Finding Return on Relationship in Corporate Alumni Networks

May 17, 2019

I’m sure you know what return on investment is and that it’s very important in business, but did you know that return on relationship, or ROR, is also important? We did a poll during our webinar Discovering the ROI of Corporate Alumni Networks and found out that 67% of the participants had never heard of ROR. We weren’t entirely surprised, but it was a little overwhelming because the other 33% were only “somewhat familiar,” so no one was completely sure what it is.

Now, are you wondering why we’re talking about return on relationship? ROR is a hot topic for organizations with corporate alumni networks, because they need to know and measure the worth of their networks. Now let’s discuss what ROR is and why you need to measure it.

What is ROR?

Return on relationship is “the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to a nurturing relationship,” according to Ted Rubin, author of Return on Relationship and creator of the #RonR movement. Rubin makes the case that ROR is the value “that comes from connections, loyalty, recommendations, and sharing”, whether that value is perceived or real. For organizations focused on building lifelong relationships with employees, this value is something to look for.

In terms of alumni networks, ROR is the value you receive in exchange for the creation and maintenance of a good relationship with your alumni. A good relationship comes from creating a culture that caters to alumni and nurturing the psychological presence between the individual and your organization.

When speaking with Insala’s CEO, Phillip Roark, he had a lot of great points to make about ROR. He states that because you are investing in people when you begin a corporate alumni program, you are creating relationships. You cannot quantify relationships, so ROR is how you will measure the ROI of your alumni network.

ROR and Alumni Networks

Your alumni network is made up of individuals that already have an established relationship with you. Before they get to your alumni network, you need to ensure you spend time and effort to create a good and trusting culture. This will result in a positive established relationship for you to build your alumni off.

A positive relationship results in a positive return. Alumni that are happy to be connected to your organization are more likely to spread positive information and news about your brand in their roles as brand advocates. An alumni relationship built on trust will also bring you returns in the form of clients. 58% of consumers won’t trust a brand until they are shown proof of reliability, so the validity spoken by a former employee is essential in recruiting clients.

Building ROR

Are you wondering how to build ROR once individuals join your alumni network? The answer is simple: corporate alumni events. The investment you put into events with money, time, and resources will heavily benefit your alumni and in return, your organization.

So, what’s the expected ROR from the events?

  • New business: your alumni can provide new business or referrals to you during the event.
  • Rehires: if the alumni attending are looking to switch careers, they are great candidates to come back and fill any openings within your organization.
  • Brand advocates: like we discussed before, your alumni act as great advocates for your organization. People will take what they have to say more seriously because they are from your organization.
  • Knowledge sharing: if you invite your current employees to these events, your alumni can share their outside knowledge and experiences with them. This information is not quantifiable, but it can result in great benefits like increased productivity and innovation.

Measuring ROR

While events are great to create high ROR, it is not enough to just hold them. You must find ways to measure the ROR, because the measurement will show the actual benefits of your network.

Measuring ROR relies on planning – you need to set goals for the events you hold before they occur, and your success will be based on the obtainment of these goals. Goals can be created from the return that you are expecting from the event that we discussed.

For example, if you are holding a corporate alumni event next month, your goal could be to have 50% of attendees Tweet about the event, raising awareness for your organization on social media. Another goal could be to get 30% of attendees to refer new clients for your organization to pursue. Your goals should be based on how strong you feel your relationships are with the people attending the event.

Insala provides trustworthy software solutions for the management of alumni networks. If you are interested in creating a corporate alumni network for your organization, visit our website or request a demo

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