6 Steps to Implement An Employee Referral Program

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

The most successful agencies use a referral program to establish a consistent, continuous pipeline of solid recruits.

Let’s talk about how to get you more caregivers.

Our focus this month is caregiver recruitment. In last week’s article, we addressed data from the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study showing the top methods that industry-leading home care providers are using to recruit new caregivers.

One of the top methods that also leads to the lowest turnover: referrals from current caregivers.

While most agencies rely on current caregivers for referrals to some degree, the most successful agencies use a referral program to keep the referrals coming in an organized and continuous way. An employee referral program organizes, quantifies, and drives your recruitment efforts.

Employee referral programs can benefit your agency in many ways. Besides increasing your pipeline of new caregivers, it can:

  • Reduce turnover by helping you hire more committed caregivers
  • Boost client satisfaction by helping you hire more capable caregivers

  • Increase employee satisfaction by helping them feel more connected to management

  • Save you and your management team time and effort

  • Increase morale and retention rates among current caregivers hiring coworkers with whom they already have good relationships

Getting Started

Ready to start your own employee referral program? The process is simple, but it’s critical to get it right. Let’s walk through some basic steps:

1. Identify your needs and make sure everyone in the company understands them.

Here are some of the questions you should consider in determining your needs:

  • What qualities are you looking for in new caregivers?

  • What are the minimum qualifications?

  • How quickly do you need them to start?

  • Are there specific hours or days you need them to be able to work?

Once you’ve answered these questions, create an outline of the type of caregiver you need and make sure everyone in your company (including office and support staff) has read it. It may be useful to reach out to your top caregivers individually as they are the most likely to refer other capable caregivers.

2. Create an incentive.

Make the incentive good, make it clear, make it the same for everyone, and make sure everyone knows about it. While it may seem costly to offer cash bonuses for every successful employee referral, this will likely save you money elsewhere. According to our calculations, the average caregiver costs $2,600 to hire and train. Because caregivers referred by other caregivers tend to stay longer, offering a cash bonus for referrals will likely save you money in the long run.

3. Clearly outline the parameters of the incentive.

This ensures that everyone is on the same page and avoids conflict due to confusion. All employees should understand what the incentive is, what is required to get the incentive, and when the incentive will be given. You may want to offer one bonus to the referring employee when the new referral is hired and another bonus when they have stayed with your company for a certain amount of time (90 days being one important milestone). This will incentivize employees to find you caregivers who are committed to sticking around.

4. Create a simple, consistent process to submit and track referrals.

It’s critical to make sure everyone understands the process and that it’s the same every time. Otherwise, confusion may cause qualified candidates to slip through the cracks.

Some of the questions to consider:

  • Do you contact the referrals or do the referrals contact you?
  • Where are the referrals logged?
  • Does the referring employee submit a written reference?

Creating a consistent, user-friendly process is key to ensuring the success of your program.

5. Reward and recognize referring employees.

Don’t be sluggish in giving out the incentives once people have earned it. Instant gratification helps increase participation in the program for the future and helps employees see the immediate value in referring new caregivers. In addition to providing the promised incentive to the referring employee, giving public recognition may also help encourage them to keep referring good caregivers.

6. Track the numbers to keep improving your program.

Here at Home Care Pulse, we’re big proponents of collecting good data. Tracking the numbers involved with your program will help you measure its usefulness and see how it can be improved. For example, if you are receiving a large number of referrals but hire a lower percentage of them than through other means, it may be a sign you have not communicated effectively your needs or criteria for new caregivers to your employees. Some statistics you should track include the percentage of new hires who come from referrals versus other methods, the percentage of your employees who participate in your program, and how long your referrals stay versus other hires.

Be Aware of Blind Spots

The best time to start an employee referral program is yesterday. The second best time to start is now.

Implementing an employee referral program will help you to recruit more caregivers as well as decrease your caregiver turnover and improve satisfaction for both caregivers and clients. By enlisting your employees to find caregivers, you also free up and you and your management team to focus on other matters. An employee referral program has the capacity to elevate every part of your business.

If you are using a referral program but still consistently get few referrals, it may be a sign that you have a blind spot regarding company culture or some other aspect of the job that is making your employees less likely to refer others.

To gain insight into your caregivers’ experience and what you can do to improve it, contact us to set up a consultation about our Quality Management Program. In this program, we interview a portion of your caregivers and clients every month and provide you with detailed monthly feedback on where you can improve. Let’s help you find those blind spots.

Have you had successes with employee referral programs? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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