When a star employee leaves in search of greener pastures the loss of talent can be a big challenge to overcome internally. However, you can turn this loss into an opportunity by recruiting them for your organization’s alumni network. To do this, you need to lead with WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
For members of the alumni team, the numbers make one thing crystal clear. Your goal should always be to work on strategies to keep the employees who leave your organization connected. After all, there are many benefits to maintaining good relationships with former employees.
However, relaying the value proposition to soon-to-be ex-employees can be easier said than done. Given that most of these individuals will have elected to leave voluntarily, they are not in the market to be recruited. They are also likely to know enough people within the company if they need a referral or lead.
In short, you need a killer proposition to serve up to exiting employees to show them WIIFM.
Attract Alumni By Leading With An Attractive WIIFM Proposition
Every individual is just that. Unique, idiosyncratic, motivated by different things. The kind of rewards and benefits that attract one person to join an alumni network may do absolutely nothing for the next.
As such, it helps to know your people well through the trail of bread crumbs they leave on the internet – cue analytics from your ATS, or opt-out alumni programs at onboarding. When you understand their wants and needs, it makes it far easier to tap into that all-important ‘what’s in it for me’ equation.
Here are a few examples of WIIFM propositions that have proven successful for companies around the globe:
One of the simplest ways to encourage employees to sign up for an alumni program is to offer an appealing, tangible reward they can enjoy when they take the step to sign up. Think beyond the standard branded lanyard or coffee mug.
What does the person value? A weekend getaway, restaurant vouchers, entertainment coupons? Ideally, offer a range of options so that employees are free to choose something that resonates.
Corporate Incentives and Benefits
When an employee leaves for a new job, they might still enjoy access to the services or products they have been benefitting from during their tenure at your organization. You could consider offering your alumni continued deals on your catalog going forward. After all, if they use it, they are far more likely to remain positive brand ambassadors, and word-of-mouth marketing is always welcome.
Never underestimate the power of community recognition. If employees are aware that they will be able to tap into the alumni network to promote their relevant content going forward, this serves as a great incentive to sign up.
Examples would be sharing thought leadership pieces ex-employees have published on LinkedIn, applauding their achievements outside of your company, etc.
A Goodwill Platform
Volunteering has been shown to fulfill intrinsic needs and provide a sense of accomplishment. By using your alumni network to point employees in the direction of CSI programs run by your organization, you make it so much simpler for them to give back to the community. Tailormade charity initiatives that speak to your corporate values are the ideal way to pave the way for positive engagement across the board.
A regular line-up of relevant events is another good way to encourage employees to take part in an alumni program. This can include occasions like informal fireside get-togethers where current and ex-employees with similar interests can meet up.
Other examples of appealing events include panel discussions with industry experts who focus on topical areas of interest and annual charity events where they can connect with peers while contributing to a worthy cause.
An alumni program is the ideal platform to facilitate mentorship opportunities. Even after they’ve left your organization, ex-employees can benefit from mentorship from management, C-Suite, or other alumni. Similarly, they could also value the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with up-and-coming members of your current in-house team.
Finding and securing top talent is one of the biggest challenges organizations are faced with daily. On this level, the support of ex-employees can be beneficial as well. They know what your business stands for and how things are done at your company. As such, it stands to reason they’ll also know what kind of candidate is likely to flourish in this environment.
By providing your alumni with access to recruitment bonuses, you will ensure that your business remains top of mind when they meet likely recruits. From their perspective, they are able to help job seekers and earn a little something extra. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Access To Training Opportunities
Providing ongoing training and education opportunities is a vital component of any forward-thinking employee engagement program. By extending these opportunities to your alumni even after they’ve left your organization, you provide them with a very enticing incentive to stay in touch.
Ongoing Corporate Gifting
Exclusive alumni swag is a great way to promote your brand. Whether you choose to do drop-offs once a year, every quarter, or simply send flowers or an Amazon voucher on their birthday, your alumni are fairly unlikely to look this type of gift horse in the mouth.
Tailored News Content
A monthly newsletter that has been tailored to the needs of each alumni member can do wonders to keep your company top of mind and pave the way for future business leads. Just be sure not to spam every member of your alumni with the same generic content.
Keep Business Bridges Intact By Placing Employees First
Looking at the ROI value of an alumni program, it's easy to grasp the potential advantages for your organization. Your company stands to benefit from business leads, streamlined recruitment, and a bolstered bottom line. The crux lies in showing employees what they themselves can stand to gain from it before you wish them happy trails.