Lifelong Engagement

Why Alumni Relations Is Part Of Workplace Culture

An organizations workplace culture doesn’t stop when an employee leaves: focusing on Alumni relations remains part of the employee cycle.

'Workplace Culture' and 'Alumni Relations' used to be two separate conversations. One focused on the retentions of current employees whilst the other focused on the Alumni as a talent pool. But culture is part of an organization's DNA, dictating how it's run and how it's perceived, internally and externally. While no two workplace cultures are completely alike, organizations with positive cultures do have one thing in common — empathy.

The workforce is a vital part of any high-performing business, and empathy allows strategic leaders to build and shape their company culture with their employees and customers in mind. When considering the role culture plays, it’s critical that employers look at the lifecycle of their people over three phases – as a recruit, an employee, and an alumnus.

The key to building a strong workforce is understanding how culture impacts employees at each of these stages.

As a Recruit

An employee encounters an organization’s culture the moment they submit their application. From that moment, it’s up to the company to step up and provide a positive candidate experience. How a future employer conducts themselves during the interview phase is the first glimpse of their culture for the candidate - and they're taking note. It’s an introduction into what bring a part of your team would be like.

Hiring managers can tip the top-talent scales in their favor by creating an engaged and thoughtful candidate experience. In fact, candidates that have a positive experience are not only likely to join your ranks, but according to a recent study, 78% of applicants would refer someone in the future, . Organizations that focus on creating a healthy culture begin their hiring process on a positive note. 

A recent national survey found that 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. Of those job seekers, 72% report having shared that experience online on an employer review site (such as Glassdoor), on a social networking site, or directly with a colleague or friend. Negative experiences can stem delivery of quality new hires, affecting an organization’s growth. It’s not just about the bad press though: candidates want to know that you’re genuinely invested in them as it's a sign of what's to come down the line.

As an Employee

Employees are the backbone of any organization. Empathetic leaders understand and value the contributions of their employees, which is why job growth, career paths, and employee development play a part in well-developed cultures. During this phase, employee engagement is dependent upon how well the culture is defined.

Employee engagement isn’t only a moral issue: it impacts the organization’s bottom line. In fact, highly engaged businesses see a 20% increase in sales. More to the point, engaged employees means less turnover, which is also a major concern for today’s organizations. When leaders deploy an employee-centric culture, they stave off many business issues that interrupt their operational potential.

Culture has a major impact – but it has to be intentional. In order for a workplace culture to be successful, it has to be present, consistent and enduring. This means that workplace culture doesn’t stop when an employee leaves: focusing on Alumni relations remains part of the employee cycle.

As an Alumnus

Strategic and emotionally intelligent leaders know that an employee’s journey within their organization doesn’t necessarily stop when they exit. Strong Alumni relations with former employees are a valuable and influential resource for several reasons. As such, workplace cultures need to accommodate them by way of an alumni network, for example. Your past employees hold the keys on how to improve your organization and, when leveraged properly, are also a great talent pool.

Today’s job seekers do their research, often looking to get a consensus on a company’s reputation. Employees from high performing cultures will have favorable things to say about your organization. Conversely, alumni from less-than-stellar workplace cultures can put a sizable dent in your reputation.

Companies that provide a phenomenal workplace culture shouldn’t be surprised if talented alumni make their way back into their workforce.  Alumni employees already know how your organization works, so it could save the company time and money in terms of onboarding and productivity.

Bottom Line

No matter how you look at it, culture plays an integral part in building a phenomenal workforce, and it all starts with empathy. Today’s candidates want to feel valued at the start of recruitment, during their employment, and in their alumni phase. Investing in developing a great culture has many benefits for employers too– especially when it comes to rehiring top talent. That said, it starts with learning and understanding the phases of the employee lifecycle. Build a culture around all aspects of your employees and reap the results by extending this to include Alumni relations.

Read more on how an alumni network boosts your employee engagement strategy here

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