Gamification Strategies In Employee Referral Program

Traditional recruiting has always focused on rewards as the primary means of motivating employees for referrals. The problem with using rewards as the primary motivator is the tapering off of interest after a certain period of time leading to the slow and eventual death of the referral program. With Gen Y entering the workforce, a radically new way of engaging with employees became even more essential since the motivators for the new generation of workforce are very different with money occupying much lower priority in their scheme of things. The introduction of gamification techniques, which basically refers to the introduction of game dynamics and game thinking to a non-game scenario, has brought about renewed enthusiasm and interest among employees, enabling organizations to reach much needed hiring numbers.

Introducing game elements like levels, points and challenges makes the referral process much more fun and competitive to participate in, while helping incentivize referral actions and not just outcomes. However introducing gamification does not automatically guarantee success of the referral program. For gamification to success in the referral program, it needs to be introduced in a planned and systematic way. Given below are some gamification strategies in the referral program that can help drive engagement and participation in your employee referral program.

  • Clarity is extremely important when introducing game dynamics into the referral program, which is why a step-by-step walk through works best.
  • A differentiated point system with more points for actions you value most is essential for success in gamification. For instance there should be different points system for each of the below, example
  • o Sharing jobs on social media – 10o Recommending or referring someone – 20
  • o Referred candidate passing interview – 50

    o Referred candidate accepting offer – 200

    • Introduce level based reward/point structure and clearly spell out the actions / points required to qualify for the next round of competition. Make each successive level more challenging than the first one to sustain excitement and interest in the referral program. Give out rewards like dinner vouchers, movie tickets etc whenever an employee crosses one level to move to another
    • A leaderboard display is one of the best ways to reinforce game elements at the workforce. In a typical referral program, employees have very little insight of what their co-workers are doing in the referral program. The introduction of a leaderboard which is like a visual representation of each employee’s contribution in terms of number of candidates referred and hired and candidates currently in the interview stage. Putting each employee’s contribution up for everyone to see lets employees see how well they are doing vis-a-vis their co-workers and reinforces non-participants to take action.
    • Feedback is a critical part of the gamification and referral process and cannot be over emphasized. It is important to let employees know the status of their referrals as well as to keep updating them on what actions they can take to increase their referral points and move to the next level
    • Introduce surprise elements in the referral game to keep the fun and excitement going. It can be a bumper draw for the 1st 20 employees to refer for that month or in the way of a team competition.
    • Finally making points redeemable for cash or prizes of equal value not only makes participating in the referral program fun and enjoyable but also rewarding.

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