Do Not Ask For Employee Referrals!
Updated: Oct 9
Instead, ask for Recommendations.
Many organizations, big and small seek help from their employees to bag their next star-performer by floating employee referral schemes internally. Employees are asked to act as extended hands of the HR team and help source more resumes in lieu of a referral reward.
What if you tweak the pitch a little and ask employees to ‘recommend’ people instead of referring them? These will be individuals who they know personally, who they’ve worked with and whose performance & credibility they can personally vouch for. What if they were also told that there’s no monetary benefit whatsoever either? Now that’s a double-whammy! Would they still do it?
Crazy, how it may seem, but this is how a recommendation scheme scores over pure, traditional referrals:
Quality over quantity: Since you aren’t giving a monetary reward, only very relevant people genuinely interested in the organization’s growth will make the effort to recommend. The influx will be less but the quality high, thus saving you the pain of going through the profiles of every Tarun, Dheer & Hari.
Lesser quality checks: By the virtue of definition of the scheme an individual’s own credibility is at stake when he/she recommends against merely referring someone. They’ll think twice (if not thrice) before recommending someone for a role internally.
Separating wheat from the chaff: You get to know of people actively engaged in the organization's growth and well-being. Active referrer’s will invariably be individuals who are invested emotionally in the organization as well.
Works as a beautiful culture definition tool: A recommendation scheme completely dissociates monetary benefits thereby quashing any vested interests. Referral schemes are not side hustles to make an extra buck. It’s a platform that one can leverage to help build the organizational talent pool by inviting other talented individuals and indirectly raising the bar of an acceptable, average performance.
Having said that, implementing a successful non-monetary recommendation scheme is easier said than done. It requires a positive and highly engaging organizational cultureand a selfless value system that takes time to build and develop. Communication around the scheme is also be critical here that clearly speaks of personal ownership and accountability.
As they say, “recommendations are powerful. When I recommend you, I give a little bit of my reputation away .”