The former Managing Director in Citibank’s Corporate and Investment Bank shares his experiences building the company’s EMEA alumni program.Read more
Deploying An Alumni Platform For Global Organizations
Not every Alumni Platform is created equal and when deploying a Corporate Alumni Solution to a global company, it needs to be as contextual to be valuable.
Not every Alumni Platform is created equal, and when deploying a Corporate Alumni Solution to a global company, it needs to be as simple as possible for everybody - both company and the alumni. And it needs to deliver a customized, contextual and relevant experience based on each alumnus' prior position and role within the company.
An Alumni Platform Must Be Contextual
For a company with 100,000 employees, an Alumni Platform delivering a Facebook-style feed experience - with 1-to-everyone messages - won’t work or provide value. This approach is too generic and noisy to generate value.
Each segment of your Alumni population that engages on the platform has a different expectation and purpose for being on the site, and a “one size fits all” Alumni Platform that attempts to serve everyone actually serves no one.
The more advanced Alumni Management solutions allow companies to harness information about Alumni and the business unit or industry they worked within, to provide a personal, micro experience that is both highly relevant while still providing them with access to all global functions.
Accelerating Alumni Engagement
Generating early success and prompt adoption of the Alumni Platform means providing an experience not only rich in value with deals, opportunities and other in-demand features, but also a forum shared with other alumni they know, respect and are glad to be sharing a network with.
One of the mechanisms we've deployed to address this challenge is the ‘One Kitchen, Multiple Restaurants’ concept. It ensures we deliver a truly global and future-proofed Alumni Platform that companies can roll out in a phased and managed approach.
Importantly, the ‘one kitchen, multiple restaurants’ analogy offers options for handling large organizations with multiple:
- Regional but independent units
- Brands or subsidiaries with their own identity
- Recent mergers or acquisitions
- Large and different organizational units.
Our solution means that you can have multiple ‘restaurants’ each with their own theme, name, dress code, cuisine, ordering system and management structure which, to a customer, look and feel totally unique. Or for some organizations, you may not want unique branding and functionality but do want localized management and content, much like a restaurant ‘franchise’ model. Both scenarios enable a large organization to deliver a valuable experience to the Alumni.
The Alumni Platform Must Still Be Global
In the One Kitchen, Multiple Restaurants model, all 'restaurants' are following the same global business rules, centralizing all technologies, mitigating cross-over, and allowing for a single investment to run the best in class “back of house.'
In the context of an Alumni Platform, this translates as unified data security, data hygiene, business process and a single system of record and workflows.
We have seen this model working very successfully in a number of scenarios. For example:
A global consulting company with regional offices around the world, each running and acting independently, making their own purchasing decisions and responsible for their own staff recruitment, sales, and processes through their single business unit. However, the branch office is part of a global organization and operates under their guidelines and best practices.
The alumni solution maintains the same central branding and experience but allows regional offices to be on-boarded at their own pace and the solution expanded as part of a phased rollout. Each regional office sets their own micro-level policies – and alumni join via the sub-site – but together they are part of a global platform and have visibility into the rest of the organization.
A leading software company has multiple business units or lines of business including some recent acquisitions that operate in an independent, subsidiary-like fashion despite being part of the overall group. Whilst the global business may have been the name on the alumnus' pay slip, the employment relationship and affinity is with that sub-brand.
The alumni solution delivers custom and themed entrance pages for each business unit for employees to join, whether during off boarding or via the Alumni signup pages. Employees have a themed experience of the brand while still part of the global company, and access to all of the tools, directories and functionality. Alumni can be automatically joined to a specific group based on their cost center or other defined taxonomy.
Alumni Platforms Evolve With The User
A key function of this model of allowing chapters, subsidiaries or even countries to have their own regional alumni site, while still being part of the global organization, is the ability for each site to cater to their alumni based on what is important specifically within that region. Whether it be due to cultural requirements, specific staffing or practice areas, enabling micro-communities as part of a larger ecosystem makes it easier for your alumni to find their tribe, and leads to greater engagement.