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Referral Rewards - Missing The Point.

By STEVE WARD Published 8th Oct 2013
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I get annoyed everytime I hear people talking about referral reward schemes. Mainly, because all I hear is that they are unsuccessful, and yet people continue to do the same thing that they did in 1993. 

Referral rewards make agencies look desperate (and publicly incapable of doing their job, themselves) and they are consistently peddled as costly failures in corporate hiring. The process has too many rules, legal implications and often - paperwork - and frankly, many just can't be bothered to go through with it all. 

My problem is, that they are missing the point of the act of referral. 

Referral of a company, pub, shop, restaurant or anything else - is a natural human action - we don't need to be rewarded. What we do as humans, is share GOOD products, GOOD restaurants, and we recommend GOOD companies. 

My business generates 80% of it's candidate flow and probably 90% of it's clients through recommendation. I'd say in a business our size, that's probably on average 10-15 referred candidate enquiries a week and 2 new clients recommended to us, each week  - yet I haven't paid a penny to anyone for those kind referrals - other than the word `thank you`. And, I never asked for referrals, other than through some smart strategic processes where connections can help recommend specific skill areas. 

There are lots of opinions around `Employer Branding` out there - but truly, that is where it starts and finishes with all of this. If you look good, act good, and fulfil promises to the best of your capability, then people will refer you. Corporately, if you create a great employee environment - your employees will sing your company to the hills in pubs and social environments, and referrals & enquiries will come - naturally. 

Never has this been so important in hiring - when we have this `war for talent` everyone talks about. 

So, stop parading `rewards` for referrals - and start focusing those fund at being good at what you do, and being an employer of choice. Make yourself a place we people WANT to work for, and recommend. Naturally. 

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