To best manage and engage an alumni community, companies need both alumni software and a presence on social networks. Their co-existence is symbiotic and gives a competitive edge.
A strong presence on social networks counts. LinkedIn has over 380 million members worldwide, making it one of the most popular social networks in terms of active users. It’s a top online marketplace for talent – for people seeking opportunities, recruiters seeking candidates and employers seeking insight on potential hires.
But social networks such as these have their limitations. Alumni community groups on LinkedIn are often run by people no longer with the company, who may have been short-term contractors or indeed have no real affiliation at all. Sometimes there are multiple LinkedIn groups, run by different people, with varying intentions and content based on region or practice area. Those run by former employees don’t always adequately represent a company, its goals and its message. The data is controlled and managed by someone with no ties to the institution it represents.
There are, however, plenty of companies with “Official LinkedIn Groups” that engage their Alumni Community such as the IBM Alumni Program, with 96,000 members. However with a group that size how does one provide relevant, engaging and valuable content to their entire Alumni Community, how do you email just a segment with specific skills or create an event for just a region?
It is critical that all these groups exist so that when people are using sites like Linkedin, there is both a presence and varied sources of insight and information.
The thriving ecosystem social networks such as this provide have an unquestionable day to day value. Some people consider these valuable and honest resources; some prefer to follow the official group; but both act as a resource.
Whatever the case, the important point is this: Where there are multiple user groups and subgroups run by people outside a company, a single source of truth is lacking. And from the perspective of a corporate, that needs to be remedied. Furthermore, we are living in an age of context, where you need to speak on a 1-2-1 basis with your alumni community and provide relevant, contextual data and information of value as opposed to a 1-2-stadium approach.
Alumni Community: A Platform Matters
If you aspire to have a successful and thriving 1-2-1 relationship with your alumni and retirees; If there are specific insights you want to share as opposed to having a ‘one size fits all’ message; If there is personalized learning content to help develop the careers of former employees; If there are colleagues you think your alumni should know … then you need to own your alumni data. And you need an intelligent platform such as EnterpriseAlumni through which to do this.
This can be as simple as having one global alumni platform – or a master alumni platform with regional groups to allow for isolated content based on region, role, interest or experience. Some companies choose to have micro content for subsidiaries too.
Have a benefits platform? Want to offer alumni specific discounts on airfares for their family, cell phone discount plans or new car offers? You need up to date information on who and how to reach your alumni. You need to know what will interest them. Where they are. What they are doing. And provide a useful forum and hub in which they can share this information with you, interact with you and each other – and remain a friend of the company as opposed to a deserter or a divorcee.
Alumni may receive recommendations of jobs of likely of value, introductions to opportunities that will further their career or business, deals based on their geographical region: The list is endless. A rich treasure chest of opportunity and insight for everyone. And the company have a way to slice, dice, organize, search and engage alumni across multiple criteria – data they need – as part of their HRIS plans and platform. When you think about succession management, for example, Alumni must be included in the pool of eligible candidates.
A win win: For alumni and retirees, for corporates and for the wider workforce.