The Rise of Corporate Alumni Programs in OrganizationsAugust 20, 2019
What do LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp and Tesla have in common? These top ranking businesses are examples of innovation and massive financial success formed from an alumni network.
All of them were founded by the alumni of a single company: PayPal. The “PayPal Mafia”, as they have been called, are the golden children of Silicon Valley. They are responsible for funding some of the most lucrative technology corporations to hit the market in recent years.
This example illustrates how effective an alumni network can be when it comes to business development. And that’s one without a defined structure.
What is an Alumni Network?
Imagine the scene on an employee’s last day at an organization. There are fond words exchanged, promises made to stay in touch, and then the party breaks up and everyone goes home.
Companies are now realizing that there’s no need for such a clean breakup. They are treating ex-employees as “alumni”. This is done with the hope that these alumni will think about their previous employer with fondness.
Corporate Alumni Networks are professional networks that keep a company in contact with their former employees. These sources of dormant talent and intellectual property may eventually come back to their parent organization. They might work within the network for career and business development.
Keeping tabs on alumni allow an organization to catalog and engage in resources that were once gone. Now, corporate alumni are great resources that can foster employee engagement within your organization. This network also means the employee experience will no longer have an endpoint.
What are the Benefits of a Corporate Alumni Network?
Alumni relationship are relationships worth keeping. Companies can use alumni to get referrals, client business, and external knowledge sharing. Former workers can also get advice and job leads out of the bargain. They may even return to work at the company as boomerang employees, armed with more experience and a greater number of connections.
Further than individual benefits, a great alumni network can create a great company culture. This will benefit all of your current employees, your future employees, and all stakeholders. Here are some additional benefits of corporate alumni networks…
Talent Recruitment - Attracting and retaining top talent is an increasingly difficult endeavor for human capital and talent management leadership. Research shows alumni are the second-best source for strategic talent acquisition after your own employees. This is true whether you're interested in rehires, referrals, or contracting.
Avoid lost intelligence - Creating a Corporate Alumni Network is a great way to stay connected to the intellectual capital of retiring, exiting, and former employees. As they move on, alumni can still provide great insight, information, and connections to support your corporate initiatives. It also rewards good employees with aide in career development.
Business development - Employees who move on also frequently move up. Staying connected helps you maintain and discover connections to key-decision makers and influencers as customers and key prospects. These important relationships put your sales and business development teams on the inside track to increased sales and profitable partnerships.
Brand Advocacy - Connected, loyal alumni can be your means to grow your talent brand. They also provide a highly effective, but often overlooked marketing channel through their lives after they leave your organization. Remember: an alumni network is full of the organization’s most loyal supporters.
Starting a Corporate Alumni Network
The role of corporate alumni for an organization is evolving into taking a crucial part for potential business networking. The the gilded council of PayPal employee alumni have single-handedly funded some of the most successful private technology companies. Now imagine what could happen for your organization.
There are a number of options for establishing a corporate alumni network. You can designate a member of your staff to serve as a program administrator. This admin can handle such tasks as…
- Collecting contact information for previous employees
- Spearheading program design
- Looking at details like meeting schedules.
Or, you can let former employees take the lead in developing an alumni network. Offer support by allowing the use of your company name and logo, creating special alumni newsletters, or hosting events on-site. This can be facilitated by alumni software for easy management.
Alumni groups are worthwhile for employees and employers alike. Maintaining contact on a regular basis enables both parties to form advantageous business connections and continue building professional relationships over time. Rather than saying goodbye to valued team members when they leave your company, you will keep the door open to mutually beneficial opportunities.