Elevating your Alumni Program

5 Ways To Elevate Talent Relationship Management With An Alumni Program

Alumni programs have a part to play in organizational success, and can support talent relationship management to achieve business and employee goals alike.


'Talent Relationship Management' – it could easily be written off as a buzzword. But it shouldn't be dismissed: it’s a suite of proven HR strategies implemented by some of the world's most successful organizations to retain their top candidates. 

As a process, talent relationship management is driven by ideas, systems and technology that support a company in developing relationships with the talent it wants to hire. This process doesn’t end at hiring however, but continues after offer acceptance and onboarding. Its principles even extend into retention strategies.

Retaining Talent With An Alumni Program

It might seem counter-intuitive to drop a mention of an organization’s alumni program into pre-hire talks. For some, it might even seem like a taboo after the contract is signed: no one wants to imply that this brand new, highly-anticipated working relationship isn’t going to work out.

Well, there’s good and there’s bad news.

The bad is that employees do leave. They get offered new opportunities. They take a career break. They retire. They don't feel engaged. For whatever reason, things don’t always work out - and that’s ok.

The good news is that perceptions are changing. Organizations no longer see an employee's departure as the end of the line. Instead they foresee its potential benefits.

Benefits Of An Alumni Program

  • Create advocates for life, ensuring that an employee exit isn’t necessarily the end of a relationship
  • Receive lucrative business references, points of contact, and referrals, whether it’s for sales, organizational goals, or other hires
  • Build on your talent pipeline for access to qualified boomerangs or potential re-hires in future
  • Strengthen your employer brand – it says a lot about your organization’s values if ex-employees are willing to advocate for you
  • Increased loyalty amongst current employees when they see the value you add for alumni
  • Access business intelligence from advancing career professionals

5 Ways To Elevate Talent Relationship Management 

1. Offer Sign Up At Onboarding

As an ongoing part of talent relationship management, know that it’s never too early to register talent to your alumni program once they've been hired. Rather than waiting to sign them up as they exit the door, make it a step in the onboarding process. Businesses with a clear understanding of the benefits of the alumni relationship might also choose to make their program 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in'.

You will then be able to layout the incentives right away, while talent entering the organization will likely be open to embracing fresh opportunities. Waiting till after the exit interview, on the other hand, will likely mean you have to work a lot harder to earn engagement with the program. Even though it's the same benefits on offer, the candidate’s focus will now be on the opportunities lying beyond your organization.

Lastly, early onboarding lets the candidate know that the company is willing to invest in their relationship for the long term.

2. Provide Access To Alumni Discounts and Pricing

For employees, signing onto the alumni program early on in the relationship is a perk. Providing employees with access to alumni discounts and special offers, such as restaurant deals, electronics and technology discounts, or corporate travel perks, for example, can add to their overall satisfaction.

Job satisfaction is recognized to act as a motivation to perform in the workplace. When an organization scores poorly in these areas, their talent leaves. But knowing that these new perks or benefits are guaranteed - to the point of becoming alumni and beyond - can provide huge motivation for a mutually beneficial relationship to form.

3. Open Doors For Continued Career Development

A lack of career development is the number two reason why employees move onto greener pastures. Because of this, talent relationship management needs to include opportunities for continued career advancement. Your alumni program can support this through opening doors to organized career fairs, networking events, matching with mentors, and continued organization training.

Not only that, but alumni programs also provide an internal platform for talent to get first access to roles opening up within the organization. As the platform software acts as a talent pool database and is driven by data, employees can be both passively recruited for a role as well as enabled to actively apply, based on an AI-driven recommendation that identifies the high potential candidates.

4. Place Connections For Professional and Personal Advancement

A big drawcard in alumni programs are the powerful, continued relationships that are upheld by its members. In the case of candidates joining an organization, the advantages of drawing from these resources extend far beyond sitting in a boardroom training session. Mentors provide career-altering advice, and network contacts open the door to meaningful opportunities, all of which allow for professional and personal development.

5. Extend The Olive Branch At Exit

If company policy says talent is only eligible for alumni membership on exit, ensure that offboarding covers admission to the program. Aside from the potential benefits for the organization that ex-employees can drive later on, this latter phase of the lifecycle is important for talent relationship management. Departing on less than amicable terms could result in bad reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed and Yelp, damaging the organization’s reputation.

Instead, extend that alumni program olive branch to ensure that the relationship going forward is mutually beneficial and rewarding.

Invest In People, Invest In Success

Successful organizations can thank their employees - and the relationships they have with them - for their success. Alumni programs can play an important part in this, ensuring that talent management is leveraged to achieve business and employee goals.

To learn more about how EnterpriseAlumni is enabling the world’s organizations to manage and engage their former employees to drive business outcomes, please get in touch.

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