Alumni reflecting and employees showing the data on how to better maintain relationships with alumni to better the organization

How to Maintain a Relationship with Your Temporary Corporate Alumni

By March 15, the novel coronavirus pandemic had already triggered 634 job cuts in the U.S., according to MarketWatch. That number is only expected to rise as more officials issue orders to stay at home. Forcing business operations to slow down and their workforce.

Laying off employees is generally a step companies consider only as a last resort. However, the COVID-19 crisis has forced hundreds of companies to do so with extremely limited notice.

In many cases, once the economy begins to recover and business operations pick up, companies will need employees who were laid off during the crisis. Business leaders looking to position their company for a strong ramp up after the crisis should ensure they have a robust alumni engagement program. This will give them an option to convert people from the corporate alumni network into boomerang employees (rehires) as possible.

In an economic crisis, layoffs tend to be temporary

For many businesses, just a few weeks ago business was thriving. Many were even struggling with talent shortages.

But mere weeks later, businesses who have stopped earning revenue altogether. They are being forced to make tough decisions to stay afloat and layoffs are a clear way to manage costs.

As your business leaders communicate cutbacks, they should keep in mind that these layoffs are likely temporary.

  • Once the pandemic has subsided in many industries, like travel and tourism, retail, and hospitality, customers are likely to resume their previous habits. For example, hotel chain will furlough tens of thousands of employees in the few weeks as travel has plummeted, according to the Wall Street Journal. But when travel resumes, all those employees will be needed again.

  • Industries or businesses facing disruption after the coronavirus, and in the face of an economic downturn, will need talent to help innovate and adapt. Even if a company can’t offer the same job, bringing back employees who already understand the business can cut down on the learning curve.

Implement a Corporate Alumni Network to Maintain Relationships

One of the most effective ways to maintain relationships with your corporate alumni, even in extreme circumstances, is implementing a corporate alumni network.

A strong alumni network can bring your business:

  • Brand ambassadors
  • Potential clients
  • Business partners
  • Stellar re-hires

While originally, the Society for Human Resource Management notes, professional services pioneered alumni networks, any business can create and cultivate a network for their former employees.

What should an alumni network look like? Each business, and industry may look a little different, but here are some ways to connect with alumni:

  • Dedicated website
  • Virtual training access
  • Newsletters
  • Maintained discounts
  • Alumni events
  • Personalized invitation to join the network
  • Features in company publications
  • Access to career opportunities

4 Benefits of rehiring from your alumni network

Your business will benefit from hiring from your corporate alumni network.

1. Better Talent Acquisition. 

Alumni are likely good candidates for new positions, because they had the skills to be hired originally. They have also further honed those skills with your business before moving on to something else.

When your organization treats alumni well, it can attract additional top talent looking for progressive organizations.

2. Lower Recruiting Costs.

When recruiters have a latent talent pool to go to first, it cuts down on the amount of time they spent filtering through good candidates. Considering the average job opening receives about 250 resumes and it takes 42 days on average to fill a position, skipping straight to a pre-screened pool of good candidates can representative a significant difference in time and resources.

3. Reduced Onboarding Commitment. 

Rehiring past employees can spare your managers, HR, and training team time and resources as employees come in with more knowledge on Day 1. If they’ve been separated for only a short period of time, it’s likely they don’t need much refresher training.

This is especially useful in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as many business should expect to face higher costs as supply chain disruptions force business to import from more expensive countries, adding to production costs.

4. Reduced Turnover. Alumni are more likely to stay with your organization than a new, outside hire. A recent survey from recruiting firm Jobvite found that a staggering 33 percent of surveyed employees quit their jobs within the first 90 days of employment. Almost half (43%) said they left because their role day-to-day wasn’t what they expected – which isn’t likely to be an issue for alumni. The Jobvite survey found the other big driver for resignations was company culture (32% left on account of culture complaints), another issue unlikely to crop up with alumni.


At Insala, we have more than 30 years of experience developing solutions that support the employee experience, including alumni networks. Please contact us for a demo or to learn more about how we can help establish a network that supports your talent leads long after today’s crisis resolves.

Through innovative web-based SaaS technology, Insala partners with organizations to accelerate performance and drive evidence-based decisions for organizations and their people.

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