Employee Referral Programs: Why Gamification Matters

Gamification is one of the more common objectives we hear on the wishlists of prospective customers when we are talking with them about our Employee Referral software.  If recruiting departments are going to pay a referral bonus to their employees who refer candidates that are successfully hired, why would they need to also be concerned about gamification?

The answer is simple – engagement.

Making as many hires as possible via referrals is the ultimate measure of success with your referral program, but it doesn’t start there.  You’ve got to create awareness of the program and get your employee base involved first before you start to see a steady flow of good referrals.  Using a gamified approach can speed that process up.

A good, gamified referral program will not only award points to users for specific behaviors, but will also highlight those awards so that the user is made full aware of what is happening.  For example, when a user first registers for your employee referral portal, points should be awarded and advertised for that small achievement.  Not only that, but the user should also be able to easily see how they stack up, right out of the gate, in terms of placement on a “Leaderboard”.

In Referagig, we award points for successful registration with the system because it reinforces the concept of achievement with the user.  Sure, they registered and completed that small task, but by awarding them for it, and highlighting that award as it relates to point tallies for all users, we create a sense of competition for the user, with the hope that they’ll immediately look for other ways to earn points.  They can do that by sharing a job through their social media networks, making a referral, as well as earn points each time their referral receives an interview, and/or gets hired.

Points/rankings are important, but without some kind of end goal in sight, they may not be as valuable.  With this in mind, we allow our customers to create a “bounty” (award) that a user can claim once they reach a specific point threshold.  A common example of this is a $25 Amazon or Starbucks gift card once X number of points has been reached.  This is regardless of any referral payouts that are being made for successful hires – users can earn points and claim them for rewards whether they are getting their referrals hired or not.

The purpose behind this is obvious – recognize and reward the behavior, to encourage more of it.  The more behavior and engagement, the higher likelihood of the desired result – high quality referrals.

What ways are you “gamifying” your referral program, with or without technology?