Corporate Alumni Programs: Best Practices for SuccessRead more
A Guide to Building and Maintaining a Corporate Alumni Network
What is an alumni network?
Did you know that globally successful companies like Uber and Yelp were created from an informal version of Corporate Alumni Networks? Alumni networks keep organizations and former employees connected, turning what used to be goodbye into lifelong relationships.
Implementing a corporate alumni network for your organization allows you to stay in touch with people long after they have moved on to their new position. Actively maintaining a relationship with former employees provides many benefits to the organization as well as the alumni.
Alumni networks are a necessity for some industries, especially those with an “up and out” culture.
- Professional Services This industry has paved the path for developing powerful alumni networks and has been able to grow over time to keep up with demand by maintaining relationships with alumni.
- Financial Services Due to the specialized skills necessary to succeed in financial services, alumni are worth keeping in touch with throughout their career.
- Legal Alumni programs in the legal sector have aided firms in new business referrals, retention, and cut costs associated with high turnover.
We’ve developed a guide to help you create a thriving corporate alumni network that will help your organization gain fans for life. Let’s get started with why organizations maintain connection with former employees.
Why have a corporate alumni network?
“Lifelong employment might be over, but a lifetime relationship remains the ideal.” Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn
Having an alumni network means that your organization hires with a lifelong relationship in mind. By promoting your program from day one, employees know they will always be valued member of the organization, not only for the time they’re employed. A thriving alumni network is a benefit.
Developing an alumni network is an important milestone for organizations. It shows they’ve made an important shift from saying goodbye at offboarding to saying hello to new opportunities that come from keeping alumni engaged as they move forward in their career.
The employee lifecycle is just that, a cycle. Once becoming alumni, members remain engaged and connected to your organization. They gain networking opportunities, access to company updates, and more while giving back though events and mentoring or coaching opportunities. Rehiring from an alumni network is one of the top benefits for organizations and alumni alike.
Achieving ROI from Alumni Networks
What are you are trying to achieve? Defining your business objectives to be able to measure success is the most crucial when understanding the ROI you can achieve.
Some business objectives include:
- Cutting hiring costs through rehiring
- Strengthen profitability
- Increase quality of hires
- Improve brand awareness
- Expand product R&D
- Improve organizational productivity
When it comes to alumni, ROI is just as important as something called ROR, or return on relationship. Throughout the employee experience, even in the recruiting stage, you are already investing in people. Throughout the employee lifecycle, the organization builds loyalty and trust with its alumni, which is an asset.
Some examples of ROR include:
- New business/referrals Alumni can become a customer for you and refer leads
- Rehire/Talent Referrals Rehire alumni and/or accepts talent referrals from alumni
- Brand advocates 3rd party opinions of companies carry more weight
- Knowledge Sharing Alumni networking events allow your current employees to learn from alumni about their current positions and even external information about the companies they currently work for
ROR creates mutual benefits for all parties and is a part of what you are measuring for ROI.
How to start a corporate alumni program
Building a corporate alumni network from the ground up can be challenging, but the benefits make this investment worth the effort. Here are the steps you should follow when you plan and implement your organization’s alumni network.
- Set objectives for your alumni network
This will help you define why you’re implementing an alumni network and what you hope to accomplish. It’s also important at this time to determine what factors will be measured to determine the success of your network.
- Create and implement structure for your alumni network
Determine how you will manage the alumni network and what tools you need to do so effectively. Decide what resources you want to provide your network with (job board, career tools, networking events, organizational news), how you will communicate to your participants, and how they will communicate with you and one another. Organizations with 400 or more alumni see success implementing alumni software.
- Develop and execute your marketing strategy
Marketing your alumni is a critical step in recruiting participants, both past and current employees. Educate future alumni on the value the network can bring to them
Work with your HR department to determine what information is retained about former employees and how best to communicate to them.
Plan to market your alumni network to current employees and to new hires during the onboarding process. You will find that employees see the program as a benefit and shows that your organization values staying connected even after they have moved on. Inviting new employees to join the network leaves the door open for future partnerships.
Additionally, decide how to invite employees to your alumni network during their exit interview. Include registering your new alumni into your network in their interview check list. It gives them exclusive access before they even step out of the door.
- Engage your alumni
Engaged alumni are key to a successful alumni program. Laying a strong foundation for your program is not enough. Create a plan communication plan that will benefit alumni and keep them engaged with what is happening at your organization.
Some strategies to consider when planning how you will engage your corporate alumni.
- Promote Networking through events
- Provide Relevant Content
- Share Alumni Success
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Tools to get the most out of your alumni network
Effectively engage your alumni with software
Through our experience, we've found that the key to a truly successful alumni program is increasing alumni engagement within your network.
While keeping alumni engaged is the key to the success of an alumni program, it’s also one of the biggest challenges for alumni professionals. 90% of organizations admit that they do a “poor job” of attracting and engaging their alumni.
Many organizations find that alumni software, equipped with the right tools, makes the cumbersome task of maintaining engagement with alumni manageable.
These features of our alumni solution promote alumni engagement by enabling and encouraging members to connect with the organization and the alumni network.
- Networking Profile
- Searchable Networking Directory
- Recommended Connections
- Chat and Video Conferencing
- Job Board
- Company and Alumni News
- Event Registration
- Career Advancement Tools
- Alumni Resources
Predictive Analytics for Recruiting Boomerang Employees
Insala People Analytics™ uses AI and predictive analytics to drive insights and better program results. Predictive analytics help you target boomerang employees by gaining insights that help you match alumni to open positions at your organization. This makes recruiting more efficient saving time and resources.
Are you ready to harness the full power of your alumni network? Learn about how Insala’s alumni solution can help your organization maximize the success of your alumni network.
Last updated: July 7, 2021
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