Starting your Alumni Program

Company Alumni: Building A Program From Scratch

Starting a Company Alumni program from scratch means recognizing no program suddenly conjures a herd of former employers stampeding to return.

When we speak to customers starting a journey or conversation around embracing and creating a Company Alumni community, the conversation starts in recruitment. That’s where the budget normally lives and where the obvious value drivers such as reduce time to fill/reduce agency fees are immediately associated. Alumni as a talent pool.

Dan Klamm, the VP of Alumni Relations at Nielsen recently discussed his experience of what it takes to succeed: “Alumni Best Practices

There are Alumni best practices with basic considerations like determining where in the company your program will reside, why it exists, how you will staff it, and what technology platform you’ll leverage, but there are a bunch of more nuanced points to think about as well.

However one cannot look at the Alumni community in such a transactional way. No Company Alumni program will go live and immediately have a herd of former employers stampeding to return to the company.

Instead, the Alumni community and their needs must be put first, with community creation a priority. A passionate fighter needs to be tasked with questioning every decision the organization makes to ensure those decisions create genuine value for the Alumni. Only then when you have an established community that you embrace and value do those important secondary and tertiary benefits become apparent.

Here is a great piece from @DavidSpinks about what it takes to build a community and the most important lesson is Number 1:

“You don’t launch a community”

In fact, communities have been forming, evolving and dying consistently since the beginning of humanity. Building community is part of being human.

But we aren’t just local tribes gathering around a fire anymore. Today, people participate in many different communities concurrently and much of our community experience lives on the internet. This means your community is fighting for the attention of members in an endless sea of options and distractions.

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