What Can Employees Expect Out Of An Employee Referral Program?

  • Added:
    Jul 03, 2014
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What Can Employees Expect Out Of An Employee Referral Program? Photo by Savio Vadakkan

At the core of the employee referral program is the employee who decides whether the referral program deserves to be successful or not. This decision depends a great deal on whether the referral program is able to meet the expectations of employees. Since the employee referral program is implemented at an organizational level and is not limited to any one function or level, a lot of its success depends on communicating what employees can expect from the program with utmost clarity and precision.

Since employees are the ones who need to put in the time and effort to refer good talent to the organization, it is imperative that employees understand why the referral program is required and the benefits that can accrue both to the organization and to themselves by participating in the program. Communication is the key to employee expectations and if you set expectations that the employee referral program is not designed to fulfill, you have set yourself up for failure. Employees are sure to feel cheated and stop participating in the program once they realize that the program does not meet their expectations. On the other hand under communicating the benefits of the program and its features can kill even a well designed program right at the start as employees will  simply not be motivated enough to participate.

Clear and consistent communication designed to set the right expectations for employees is the key to long term success of the program. Below are a few key pointers on communication regarding employee expectation from an employee referral program.

• The benefits of the employee referral program, both monetary and non monetary should be communicated clearly so that employees know very clearly what they can expect by putting in effort in the referral program.

• Also the referral and hiring process should be communicated in complete detail so that employees are completely clear on what to expect at every step of the referral process. They should know the timeframe when a response is expected from the hiring team and the process for tracking the status of their referred candidate.


• Equally important is to communicate open positions and the skills and competencies required clearly and accurately so that employees are not left to guess on the kind of people the organization is looking for. Employees should be clear on the kind of people the organization is keen to hire and can accordingly screen and refer candidates.

• Lastly, but a very significant expectation that employees have from the employee referral program relates to the mechanism for payment of referral bonus. A referral scheme should clearly lay down the guidelines for payment and whether employees should expect any delay while paying for successful referral.


Ensuring clear and consistent communication on these significant points can help set clear expectations and build a relationship of trust between the employee and the organization. Follow it up with concrete action and you have a sure-shot winner of a referral program in your hands.

Author's Profile

Savio Vadakkan is the Marketing Professional at ZALP, a leading employee referral tool. Zalp enables organizations to boost their employee referral hires by implementing an effective employee referral program.


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