Employee Referral Process: Employee Adoption vs. Admin Tracking

Tawfiq Abu-Khajil
December 3, 2023
2 min read
What is an Employee Referral process?
An Employee Referral process is the method by which existing employees submit potential candidates for job openings within their organization. These referrals are then evaluated by the company and can lead to the referred candidate being considered for employment.

Employee Referral programs have long been recognized as an effective method for sourcing great hires. 

However, in deciding the process of how referrals are submitted by employees, organizations have always had to choose between either 1) offering a looser process to increase employee engagement with the program or 2) offering a more strict process to avoid manual tracking for the HR team. 

How are the two options offered? And is there a third option that gives the best of both worlds? In this article, we will explore that. 

Loose Process (High Employee Adoption, Manual Admin Tracking) 

This first option is generally offered by including a question on your job applications – which asks candidates to list the name of the employee who referred them. Seems simple. As an employee, I would just ask my friend to put my name on that field. 

However, if you’re a large organization with thousands of employees, this is where the tracking nightmare begins.

  1. First, to match the referral, you’ll have to manually find this employee in your organization. In doing so, you would hope the name listed by the candidate is not misspelled or shortened (Edward → Ed) or that multiple employees don’t hold the same name.

  2. Once you’ve identified the employee, you’ll have to 1) Confirm that they are eligible to receive a reward according to your policy and 2) Verify with them that they have referred this candidate.

  3. After that’s done, you will have to track your payouts on a spreadsheet (especially if you use a different system for your HRIS) and create an equation to help with counting down the days until payouts are due.
  1. Every 2 weeks, you will have to access this spreadsheet, see which payouts are due, jump back and forth to your HRIS to confirm that both the employee and the referred hire are still at the company, and then export those payouts to payroll.

With thousands of referrals, this will quickly turn into an administrative nightmare – which will either need overhead or cause burnout, lost productivity and even missed or double payments. 

But what's another option? 

Stricter Process (Low Employee Adoption, Automated Admin Tracking) 

A second option is to oblige all your employees to go through the referral section of your HRIS, ATS or CRM – and submit their referral through there. On the face of it, it seems like the better option but there are major issues with this approach. 

  1. First, if a majority of your employees are in the field or frontline – you will see a huge reduction in their engagement with your referral program. This is because such a process is not easily accessible for the deskless workforce and therefore will not be used by them.

  2. Second, while the process will help with matching referrals, you will still have to track payouts manually on a spreadsheet and perform steps 3 & 4 mentioned above (especially if you use separate systems for your ATS and HRIS). 

It seems like companies will have to either sacrifice employee adoption or administrative tracking, but is there a third option? 

The Third Option (High Employee Adoption, Automated Admin Tracking) 

Yes, a third option exists – which allows the referral process to be seamless for your employees (especially for those on the frontline) and automates the tracking of payouts for your HR team. This option is using employee referral solutions.

A solution like Eqo – helps you automatically manage and track employee referrals while also providing a frictionless text-based referring experience for your frontline workforce.

See how Eqo can give you the best of both worlds.

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Eqo - Employee Referral Tool