The Benefits of a Lasting Association with your EmployeesDecember 17, 2015
Many organizations and their employees are not yet receiving the mutual benefits of the ongoing and lasting association inherent in corporate alumni programs. The career long benefits for alumnus and the payback for companies who have alumni programs are well documented.
Very few companies have an executive-sponsored alumni strategy that allows the company’s alumni program sponsors and managers to work to proactively maintain a lasting relationship with former employees. Although the investment in a well-designed alumni solution is minimal, if planned and implemented correctly, the benefits have proven to be significant. Former employees now know that maintaining a relationship with their former employer can be very beneficial to their career.
Heretofore, alumni-sponsored networks have been established and organized independently because there has been a lack of commitment from corporate sponsored programs. For example, LinkedIn hosts over 100,000 corporate alumni groups, most of which are not sponsored by the companies themselves. They are established and run independently from the corporate entities. However, the value to both companies and their alumni is much greater when a company actually establishes and manages its alumni network.
Alumni programs redefine loyalty
According to a recent article published by SHRM entitled Alumni Networks Redefine Loyalty, large corporations—especially consulting firms—have been maintaining ties with former workers for years to grow their client base and perhaps welcome previous workers back into the fold at higher levels. But with a changing global economy and shifting demographics, job-hopping has become more the rule than the exception, and companies of all sizes have gotten savvier, and more creative, about staying connected. Many offer ex-employees entry to formal alumni networks with tangible perks such as access to special events, referral incentives, and social networks or e-newsletters.
HR professionals are beginning to view their firm’s talent and workers as a part of a larger community. For a long time, school-based alumni networks have been used to raise money and to promote the brand by featuring successful alumni. The same is now true for corporate alumni networks and what they can do for both the brand and accessing scarce talent.
The following are just some of the major benefits of establishing an alumni network.
Alumni programs help hire outstanding talent
An ex-employee will be interested in returning to work for your company if you have been in touch with them and have maintained an ongoing relationship since their departure. According to a recently published book “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age: Introducing the new, realistic loyalty pact between employer and employee.” the Corporate Executive Board reported that rolling out their Alumni Network doubled the firm’s rehire rate within two years.
Alumni can refer candidates obviating the need for professional recruitment which is costly. A candidate who has been a known quantity can have significant value to the company. Some companies offer cash bonuses to corporate alumni for referring successful candidates who otherwise might not be found. With just a few hires from the alumni network an alumni program can easily pay for itself in a short period.
Alumni can provide industry and competitive Intelligence
As alumni experience additional jobs and roles following employment by your company, they are able to provide intelligence about competitors, business practices they have used in other jobs, and industry trends they understand through many outside experiences. The use of polls can provide vital strategic and accurate information. Alumni can be more objective about aspects of the firm that might otherwise be undiscovered. Testing products is an example of how you might use alumni to provide honest feedback to the firm.
Alumni can be incented to refer new customers
Alumni can naturally become customers and / or refer them. Incentives can be designed whether you are a B2B or a B2C firm and depending upon the ultimate value of the referral.
Alumni can be your best brand ambassadors
Social media is a way that alumni can influence your firm’s brand. Rather than spending money on raising awareness through advertising, social media buzz can be harnessed to drive awareness from what is perceived to be objective third-party sources. Shares and tweets from alumni networks that promote your company’s products or solutions can be perceived as a credible source of brand promotion.
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