Recruitment

The Great Resignation: A Time For Corporate Alumni Networks To Shine

As the working landscape looks to new horizons amid the Great Resignation, now is the time for corporate alumni networks to shine.


As the working landscape looks to new horizons, now is the time for corporate alumni networks to shine. 

The Great Resignation By Numbers*

  • The Great Resignation started in April 2021, when 4 million Americans quit their jobs. 
  • September 2021 saw the highest quits rate** since December 2000, with 4.4 mil quits.
  • The number of quits in October was 4.2 million, equal to 2.8% of the U.S. workforce. 
  • Job openings saw the largest increases in the accommodation and food services industries.
  • By the end of October 2021, the number of job openings increased to 11.0 million. 
  • Right now, the U.S. job market has almost 5 million more open positions than people seeking work.

* All statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report for October 2021 unless stated otherwise.

** The quits rate is the number of quits during the entire month as a percent of total employment. It is applied here to nonfarm quits. 

What Is Driving The Big Resignation?

Many are taking part in the conversation around this. The most cogent reasons – and hence solutions – why people are changing jobs in their droves can be uncovered online. 

At the top level, it’s the pandemic, of course. Millions of workers have suddenly realized that work-life can be different and now crave the flexibility they have become accustomed to. Something they never thought possible. 

Guy Berger, Ph.D., Principal Economist at LinkedIn, calls it the Great Reshuffle. He says people aren’t quitting and leaving the workforce – they are quitting and starting other, better jobs.

He maintains that the JOLTS Survey shows both quits and hires are elevated and that the October gap between the two fell to its lowest level since May. 

In the same thread as above, Sue Bhatia of Rose International posed the question: If you’re looking for work, what do you wish hiring teams would keep in mind? The top LinkedIn member comments were:

  1. Attract people with benefits that fit their needs 
  2. Invest in your workers’ potential
  3. Student loan assistance
  4. Flexible hours
  5. Real training
  6. Clear career paths
  7. Work-life balance
  8. Software that enables efficient WFH (work from home)
  9. Part-time work for retirees
  10. Leaders who are willing to look at things differently and see people as their greatest asset

The Downside And The Upside Of The Great Resignation

The downside of high turnover and resignations is that remaining teams often find themselves without key skill sets or resources. Turnover costs are increased through the cost of termination, replacement, vacancy, and productivity loss during learning curves. This negatively impacts everything, from the quality of work and time to completion to the bottom-line revenue.

While resignations are negative in most companies’ books, they have their upside. It’s a chance for the organization to bring fresh talent into the work pool, expand and better engage with its alumni network, and invest in the next generation of American workers. 

However, employers have to acknowledge that people are tired of feeling exploited and have a genuine need to feel valued. And they are going to have to put systems in place to manage a workforce that is no longer office-bound. 

This leaves organizations with two huge problems: 

1. How to retain valued talent 
2. How to maintain strong relationships with those who depart.

A Time To Shine A Light On The Importance Of Corporate Alumni Networks 

So how do organizations mitigate the fallout from the Great Resignation and turn it into a positive? How do you stay connected to the talent you have ‘lost’ or a new, contingent workforce

Also, considering that navigating the return to the office is a delicate operation, how do you do it in a way that lays the foundations for positive relationships for years to come? 

The answer lies in investing in a robust corporate alumni platform and building and maintaining the alumni network on this platform.

By doing this and engaging your network, you can stay in touch with people who are joining the Great Resignation. It’s vital for organizations to maintain these relationships for several reasons, most notably because it’s a network of former employees who:

  • can provide business expertise
  • act as brand ambassadors 
  • may return as boomerang hires 
  • can become mentors for your existing workforce
  • are a source of referrals

Lifetime employment might be over, but a lifetime relationship remains the ideal…Establishing a corporate alumni network, which requires relatively little investment, is the logical step in maintaining a relationship of mutual trust, mutual investment and mutual benefit in an era where lifetime employment is no longer the norm.

Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn and author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.

The key to engagement is to show alumni what’s in it for them. Be human at a time when everyone needs it the most and use your platform as technology to drive interaction, provide value, and connect people.  

Conclusion

The Great Resignation (Reshuffle) only poses a significant threat to organizations unprepared for the void. It’s a fact: traditional recruiting methods are going to cost you. 

Instead, invest in your corporate alumni network and put the people needed behind it. By doing this, you will have access to a talent pool that can be called upon to achieve business goals when required. 

Rather than be a victim of resignations, organizations and alumni communities alike benefit from a functional, active network. Everyone can get back to business, even if it’s not as usual.  

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