How Can a Corporate Alumni Network Help Your Employer Branding?
A strong brand is built by strong relationships - so it's worth thinking about finding the best strategies to help you achieve this.
Employer branding relies on your current and former employees sharing their positive experiences of working with your company. They might do this through formal channels - such as sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn - or informally, such as referring friends to open job roles or sharing your news on their social media feeds. A loyal employee will want to support your business, and this is also true of corporate alumni.
An engaged corporate alumni member is more likely to refer a friend to your business - our research shows that up to 20% of our customers' annual hires are sourced through their alumni. They are also more likely to advocate on your behalf or recommend your company’s services - our research shows that 78% of alumni network members would advocate for their former employer.
By creating a strong relationship with your former employees, your business can benefit from their goodwill and support. We know that businesses have used their alumni networks to spread good news when the business is doing well, and as a source of support and positive comment when the company has faced negative press.
And of course, an alumni network adds to your employer brand by showing employees that you care about them beyond their time at your organization. As people change more jobs more frequently, they’re looking for employers that aren’t just interested in what an employee brings to their business, but those that also want to invest in that employee’s career and future employability. In the current war for talent, showing future employees that you will continue to invest in them - even beyond their tenure in your business - sets you apart as an employer.
How do you turn corporate alumni into brand ambassadors?
It’s not enough to just have a corporate alumni network or to send the occasional email to your alumni. If you want to turn them into brand ambassadors you need to have a corporate alumni engagement strategy. To do this you should:
Create a sense of community. You want your alumni to feel like they are a part of your business even when they no longer work for you. Host events, run webinars and virtual meet-ups, offer them branded swag. Give your alumni a way to engage with the business as it is today. When you create a sense of community and belonging, you encourage your alumni to step into the role of an active brand ambassador.
Provide opportunities for them to give back. We often think building a relationship with alumni is all about what you can offer them, but if you want your alumni to feel really engaged with your business offer them a chance to actively contribute to its success and be recognized for that. This might be asking them to come onboard as mentors for junior staff, to share their experience at events or even to write about their current work for your newsletter. You get the benefit of their knowledge and they get a feeling of satisfaction from helping you. Most importantly, the relationship is deepened and they feel more connected to your business than ever.
Recognize and reward their contributions. If you have former employees in your corporate alumni network who are more active, think about how you can reward them for this. Can you extend some of the perks you offer current employees to them? Can you promote their current work or offer them a chance to be featured in some way? By showing you appreciate what they do to promote your business, you’re more likely to both keep them shouting about you and encourage others to do the same.
Leverage their networks. To really turn your company alumni into brand ambassadors you need to get them to talk about you outside of your own platforms. This might be encouraging them to share your news on their social media platforms, rewarding them for referring a friend to an open job role or simply asking them to review you on job sites. While it might feel as though you’re asking them to do a lot for you, if you’ve invested in the relationship from the beginning you should have built up enough goodwill that your alumni will be happy to support you.
Why Corporate Alumni Should be Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors help increase the visibility of a business and should actively work to improve its brand within the market. Nobody knows what your business is like as an employer better than the people who used to work for you, so leveraging your company alumni as brand ambassadors should be a priority.
They can also help you attract the best talent. At a time when there is both a war for talent and a desire to keep recruitment costs low, having a strong employer brand is more important than ever. Your corporate alumni can help you save on recruitment costs by referring friends for open positions and they can even help improve retention - former colleagues reminding your current employees that the grass isn’t always greener is one way to stop your best talent from moving on.
To find out more about how you can support recruitment efforts, read how EnterpriseAlumni lets you improve your talent acquisition strategy.