How Corporate Alumni Goals Vary by IndustrySeptember 03, 2015
Today's corporate alumni programs are more than just directories of names that receive an email newsletter every so often. The best alumni programs consist of well-cultivated networks of former employees and are tied to specific, measurable goals. The benefits of implementing an Alumni program can be significant if the goals are aligned with your organization’s talent strategy.
What exactly are those goals? They will vary from organization to organization, but can be separated into three distinct categories:
- Talent sourcing – finding suitable candidates for job openings from within your alumni network.
- Business development – leveraging alumni programs as a way to gain new customers.
- Brand advocacy – using alumni networks to improve the perception of an organization among customers, suppliers, and employees both present and future.
Technology firms and engineering companies focus on talent acquisition
Employees at these companies have very specific skills that take years of training and experience to master. When companies have openings for these types of roles, it can be difficult to try to find a suitable candidate from mainstream applicants. Companies in every field, especially technology, can make recruiting easier by tapping into their alumni community. This network provides a pool of candidates that are pre-qualified and already familiar with the culture of the organization.
Take a quick look at the alumni programs at companies like McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton. They are creatively engaging their alumni audience with content and their messaging is focused on talent acquisition.
Let your alumni know about job openings first, and provide them with an expedited track to employment. One client of ours was able to save more than $2 million in recruiting costs over 6 years, simply by promoting job openings to their alumni network before engaging a recruitment agency.
B2B professional services and financial services focus on business development
B2B professional services and financial services companies typically have a more complex solution with a higher cost of sale and longer sales cycle. In this environment, an individual customer often has a significant impact on business revenue. Thus, gaining even a single client from an alumni network can make the program worth the investment.
If you want to receive valuable referrals or even acquire customers directly from your alumni network, you need to go beyond automated newsletter messages and periodic event invites. Peta McLucas, a marketing manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, suggests assigning alumni champions who can ensure your program is providing value for each alumni segment. These champions also give your alumni communications a personal touch, which is critical for strengthening alumni relationships.
Consumer brands tend to focus on brand advocacy
Large B2C organizations like telecommunications providers, airlines and clothing companies need to create a positive brand perception on a large scale. These companies often require thousands of new customers to see growth.
These organizations often have thousands of alumni with a variety of skills, who move readily from industry to industry and among job functions. Engaging your alumni with relevant content, events and offers shows that you are actually interested in their career. Simply including them on a list of names to receive a weekly email blast is not enough. This extra effort creates a positive perception of your company among alumni that eventually spreads to those outside the program.
Remember that these three goals aren't mutually exclusive. Companies often aim to support all of them with their alumni networks. Knowing the types of goals and understanding how to achieve them, however, is critical for showing the value of your alumni program to stakeholders.
For more information about corporate alumni goals and how Insala can help your program achieve them, contact us for a personalized demo of our alumni software.