A Successful Company Alumni Program Requires Giving Without Expecting To Receive

by Community Admin in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 22nd March 2019

As the saying goes, give and ye shall receive. Adam Grant, Wharton’s highest rated professor and author of Givers and Takers, uses profound research to explain how to succeed.

Be a giver, contribute to others without expecting anything in return, and statistically you will achieve extraordinary success.

This applies to corporate behavior too.

Adam Grant – Give & Take

In almost all Alumni Platform conversations, the buyer, product owner and/or operator is the HR department. It is the easiest house in which to place Alumni, particularly for companies without an existing “Alumni Team.”

They allows us to measure a rapid time to value and benchmark progress/impact around some very specific metrics. You buy this, you will get this. If we invest this, the return will be this within this period. Transactional in nature.

Why do you buy Nike sneakers? Are they the best? Are they the most comfortable? Do they provide the best value for money? You probably have no idea….! You probably buy them because for 20 years they have been providing you with exciting content and marketing without ever actually asking you to buy their shoes.  They don’t follow you on the internet bombarding you with banner ads or retargeting or email campaigns. You buy Nike sneakers because the brand has leverage over you, and that leverage comes from not selling to you…. (thx Gary V.)

Questions our customers ask us when considering building out an Alumni Network include:

  1. how many applicants will we get from this talent pool?
  2. how much will we save from accelerating time to fill?
  3. how much reduction will we see in agency fees?
  4. how much increased value from greater talent retention

These are all important insights and of course, we have metrics to share that excite and delight. But if you want to create a successful Alumni network; if you want a true community hub that serves all parties; giving with no expectation of return is great leverage. Metrics matter; but purpose and intention matter too.

It’s understandably rare in today’s business environment that projects are undertaken without clear goals and metrics. We live in a transactional world where the conversion rates, the ROI on every action, the value and the maths are scrutinized – because sales count. All the content, the learning, all the deals: They build leverage to build brand which then leads to “transactional sales values.”

But Alumni platforms are not just a sales tool. The goal is to create a living, breathing hub that has a purpose and use for all: Alumni, the company and the wider brand. Hence the notion that give… and ye shall receive is relevant. Giving without expectation. An intangible, an unconventional and an unexpected notion – but an important and relevant one for your network to thrive and ultimately, reward you all.