Gen-Y is the newest addition to your workforce; numbering about 80 million, they represent the future leaders of your organization. Therefore, their workplace satisfaction and continued participation in all areas is important – including your employee referral program.
In order to get through to Gen-Y, and motivate higher involvement rates in your referral program, you have to speak their language.
Their employee expectations are distinct from those of previous generations, and they interact with their employers and peers on a vastly different level. They embrace teamwork, transparency, and honest feedback. To that extent, consider incorporating gamification into your program, which will enable you to use these practices to get employees excited and motivate participation.
Gamification entails the use of game mechanics to encourage efficient productivity. By implementing a gaming-and-rewards structure, such as badges or points awarded for a certain task achieved, employers can turn a mundane assignment into a challenge.
Each employee becomes a player, and each step toward the overall goal – whether to cinch a sales deal, complete a marketing project, or, in our case, refer excellent candidates – is a new level in the game. The dopamine chemical that is generated in the brain when people are rewarded reinforces positive behavior, and compels them to repeat their actions and remain in the winning cycle.
How Gamification Can Get Your Gen-Y Employees Active in Your Referral Program
1. Constant Feedback and Validation
Gen-Y grew up in a world in which there were no losers – they were told they could do, and be, whatever they wanted. They were also given transparent and frequent feedback. They received praise for their actions, and were told what they had to do to improve.
As Jason Dorsey, recognized expert on the burgeoning rank of Gen-Y workers explains, this upbringing has affected their expectations and interactions at the office. They want advice, and positive reinforcement. They need to know that someone is paying attention to their progress and appreciates their actions.
Gamifying referral programs makes it simple to provide regular feedback and validation to employees.
You are aware of each step they or their referrals take in the process (in fact, you determine most of them), such as when they make a referral, when the referrals are qualified, when the referrals are invited for an interview, and when a referral is offered a job.
Keep your employees updated – it's as straightforward as sending them a quick e-mail. Let them know that their referrals were received and qualified, how many more 'levels they need to play,' and that they can recommend their referrals to give you a fuller picture of the candidates and increase the hiring – and bonus – chances. Provide them with tips to refer more effectively, explaining how they can improve.
Essentially, give employees a reason to keep playing by showing them that you know that they are working hard to assist the team, and that you want to do everything you can to help them save the princess…er, refer a winning candidate.
2. Share Achievements
Gen-Y loves to communicate their successes with their peers. This, compounded by the instantaneous connectivity of social media, mobile access and Wi-Fi, means that they are surrounded by opportunities to share – and share immediately. This activity has become a reflex, a sort of second nature.
Show your Gen-Y employees that you appreciate their instinctive desire to share, and publish their referral accomplishments on a company-wide leaderboard.
They relish in describing the details of their personal achievements, so provide them with a platform to do the same with regards to their standing in the referral program. Create an atmosphere of openness and social expression.
This will make them more comfortable with the program; the awareness that everyone can see their achievements will encourage them to work harder and best the competition – and in the process, refer better candidates.
3. Work/life Balance
Gen-Y generally believes that work should not be completely separated from life. Rather, there should be a balance. They don't mind doing work from home in the evening or on weekends, but they want to be able to breathe a little at work.
As Ryan Estis, an industry leader in business performance explains, Gen-Y like to be in control of their entire days, whether it's checking their personal e-mail or social media during the late morning, or knowing that they can leave the office early to pick up their kids and work late that night.
As long as they get the job done, they shouldn't have to abandon their real lives and personalities by the receptionist's desk.
Therefore, your Gen-Y employees will be totally open to implementing a game in the referral program. They will welcome the effort to inject some fun into the daily grind. And they will participate not only for the money/prizes they can receive, but also because of a "higher purpose" of helping their friends and the team.
That their employer would enable them to mix the two – work and life (and everything that goes with that, including altruism and excitement) – will resonate, and draw them into the program.
By introducing gamification techniques into your referral program, you can prove to other department managers how Gen-Y employees can be motivated to increase their productivity in all divisions of the workplace if they were just given the right push. Gen-Y employees are hard workers, and want to make a difference. Their upbringing has simply given them a different perspective on workplace management. So treat them the way that they themselves relate to people.