Webinar Recap: When People Are Your DNA with Illumina and Amedisys

by Kyle Millar-Corliss in Alumni Leaders Podcast, Video   |    Last Edited: 01st March 2022

Thank you to our guest speakers: Emily Milsovic, VP of Business Operations at Illumina and Yvette Hansen, Director of Talent Acquisition Programs at Amedisys.


Five Things We Learned About Why Alumni Are Crucial To Your People Strategy

Don’t let alumni get away …

“Without alumni, people leaving is a leaky bucket …”

Emma Sinclair

Alumni can save you money on branding …

“We all know that branding is very expensive, so alumni can be an echo chamber for your brand. Creating content is tough, but again it’s often alumni who create the content. Espouse the value prop for alumni, share the network, and make it about them …”

Emily Milsovic

Alumni is the future of nursing …

“Seven out of ten Americans would rather die in their home than in a hospital, so we’re going to need more and more hospice nurses. We’re really looking to alumni for the future of nursing …”

Yvette Hansen

Alumni are already interested in connections old and new …

“Alumni are as interested in creating new business connections as they are nurturing old relationships. They believe they can be more successful in their new jobs by staying connected …”
Emily Milsovic

Alumni is for *everyone* …

“By reaching out through socials and internal resources, you can spread the message that all alumni are important and avoid it turning into an old boy’s club.”


Q&A

What exactly do Illumina and Amedisys do?

Emily: Illumina is a 20-year-old multinational with headquarters in California. We make DNA sequencing instruments that help match cancer patients with correct therapies and diagnose babies with genetic diseases. We were the first company to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome and our technology is used in over 140 countries.

Yvette: Amedisys is the fourth-largest home health and hospice company in the US, with over 500 care centres and 35,000 clinicians across the country.

Why are alumni on your radar?

Yvette: Alumni are an important talent pool, so we really want to understand how they can help serve us after they’ve left the company.

Emily: Our alumni are engineers, inventors, clinicians, pioneers, investors and scientists. We all know that branding is very expensive, so alumni can be an echo chamber for your brand.

How do you interact with your alumni?

Yvette: The biggest population of our alumni are the caregivers, clinicians, licenced practical nurses and registered nurses. We provide education and learning courses to help them grow their careers beyond Amedisys and amplify our brand.

Emily: Our alumni are as interested in creating new business connections as they are nurturing old relationships. They believe they can be more successful in their new jobs by staying connected to Illumina. We launched in under three months and hit our annual goal within the first month.

How important is boomerang hiring?

Yvette: Re-hiring is a very manual, transactional and reactive process, so we’re looking to elevate the boomerang hire process beyond the recruiter level to create opportunities for all our clinicians. Seven out of ten Americans would rather die in their home than a hospital, and we’re going to need more and more hospice nurses. So we’re really looking to alumni for the future of nursing.

Emily: Following the pandemic, we realised that needed to extend the culture of care at Illumina to nurture our alumni. More and more applicants say they heard about the job through the alumni network. We have a strong intern programme from which we always welcome boomerangs, but we’re seeing more benefit in referrals.

How did your get alumni on your CEO’s agenda?

Emily: Francis [deSouza, CEO of Illumina] is proud member of the Microsoft alumni network – one of the first corporate networks – so that really helped us get him on board. People could then see what a great network we were building and were very receptive to the alumni network helping us to drive the genomics revolution, because our technologies can be lifesaving.

Yvette: Paul [Kusserow, CEO of Amedisys] has always been keen on shaping the health and hospice industry. We created a solid business plan to explain how it would directly affect the executive sponsors, human capital, marketing, tech, talent acquisition and finance teams.

How did you make sure that alumni doesn’t become an old boy’s club?

Yvette: The healthcare space is so diverse that it would be hard to make anything an old boy’s club. We reached out through socials and internal resources to spread the message that alumni are important wherever they move.

Emily: We’re cognizant that we didn’t want to our network to only appeal to CEOs with 35 years of experience, so we tailored our content to the younger levers. For example, we recently linked to articles and stories from alumni working in the rare disease space for rare disease month.

What is your hopes and advice for the early months of alumni?

Yvette: We will be the first home health and hospice company to create a formal alumni program in the US, so we’re hoping to engage with 1000 alumni within in the first year and pioneer the education of incoming nurses on how they can impact patients in the safest place: their homes.

Emily: People follow people, so find those 10 or 20 lighthouse alumni with the connections to bring in their own network. We all know that creating content is tough, but often it’s alumni who create at the content. Espouse the value prop for alumni, share the network, and make it about them.

What are your lessons and advice on starting an alumni network?

Emily: We really wished we’d had this network in place when Illumina got quite hot in the media around two years ago. So going forward, we are planning two membership pushes a year.

Yvette: Don’t go it alone. Trying to project manage while keeping a full-time job is going be difficult. Assemble the right team members and meet regularly to understand the progress and any roadblocks. And make friends with everyone. Make sure the IT people know your name ready for when you come calling!

Presenters:

Emily Milsovic, VP of Business Operations & Chief of Staff to the CEO at Illumina

Yvette Hansen, Director of Talent Acquisition Programs at Amedisys

Emma Sinclair MBE, CEO at EnterpriseAlumni

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