Alumni programs across all industry sectors

December 11, 2015

Recently several major trends including – the “war for talent,” changing attitudes towards work, employee employer relationships, and the adoption of cloud-based technologies – have encouraged companies across all industry sectors, to proceed with major initiatives to gather their intangible assets --- alumni.

Businesses in all industries are being urged to establish alumni networks and programs—not only professional services and management consulting firms who have benefitted from this strategy for a long time. These firms are well aware of the benefits that alumni programs have achieved for them. Former employees of these firms are viewed as untapped resources that have the potential to be leveraged.

Low barrier and cost of entry

One major drawback of running an alumni network used to be its cost.  Since it has become much easier to run and maintain an alumni network via ubiquitous technology-based solutions and minimal administrative support, the trend is continuing to spread.

The impact of globalization

Globalization has lowered barriers for sourcing talent. Keen competition for pools of scarce talent are being sourced and managed differently.  As an example, outsourcing of talent had become commonplace.  Global competition for talent has caused companies to reconsider how they source and manage their workforce as a pool of talent. 

The traditional work environment has been transformed

Three factors including globalization, technology and the war for talent have created the perfect storm for the use of alternative strategies such as alumni networks, to fill talent gaps that would otherwise go unfilled.

As employees have become more mobile and turnover more frequent, the cost of recruitment and the access to qualified talent will continue to be a serious drag on the business and its ability to execute its strategies and plans. The aging workforce and the need for diversity will drive the need for even more alternative sources of talent.

The strain on the business will become unsustainable unless the company formulates alternative strategies for talent sourcing, such as implementing an alumni program. 


Alumni networks for competitive advantage

The competition for talent is now a level playing field.  Companies who are small and nimble are able to compete with enterprises for access to scarce talent resources. Alumni programs can help to address the problem of the scarcity of talent and the loss of institutional knowledge by opening up channels to former employees.

There are several important business cases being used to justify and fund alumni networks.  

Major benefits of having Alumni programs

Talent management benefits

  • Rehires and referrals from alumnus will lower recruiting costs
  • Rehires will cut the inherent cost of training and orienting new employees
  • Creating a network of talent that understands your cultures and job roles to be used as consultants or to eventually be hired back
  • Staying connected to former employees who have knowledge that might be needed in the future
  • The lines between employee and independent contractor are blurring; companies who stay in touch with alumni will be able to capitalize on this phenomenon as it continues to grow

New business opportunities

  • New business can be pursued from networking with former employees who work at companies that are likely target customers
  • Alumni who are kept abreast of your company and its offerings can readily be turned into new business opportunities and referrals

Brand awareness

  • Alumni who have had a great experience working in the firm can be leveraged as brand evangelists
  • Broadcasting the presence of an alumni program, as a feature or benefit of working with the firm, will demonstrate how you support the entire employee lifecycle as part of your approach to talent management

Program managers and executives who are evaluating alumni programs and software should start with Insala’s AlumniPro Executive Overview.

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