3 Sources of ROI and Keys to Successful Alumni Programs

August 27, 2015

Many financial services companies today are facing a big challenge with their alumni programs: convincing management that it is a worthwhile investment.

What management needs is a clear cost/benefit analysis, and a highly engaged network of corporate alumni represents three major sources of revenue and cost savings for financial services organizations.

The 3 Sources of ROI from Corporate Alumni Programs

  • Gaining a past employee's new employer as a client. This is one of the most direct ways that corporate alumni programs contribute to revenue.
  • Re-hiring alumni. "Boomerang" employees that return to a former employer are valuable because they cut down on recruiting and training costs. In fact, I was speaking to one of our clients in this space last week and he reported saving $2 million in recruiting fees over 6 years by leveraging their alumni network to fill vacant positions!
  • Gaining a past employee as a client. Financial services companies that manage investments for their former employees fall into this category.

With that said, the value of your alumni network for business development or recruiting relies on your ability to maintain alumni relationships and keep them engaged with your brand, your content and the alumni portal itself.

How to Engage Your Alumni for Improved ROI

A financial services company looking to maximize revenue from its corporate alumni program should take the following steps:

  • Establish a formal channel for communication. This is the initial step to engaging your former employees: you have to create a platform for engagement. Special web portals, social media groups, and e-mail newsletters targeted specifically at alumni are all ideal for this step. With Insala's corporate alumni software, you can segment your alumni into different groups based on their interests, create a branded web portal for them, or send out mass communications and targeted content. We have found that segmenting your alumni audience, and messaging them with relevant content can greatly increase alumni engagement with the portal (and your brand in general).
  • Give and receive content that promotes thought leadership. Sharing cutting-edge information or analyses about trends in your field is a great way to show alumni that your company is a leader in its industry. Besides financial compensation and prestige, many employees are attracted to employers by their status in the field: consider the popularity of jobs at companies like Google and Apple. Conversely, you should also pay attention when information like this is shared by your alumni network. The Harvard Business Review refers to this alumni-provided content as "intellectual capital," and explains that it can be beneficial for monitoring competitors and staying abreast of new ideas.

NOTE: Getting your content featured on influential industry publications is a sure way to boost your contentís credibility with alumni. We have found the top 5 influential publications in the financial services space include:

Talk to your marketing department about working with these sources to co-develop and promote thought leadership content to your alumni network.

  • Show a genuine interest in their advancement. Most employees leave a company because they have the potential to advance their careers elsewhere: they "leave up." By providing alumni with opportunities to improve their career skills or congratulating them on accomplishments they make after leaving your company, you help strengthen your alumni relationships and keep them engaged with your organization. Following along with and responding to the accomplishments of your alumni network can be made easier by integrating your alumni management software with Linkedin. Note that Linkedin recently limited these kinds of integrations to its formal partner network Ė Insala being an early member.
  • Provide a personal touch. Everyone understands that automation exists in our age of digital communication, but don't forget that you are communicating with an actual human on the other side of the screen. A quick personally crafted message or phone call doesn't take a lot of time, but can do volumes for your relationships with former employees and their engagement levels. You canít give the personal touch to everyone, so identifying high potential alumni and segmenting them is critical to focusing your time on the right individuals.

The financial services sector is especially well-suited for corporate alumni programs that provide a healthy ROI. We see a lot of organizations taking up alumni programs, recognizing that everyone in the space is doing it to some degree, but we have also seen huge opportunity to improve these programs across the board and establish leadership in leveraging alumni for business development and recruiting purposes.

To schedule a consultation or tailored demo and find out how Insala's alumni software can help improve your alumni alumni engagement and ROI, click the link below.

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