There has been a lot of focus on employee retention in HR circles of late, and with good reason. High rates of elective employee turnover are expensive and inconvenient, not to mention look bad for your employer brand.
According to recent statistics, candidates trust a company’s employees and former employees three times more than the company itself to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there. The stats also show that a company’s retention rate is ranked as a top metric by 38% of job seekers and that 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agree that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring.
In short, it is an indisputable fact that employee retention matters.
However, the time has also come to start thinking about the notion of retention beyond the scope of the traditional employee life cycle. After all, your goal should be to retain an employee’s loyalty and positive sentiment rather than their daily clock-in.
Why Ambassadorship Often Works Better Than Employee Retention
Focusing on workforce retention as a business tactic is all good and well, but it fails to take one very important thing into account – what the employee thinks. A person may often have a very valid reason to move on. They may want to move to a new city to support their spouse. They may want to shift gear and become a full-time parent. Or they may simply need a change of scenery and a new challenge.
Whatever the case may be, it helps if you think about retaining the relationship rather than their everyday presence in the office. When someone leaves your employment on good footing, it is still possible to benefit from all the time and effort you put into building a strong rapport during their tenure. It all comes down to how you handle their exit and whether you have an alumni platform in place to maintain engagement.
Four Major Benefits Of Creating Lifelong Alumni Ambassadors
1. Their Opinions Are Credible
When employees move on, they move out into the world with a firm opinion of their time in your employ. If it was a good experience, which included a professional and friction-free exit, the information they share about your business within their new employment circles is likely to be positive.
On the flip side, if it wasn’t all that great, this word-of-mouth is not going to be great either.
Ex-employees’ opinions are seen as credible because they were on the inside. They have seen how your business operates on the other side of the divide. Prospective job seekers, collaborators, and clients all take their word at face value. This is why a lifelong alumni ambassador is such a great thing to have.
Additionally, your alumni can also be leveraged as a rich source of very honest feedback. Since they are no longer in a position where their livelihood depends on your company, they are free to be brutally honest about just about anything you need an opinion on. This includes everything from your hiring and onboarding practices to your HR processes and more.
In fact, you could even consult them informally on things like proposed new corporate branding. After all, these people know your brand inside out, and they are far more likely to raise unpopular, albeit informed opinions about things that current employees may feel a little more reticent about.
2. They Can Circle Back As Consultants
Alumni programs enable organizations to rapidly tap into qualified, pre-screened talent. Ex-employees don’t drop off the face of the earth when they move on. In fact, most of them go on to gain fantastic new skills that could very well stand your business in good stead in years to come. This is yet another reason to engage your alumni network on a regular basis.
Consultancy work is a great way to invigorate your team with fresh perspectives and extra support for priority projects or times when added skills are required. When these moments come around, it’s great to call on someone who knows your enterprise and processes and can slot in seamlessly.
3. They Can Send Business Opportunities Your Way
Alumni are also a great source of business leads. If you are effective at keeping them engaged and informed about what your company is up to in a compelling way, your business offering is likely to remain top of mind. This way, they are perfectly primed to recommend your goods or services to their current employer, business acquaintances, family, and friends when the opportunity arises.
4. They Know What Kind Of Talent You Need
Securing top talent is one of the major goals of every HR practitioner on the planet. However, it can be a tall order to reach your ideal candidates by means of conventional recruitment channels these days. There are so many job portals and employment boards online that your career listings can fall between the cracks and get lost in the digital noise of daily news and interaction.
This is yet another way in which alumni can be invaluable. If you share your job listings with a connected alumni community, they can send it along their grapevine and inform the right kind of candidates about available positions. The key here is that they’ll also know what type of person would be suitable for your business, which makes it that much easier to hire for cultural fit straight off the bat.
Employee retention is good for business, but when someone is ready to move on, they are ready to move on. In cases like these, it helps to focus on creating corporate alumni ambassadors instead. If you manage to retain their loyalty and good sentiment, ex-employees can go on to provide exceptional word-of-mouth marketing, circle back as consultants, send business opportunities your way, and recommend new talent.
For more information on how an alumni program can work for you, get in touch with the EnterpriseAlumni team today.