Drive Alumni Engagement: Extend Employee Resource Groups

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

Enabling Alumni who have left your organization to continue to participate in employee resource groups that resonate with them is a brilliant way to drive Alumni engagement. It personally extends the community and reach of your organization exponentially.

And beyond the professional benefits, doing so promotes and fosters an incredibly positive culture, that people can still contribute and remain very welcome in groups, despite no longer being an employee.

What exactly is an ERG? Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) also known as corporate programs or affinity groups are, in general voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices and objectives.

How can this work in practice and how can alumni remain part of groups when they’re no longer authorized personnel? Consider one large corporate who have 50,000 employee members in their Women’s Network ERG. Its focus is far broader than Diversity & Inclusion related topics; but rather its remit is to enable others to succeed. If you want something done, ask this ERG community! By creating a network of like-minded people making a personal choice to support others, this ERG spans every grade, corporate hierarchy, geography, and business unit by uniting all its members with a common mission. Alumni engagement is all about uniting your community around topics where they can provide and receive value.

Of course, employees move on. A Women’s Network member leaves the organization and with that, has to leave the ERG. This community they are passionate and excited about, in which they have invested time and energy – and which has equally been a source of support – is suddenly “gone.” That’s to no one’s benefit.

What happens when this particular company makes a choice to enable the ERG inside of the Alumni network so that when people leave, they have the option to not only be a part of the global Alumni community but also maintain their membership in the ERG? Everyone wins and alumni engagement happens.

In this example, instead of 50,000 people across the world from one company with a unified mission forming the DNA of this ERG, they now have 100,000 people across the world from thousands of companies (& retirees) who can replicate its goal to ensure their respective workplaces welcome, support, promote and attract the best and most diverse talent. A win for everyone!

By expanding this resource to their Alumni, the company in question has better enabled a strong, purpose-led community, intent on assisting others, with an amplified power because of its wide reach.

It goes without saying that an Alumni ERG Access Policy requires commitment from management, operations, HR and IT security …. but every journey starts with one small step. Alumni groups are igniting these conversations, inspiring organizations to recognize their value and participating in processes to ensure these policies are introduced.

And technology assists in making this practical and possible.

Controls exist to ensure that those inside the company do not share sensitive data by marking posts as “Alumni Eligible” – suitable for all to see. There are gates that monitor and prevent a user from typing specific words into comment sections. Automation can be applied to create a framework of rules to follow around recruiting and solicitation, for example, but because these communities have requested to be part of the Alumni network, self-policing and good practice typically prevails whilst delivering incredible value for the Alumni, employees, and employers.

This extension of Alumni Engagement into ERG’s tells new recruits that your organization is not building a disposable relationship with them – but rather one which is there to enable them throughout entire career lifecycle, whoever employs them and wherever they may find themselves.

We work with innovative customers to create and deliver functionality to extend their ERG activities, visualize their Alumni diversity and assist them in meeting their business goals. If you’d like to know more about how we help build communities and drive alumni engagement, how we are helping ensure people who have left your organization maintain a relationship, and how through ERG’s and other empathy based programs can drive recruitment, business development, sales and sentiment please reach out.

Learn why the worlds leading organizations choose EnterpriseAlumni to drive their Alumni Engagement Programs.

Additional ERG in practice resources:

Nationwide—Prioritizing LGBT Workplace Inclusion

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.—How Culture Change and Gender Inclusion Enabled One Company to Prevail

Barclays—How Barclays is Creating an Inclusive Workplace