Managing an alumni network

Does A Corporate Alumni Program Need A Community Manager #CMGR?

Want results from an engaged network of colleagues who are ready to help each other and their former employer? Time to appoint an alumni community manager.

For many organizations, appointing a dedicated Alumni Community Manager (CMGR) only comes after the program has shown some degree of success.

The conundrum, however, is that to see this success, there has to be someone in the driver’s seat; a community doesn’t simply come together on its own accord.

Certainly, your former employees who voluntarily left your organization for another job aren’t going to come running at your beck and call to help fulfill the goals their former business has in mind. Not without motivation to do so, and not in the absence of an established mutually beneficial relationship. 

In reality, it’s almost a chicken/egg scenario. Management wants to see the value that will come from appointing someone fulltime before handing over the budget to support the program. But, no budget means an uphill battle to rack in the results: results which are produced by leveraging relationships in the alumni program; results which stem from an excited and engaged community of colleagues who are ready to help each other and their former employer.   

This brings us to the burning question of the day – to have or not to have an alumni community leader? 

What Exactly Does An Alumni Community Manager Do?

The real dollar-and-cent value of corporate alumni programs has been proven time and again. We know it, as do the 98% of Fortune 500 companies who have some form of alumni program. Boomerang hires can save your business up to 50% in recruitment expenses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are many other cultural and business benefits besides. 

However, alumni communities do not form and engage themselves. Thinking that you can leave this community after inception to grow and self materialize may result in it gaining members as people leave the organization and find the site. However, it will never be an alumni community, and first impressions for anyone who signs up may be less than epic. A strategy is required to grow an underwhelming alumni mailing list into an active, value-adding platform.

This is where an alumni community manager comes in. They serve as the connection between your company and its ex-employees by managing the relationship between the institution and the individual. 

This includes devising a strategy that incorporates creativity and a reliable stream of data. It requires the management of your alumni platform, curation of content, compilation of newsletters, engagement on social media, as well as event organization.

Ultimately, the community manager is there to undertake not only the day to day admin but also to get the conversations going, to identify opportunities, as well as provide a face to your program.

4 Points To Support Your Business Case For A Community Manager

Business Case For An Alumni Community Manager

Building a business case in favor of appointing a CMGR to take to management? While you might not need a full time, dedicated person to steer the wheel initially, results and value-outcomes will directly correlate to the amount of effort put in. Here’s what you should know about these leaders:

1. They Open The Lines Of Communication Between Institution And Individual

An alumni community manager is the go-to person between the company and its former employees. 

Yes, the ex-employee would have worked under a specific department manager who is not the CMGR, and yes, they may never have dealt with the CMGR prior. But, what’s important to understand is that the team connection is lost once the employee exits the organization. The department head has current employees to oversee as well as section objectives to monitor – it’s not within their remit to stay in touch with those who leave. 

Enter the alumni community manager; they build relationships, ensure that all roleplayers are satisfied, and engage with every person within the network. 

2. They Manage The Platform For A Better User Experience 

People in the modern-day workforce have countless digital platforms that form a part of their everyday lives. Between internal communication channels at their current job, personal social media platforms, mobile interfaces, and apps, there is a lot of noise to deal with online. 

As such, it’s vital to offer a clean and individually relevant user experience on your program if you want your alumni to remain engaged. Having an alumni leader positioned behind the data to creatively devise a digital ecosystem that delights will vastly improve the program’s overall retention and engagement.

3. They Have A Unique Opportunity To Boost Organization Culture

Company culture is one of the most important precursors for business growth. In fact, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to corporate success. Alumni community managers can be instrumental in nurturing and developing internal culture by gleaning vital information as leavers exit. 

There are two opportunities here. 

Firstly, if they haven’t done so already, it’s time for the CMGR to sign the leaver up to your alumni program. This in itself signals a readiness and willingness to invest in a long term relationship. As far as some people are concerned, for example, former McKinsey recruits, gaining the status of alumni was the reason for getting hired in the first place – it opens the doors to lucrative business networks.  

Secondly, it provides an opportunity for the organization to improve internally. Ex-employees are far more likely to share less-than-glowing experiences once they are no longer on the payroll. Having this type of open forum for addressing complaints and innovation is also far less intimidating than bringing it up with top-tier management directly.

4. They Can Discover Opportunities For The Business Departments

Once a network starts developing and the alumni leader has begun building relationships and identifying talent within the program, they can become energizers who connect the siloed business departments with alumni services. 

They can scale program ideas and get it embedded as a service provider for the organization as a whole. With the right internal marketing, management and employees can get access to people in the program who help to achieve hiring, marketing, business development, ERG, mentoring, social responsibility, and innovation roles, among others.

Alumni Programs Excel With A Leader At The Helm

Employing an alumni community manager can help organizations make the most of their alumni network by supercharging engagement. When someone is placed in charge of this aspect of the company, it becomes easier to achieve various business goals. 

Get in touch to learn more about how Enterprise Alumni enables businesses worldwide to lay the groundwork for lucrative alumni relationships.

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