The former Managing Director in Citibank’s Corporate and Investment Bank shares his experiences building the company’s EMEA alumni program.Read more
Uncovering The Many Faces Of The Corporate Alumni Network
To reap the rewards of its alumni program, organizations should know who its alumni are: ex-employees, retirees, seasonal workers, and contingent workforce.
When it comes to ex-employees, out of sight out of mind should not be an echoing sentiment. These days, an exit interview no longer signals the end of the relationship between organizations and their workforce. Instead, alumni have the potential to remain valuable members of the corporate team and contribute to networks that become a rich organizational resource.
Tapping into this resource requires action on the organization’s part though. Redefining the relationship requires a strategic approach that can benefit everyone involved and that’s why alumni teams turn to data rather than chance to drive the engagement. They construct a dedicated network and personalize the experience for each person from the inside out – a feat made easier by technology.
The first step to designing a program that drives engagement is knowing who the alumni are that the organization should be engaging with. Thereafter, it’s understanding how these relationships can be leveraged for organization success.
Who Are Alumni: Thinking Beyond The Here and Now
1. They Are Former Employees Who Leave On Good Terms
Do you know what big, prospering companies like Deloitte, Microsoft, Sodexo, and Oliver Wyman have in common? They all keep their bridges with former employees intact.
Deloitte provides 300,000 ex-employees around the globe with exceptional network opportunities and access to training sessions.
Microsoft’s alumni network includes 36,000 individuals across 50 countries.
Oliver Wyman hosts 70+ alumni events per year, and Sodexo’s Reconnexions platform already boasts 9,000 members even though it’s fairly new.
As an alumni army, this former workforce may have thrown in the towel in pursuit of better career opportunities elsewhere, or are simply taking a career break. Whatever the case, they leave on good terms and are fully aware that it’s in no way the end of the relationship.
2. Retirees Who Can Be Called Upon To Fulfil Specific Business Objectives
Retirement is not what it used to be. Being over the age of 60 doesn’t mean a person is ready to hang up the gloves. In many cases, this is when professionals feel the greatest need to start giving back to something more meaningful. Think mentorship programs, CSR initiatives, crisis management, and so forth.
Engaging retirees as part of an alumni network is a lucrative way of drawing on a rich well of experience. Not only do they have an affinity to your firm, but they are vested in its success, may be key stakeholders, and can lend both professional and personal experience to help achieve specific business objectives.
3. A Contingent Workforce Who Are Assets Not Overheads
The term ‘contingent workforce’ refers to professionals who aren’t on the company payroll permanently. Instead, they contribute their services as freelancers, contractors, consultants, etc. This talent community is growing by the day; COVID-19 gave the gig economy a major growth spurt as well.
Forward-thinking companies leverage the talents of these guns for hire in many different ways. When a skills shortage arises due to an unforeseen resignation or a big project, it’s far simpler (and more cost-effective) to hire a freelancer or contractor than to employ someone full time.
However, it helps if these on-demand consultants have been vetted. After all, it’s ideal if you can rope in a contract worker who is guaranteed to gel with the rest of your team. This is where leveraging ex-employees can prove to be an organization’s secret weapon.
With their vast institutional knowledge and prior experience of working with your business, contingent workers can add immense value without inflating your overheads. It’s a win-win in anybody’s book.
4. Seasonal Workers To Steer Business Through A Surge
Seasonal workers are professionals who are signed up for a contract term by a given organization around about the same time every year. This type of work setup is quite common in industries like tourism, construction, retail, agriculture, and even accounting.
Although seasonal workers aren’t a permanent part of your workforce, they do represent your team for at least a portion of the year. Additionally, they become ambassadors of your business for the rest of the year, when they are out plying their trade at different institutions.
Putting Your Talent On-Tap To Work
You know who your alumni are; you have the tools to engage them. It’s now a matter of knowing where to put them to work when the time is right. It’s not as straight cut as the point when onboarding to fill clearly defined roles in accounting, IT, sales, or marketing in the organization took place.
Yes, these departments can still benefit from the input of ex-employees who have since developed their career elsewhere. But there’s more opportunity in it than that.
Who are alumni to the organization?
- Boomerang hires who return to bring their new-found experience back to the mix
- Brand ambassadors who sing your praises and are great for PR
- Business development connections who can get your foot into the door to land a target account
- Co-innovators who become leaders and support your own innovation initiatives
- Consultants to call upon for expert business advice
- Customers who cost less to acquire and maintain a relationship with
- D&I candidates to achieve and exceed business objectives
- ERG leaders or participants who foster lifelong connections of support and motivation
- Investors with a keen interest in contributing to business success
- Marketers who share your content with their circles
- Mentors to coach and guide your rising talent
- Referral sources who can put you in touch with the next big hire
- Volunteers for CSR programs to ensure economic, social, and environmental issues are addressed
Leaving The Door Open To Future Collaboration
There are many benefits to maintaining good relations with ex-employees. With the right kind of tools at your disposal, the broader alumni pool can become secret recruitment weapons, B2B and B2C business promoters, and more. When you engage these individuals in the right way, the sky’s the limit.
To learn more about how EnterpriseAlumni is enabling the world’s organizations to manage and engage their former employees to drive business outcomes, please get in touch.