the rewards will be for a successful hire. If you make the process too complicated, it won’t be worth the effort and people will ignore it.
5. Go mobile.
According to a TalentCulture article, this is especially important when you’re trying to gather referrals from contractors or other remote workers. To help such workers who are far away or on the go, make your program accessible through smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. “This lets your external network easily refer candidates wherever and whenever the opportunity strikes.”
6. Teach workers where to look.
Some people might not know how to find potential referrals. Offer suggestions on where they should look and how they should approach job candidates. Remind them to mine their social networks.
As a Zapier article notes, you should “simply ask teammates to help spread the word with the goal of getting an awesome new teammate. Often times, people are excited about working with and helping pick out their new teammate, so including them in the process is a net benefit to all.”
7. Don’t ignore newcomers.
If you just hired someone through a referral, chances are that person will know other workers who might be similarly interested in remote work opportunities with your company.
“Request referrals from new employees right away. Implement this as a step in your onboarding process,” according to a Recruiterbox article.
8. Cast a wide net.
If you’re looking for remote workers, you have a whole state—or nation or world—from which to draw employees. Encourage your remote workers to consider potential referrals they might have met at faraway conferences or meetings. And don’t forget potential “outside the box” hires who might not even be in your industry but have experience working remotely and possess the right skill set. Such hires can be risky, but they sometimes bring the best rewards.
By following these eight suggestions, you should be able to create a remote employee referral program that will help you find clones of the best workers you already have. And that will help both your company and your workforce grow in positive, productive ways.
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