In this post, we will share information about employee referral programs. Employee referrals are a popular and effective way to hire top talent for your organization.

In fact, research shows that employee referrals are the most effective source of new hires, resulting in higher retention rates, faster time-to-hire, and lower recruitment costs. For example, did you know that 45% of referral hires stay longer than four years, compared to only 25% of job board hires?

Employee referral programs (also known as ERPs among some professionals) are a popular way for companies to recruit new employees by leveraging their existing workforce.

employee referral programs
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Advantages of ERPs

Improved Quality of Hires

Referrals from employees are more likely to fit the company culture and be a good fit for the job, leading to higher retention rates and better job performance.

Cost Savings 

Employee referral programs can save companies money on recruiting costs, including advertising and agency fees.

Faster Hiring Process

ERPs can lead to faster hiring since referrals are pre-screened, reducing the time it takes to fill a position.

Increased Employee Engagement

ERPs can boost employee engagement by creating a sense of community and providing employees with a sense of ownership in the hiring process.

Increased Diversity

ERPs can help companies diversify their workforce by encouraging employees to refer candidates from different backgrounds and experiences.

Disadvantages of ERPs

Potential for Bias

Employee referral programs could lead to bias since employees may refer people who are similar to themselves, resulting in a lack of diversity. This is why it’s important to incentivize your employees to refer diverse candidates.

Reduced Candidate Pool

Some may be concerned that ERPs could limit the candidate pool since they rely on employee referrals, which may not capture all qualified candidates, although a recent study shows that this is not the case.

A study from researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, University of Minnesota, Morris, Yale School of Management, and the University of Toronto took a comprehensive look at employees across nine industries: tech/IT, trucking, and call centers. Their findings were fascinating! They shared that workers refer people who share characteristics with themselves. For example, top performers refer top performers. Their study found that referred workers are “roughly 25% more profitable than no-referred workers”.

Managing an employee referral program can be a time-consuming and manual process. That’s where employee referral software comes in.

What is Employee Referral Software Used for?

Employee referral software is a tool that automates and streamlines the employee referral process. It allows your employees to easily refer their contacts to your company and enables your recruitment team to track and manage referrals in a centralized system. With employee referral software, you can create referral programs, set up rewards, and generate reports to measure the success of your referral program.

What Should I Look for In Employee Referral Software?

When selecting employee referral software, it’s important to consider the following features:

Easy to use

The software should be user-friendly and intuitive for employees to use. The easier it is to submit a referral, the more likely employees will be to participate in the program.


The software should be customizable to fit your company’s unique referral program requirements, including rewards, referral sources, and communication templates.


The software should integrate with your applicant tracking system (ATS) or HRIS (human resources information system) to streamline the recruitment process and ensure a seamless candidate experience. For example, ERIN has 30+ integrations.


The software should provide analytics and reporting capabilities to help you measure the success of your referral program and identify areas for improvement.


The software should gamify the process, which encourages employees to use it! Make it fun and interesting.

When onboarding an employee referral program, it’s also important to communicate the program’s benefits to employees and provide clear guidelines for participation. Consider sending out a fun email reminder, informing staff of the new program. Think of ways to encourage the adoption of your program as well, which will help increase employee engagement.

Employee referral programs can be an effective tool for companies to attract and retain high-quality employees, but it’s essential to weigh the potential benefits against the potential drawbacks and make sure the program is structured in a way that promotes fairness and inclusivity.


In conclusion, employee referral software is a powerful tool for companies looking to leverage the power of employee referrals to find top talent. By automating and streamlining the referral process, you can save time, reduce costs, and improve your recruitment outcomes.

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