Corporate Alumni Programs: Best Practices for Success
It’s safe for us to assume that you aren’t just looking to implement a corporate alumni program for your organization and hope that it does well. We know that simply having a program isn’t enough because what you really want is for it to be successful.
Implementing a corporate alumni program can be the easy part, but having people join and be engaged is where you put in the real work. Don’t fret, we have 7 best practices to help you make your organization’s program more successful.
7 Best practices for a successful alumni program
- Focus on the Buy-In
For your program to be successful, you must have alumni in your network. This means that your current and former employees need to understand the benefits they can gain from joining your alumni network and how they become a part of it. These are important facts that are going to affect the buy-in that your program receives.
It’s important to focus on the long term and start the process of building awareness for you alumni network while individuals are still a part of your organization. By educating current employees on the value of the alumni program, it will give you a better chance of bringing them into your network if they choose to leave. Departing employees can become boomerang employees in the future.
- Do Your Research
Don’t make assumptions about the wants and needs of your alumni network. Do your research and collect the necessary data to make informed decisions about what you should offer to your alumni. You could conduct a survey to see what your alumni network may need. Typical alumni needs include career development tools, networking events, company news, and job boards.
It’s necessary for you to know the drivers and triggers that will affect the number of people that not only join your network, but also engage with it. Focus on your organization and don't worry too much about what your competitors are doing. Your network should be about your own alumni management and what is important to them.
- Give Them a Reason to Engage
Without engaged alumni, your network will not benefit your organization nor members. So, give your alumni a reason to engage. Provide them with the necessary tools to interact with your organization and their peers.
Providing networking opportunities with events are a great way for individuals to forge relationships with your corporate alumni network. Offer online events as well so your long-distance employees can stay connected with your program offerings if they can't attend live events. Having an online option is essentially necessary during the pandemic as well.
- Create Good Content
Further boost engagement by creating an engagement structure so that your network administrators are prepared to provide content and benefits that will keep your alumni coming back to the portal and talking about your organization.
It’s important to provide the best quality content to your alumni so it is perceived that your alumni program is of value and interesting. Make available topics or company news that anyone could find to be an intriguing read. What is something you find interesting?
- Measure Your Results
Don’t assume that because you reached a certain membership goal that your program is successful. Remember, quality over quantity.
To truly see the success of your program, you must measure the results of your efforts. Of course, you want alumni to join your network, but you also must see the impact that it is making on your organization. What value does the network deliver to your organization?
- Get leadership involved.
Be sure that your leaders are involved with your alumni program. Have them attend events, provide content, and promote the program to current and past employees. This will increase your alumni network’s credibility and have more alumni engaging with the information being shared.
- Implement alumni software.
While there are some people that believe social media channels are a great way to run your alumni program, we disagree. In our experience, successful alumni programs are run using alumni software to provide a secure, branded network. This is a safe place for you to communicate with your alumni by sharing key content and important events. You will not only be able to run your program and increase your alumni engagement, but you can also manage your organization's objectives.
Manage your Corporate Alumni Network with Software
As your network grows, your ability to track and analyze data becomes difficult. Content calendars become overwhelming with the variety of content that is required to engage your various alumni populations. Communication plans start to become cast aside to focus on only the biggest upcoming events. Overall, the program begins to collapse from the pressure of trying to constantly engage everyone in your network.
This is the time that software becomes crucial for alumni network growth. Software enables you to:
- Streamline Administrative Tasks with tools to validate incoming alumni and ensure accurate data.
- Administer Content Calendar through the content library.
- Execute Communication Plans using the automated message manager.
- Manage Upcoming Alumni Events with the event planner to further engage your alumni.
If you are interested in building an alumni network for your organization, please book a demo with one of our experts today.