Corporate Alumni Management Best PracticesSeptember 21, 2015
Many companies that understand the benefits of alumni programs are past the planning and implementation phase: they are focusing on developing their program to engage with their alumni.
To achieve high levels of engagement with corporate alumni, it is necessary to integrate the alumni management solution with other systems that capture employee data. When alumni programs have the right features, integrations and data, getting the right messages to the right alumni at the right time becomes possible.
Alumni managers can use the feature checklist below as a guide to evaluate prospective solutions in the marketplace. The list includes reasons your program may or may not need each specific feature.
Corporate Alumni Program Best Practices
Nearly every alumni program should have a custom skin to capture the look and feel of the corporate brand.
Integration with human resources information systems (HRIS)
Corporate alumni programs that are seamlessly integrated into HRIS platforms will make it much easier to transition departing employees into the alumni program and to re-hire alumni for open positions. The additional data set appended to your alumni records will allow for more advanced alumni targeting and thus better engagement with your content.
Single Sign On (SSO) integration
This is valuable if your alumni have other systems that they use to engage with your organization or in their every-day lives. This is an added convenience for alumni who would otherwise lose their password and not sign in to your portal. Think “sign-in using LinkedIn” for example which allows users to sign in to the alumni portal using their LinkedIn credentials.
Member registration invitations
Alumni from the same company often keep in touch after their tenure at the organization ends. By allowing members to send registration referrals, you open up a new channel for program growth.
People search and messaging
Do you want program participants to be able to interact with fellow alumni? This can help add value for alumni and make them more inclined to engage with the platform. Peer to peer communication and networking is a surprisingly powerful driver of engagement for alumni.
Groups and forums
This feature is important if you want your alumni to interact with one another.
Dividing up your program participants or segmenting them into groups is critical for increasing engagement. As soon as you have enough members to support segmentation, this step will yield personalization; sending customized messages will engage alumni even more so.
Effective content management system (CMS)
It's important that your alumni program offers a versatile yet simple system to manage alumni content. You should be able to set guidelines that determine which groups of alumni see which pieces of content. Your CMS should have an approval workflow in place so that your web master can ensure that your alumni content is relevant and targeted.
Newsletter and broadcast emails
Participants in your alumni program will want to know what is going on at the company and should receive these updates regularly. This correspondence should be configurable based on alumni segments.
Integrating your alumni program into your CRM database is important if you plan to leverage the alumni program for business development. The CRM is often the purview of Sales; coordination with Sales and/or Marketing is important. Increasingly Alumni and other HR functions are coordinating their efforts to ensure that messaging and outreach to alumni and employees is systematic and consistent. .
Career development tools and advice
This is a valuable addition for companies looking to assist alumni with a job hunt.. Keep in mind that embracing corporate mobility is becoming a big cultural attraction for Gen X and Y. Showing employees that you are prepared to help them transition will help make your organization irresistible to top talent
Internal and external job listings
This is a common benefit of alumni programs: priority access to job opportunities. It is a good feature for program managers who are mainly focused on rehiring alumni back to the company: one of the best sources of ROI for alumni programs.
Calendar of events
These listings help alumni stay aware of what is going on in the community. A good calendar should also provide a built-in registration feature.
An effective alumni program should allow administrators to keep an eye on key performance metrics (KPIs) and generate reports based on this data. Early-stage alumni programs may not need a reporting feature right away, but at some point you'll want to know how well you are doing with alumni engagement.
Remember that just because a feature is on this list doesn't mean it is a requirement. In fact, having too many features can overcomplicate things for users and make program management and engagement more challenging.
Select features carefully based on your individual program and its specific needs; when in doubt, lean towards making your program as simple as possible for users and coordinators.
Insala's can help you identify which features and functions are critical to your program based on your business goals. You can schedule a complimentary consultation and demo using the link below.
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