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Importance Of Gamification To Run A Successful Employee Referral Program

By Author: savio vadakkan
Total Articles: 58

Incentivizing employees for referring candidates is integral to an employee referral program. Although cash incentives for employee referrals still remain the most popular means of incentivizing employees, more and more studies on the subject of employee engagement show that employees like to be recognized or valued even for small efforts. Human nature thrives on competition and comparing own progress against others acts as a powerful push to surpass one’s own expectations in the hope of beating competitors and winning.

Gamification tools and techniques are based on this intrinsic desire of people to compete and achieve which acts as a powerful expression of self-esteem and establishes status among peers and colleagues. As participation levels in employee referral programs dip significantly over a period of time, introduction of gamification becomes important to drive engagement as well push more employees to participate in the employee referral program.

The idea behind the gamification of an employee referral program is to encourage participation and engagement from employees by making tasks sought by recruiters appear more like games where employees need to compete with each other over increasingly challenging tasks to be the first to reach the target. The gamification technique is based on the premise of recognizing and rewarding participants in a tiered manner for accomplishing a desired task. Employee referral rewards can include achievement badges, points, virtual currency or a leaderboard. Another central premise of gamification is to drive competition among participants leading to higher participation and engagement. Competitiveness is driven through public display of rewards and points to participants for accomplishing one level of tasks or through publicly charting progress of participants by installing leaderboards. Latest employee referral program tools like ZALP have their ‘Leaderboard’ which brings in a fresh element of gamification in the referral program thus motivating employees to participate like never before.

However it is important to keep certain points in mind while implementing gamification as part of the employee referral program. If not run properly, it has the potential of creating an adverse impact of driving away people from the referral program.

The foremost thing to keep in mind while implementing a gamification mechanism is to ensure that the fun element is strongly maintained. The focus should be on keeping it simple and enjoyable so that people can catch on easily and quickly. Too many rules and formats bring down the fun element and add unnecessary complications.

Secondly, look at introducing different levels of challenges to keep the competition and fun alive throughout the referral process. Recognizing employees with small rewards for completing each level keeps motivation high. Ensure that the reward is given publicly so that employees who have not yet qualified for the reward are pushed towards completing the desired task for the sake of receiving the reward.

Thirdly, ensure that the rewards schedule clearly communicates the desired actions which are likely to fetch rewards for the participants.

Lastly, ensuring constant feedback and support during the entire process is central to ensuring the success of gamification and in turn the employee referral program.


If run properly, gamification is sure to get your employees coming back to participate more and more in the referral process for the sheer fun if competing against their colleagues. The desire to win against their colleagues acts as a powerful motivator to align employee actions to the organizational goal of hiring quality talent cost effectively and efficiently.

Author Bio:

Savio Vadakkan is the Marketing Professional at ZALP, employee referral software. Latest employee referral program tools like ZALP lately launched their Employee referral rewards, ‘The Leaderboard’ which brings in a fresh element of gamification in the referral program thus motivating employees to participate like never before.

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