Alumni: The Definition
The new definition Of Alumni is “An individual who has had a prior formal relationship with an organization of some form (corporate, non-profit, educational).”
The old definition according to Wikipedia for the term Alumni has always referred to an individuals alma-mater:
“A former student who has either attended or graduated in some fashion from an educational facility”
The term Alumni is now broadened to include anyone who has had an affiliation of some form with an organization. The term is no longer just used for educational facilities, it now includes those affiliations with organizations (corporate/non-profit). It also no longer has to be someone who used to work full-time for that organization, it has been expanded to include part-time, interns and volunteers.
The evolution of the term reflects the changing business environments where organizations are keen to maintain a relationship with anyone who they have had a formal relationship, as each segment of Alumni can provide differing values whether it be interns converting to employees, retirees providing knowledge transfer or volunteers as brand advocates.
Alumni, Alumnus, Alumna, Alumnae, Alumnum
Masculine, feminine, plural, gender-neutral are all replaced within the new definition. “Alumni” is the term in general organizations use to associate with their prior employees, opting to name their sites “Company Alumni Network” and ignoring the gender variations of the term.
The Future Of Alumni: Community
As organizations expand their definition of what it means to have a formal relationship, as the gig-economy expands and as the need to expand a talent pool increases, the term Alumni will gradually convert to the term “Community”. Their Alumni Platforms will become Community Platforms that enable anyone with a relationship to stay connected.
A job applicant that didn’t get the job, the husband/wife of an existing employee keen to explore opportunities for their children or access discounts, to contractors who want to continue taking advantage of the learning programs and remain eligible and active for future contracts.
As the 2018 Corporate Alumni Survey reflected, organizations Alumni are already expressing their desire to be involved in more than just a “recruitment/candidate” conversation, whether that be to amplify a sustainability project or be a part of an internal Employee Resource Group around diversity, pride, inclusion, vets or other employee-led topics.