How Do Corporate Alumni Fit Into The Employee Journey?

by Alumni Content in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 26th May 2021

Many organizations map the flow of work, otherwise known as the employee journey, and for justifiable reasons. This journey encompasses all the notable milestones in the employee lifecycle, which have a part to play in brand sentiment, employee retention, productivity, engagement, and more. 

Monitoring these landmark points is a crucial aspect for both the individual and the business. It lends to creating structure and consistency for each new person that arrives. HR can then track and improve elements of the employee experience (EX) to ensure it’s up to standard. 

In his latest HR Technology Report, Josh Bersin acknowledges corporate alumni as part of the employee journey. For businesses, recognizing this final step can open the doors to a network of exceptional talent primed for continued collaboration in one form or another.

A Brief Outline Of The Employee Journey

All employees experience the same memorable moments during their tenure at an organization. It can become make or break for the business-employee relationship based on how these are handled.

The initial stages of the relationship include the job application, interview, and onboarding process. 

From there, it’s onto the first day at work, goal setting, performance reviews, development planning, and promotions.   

Toward the end of the journey comes the decision to move on from the company or terminate the contract. This can be on good terms or otherwise. 

Finally, the journey might have ended with an offboarding interview in the past, and the employee moves on. 

EX and Journey Mapping

But, times are changing. 

Now, it’s evident that continuing the relationship with people who leave on good terms is to the business’ advantage.

Why Map The Journey?

The way your employees and alumni experience working for and associating with your business impacts how they engage, perform, and feel about it. This can have a knock-on effect on productivity, customer satisfaction, and even business profitability.

Taking steps to uncover the stages of the employee journey that matter most gives the organization room to prioritize and improve them. If there’s no measurement, there can be no change. 

Businesses have two methods that work hand in hand to produce information they can use and base decisions on.  

1. Survey Employees At Each Milestone

Survey your top performers, those who have left, and experienced line managers about their perceptions of each phase. 

Find out how your business did with onboarding. Ask if the training is meeting their expectations. Send out feelers to see how they feel about the alumni content they are receiving, and so on.  

2. Analyze Data

Collect data from your HRM systems and analyze what’s happening at each phase of the journey.

For example, you can see where the workforce loses engagement when they have a slump in performance – why is that so? 

Or, is there one particular milestone when employees typically resign from the business?

Alumni In The Employee Journey

Where Do Corporate Alumni Feature In The Employee Journey?

In years gone by, the idea of staying in touch with a person who left your business was unheard of. So, the idea of making space for alumni in the employee journey wasn’t necessarily a consideration that needed to happen. 

While ‘alumni’ is seemingly the last title an employee will earn, it’s not to say the promotion can only happen at the end of the line. Enrolment to a company’s corporate alumni network can occur at any one of the different journey stages. There’s no need to follow a linear process to represent the handshake at the exit gate. 

For example, McKinsey enrolls employees in their alumni program during onboarding. The firm shares details of its program during the recruitment process in the same way it shows the information on its training, reward, and development programs. 

In short, their program is seen as a perk that many talented professionals want access to. They are aware that being welcomed into the inner circle will present them with career opportunities in the future.

Not all businesses share McKinsey’s approach, though. Typically, enrolment takes place during the exit interview. To successfully sell the program sign-up, the benefits need to be evident to employees. 

Quite simply, they need to know, what’s in it for me? Some of the program selling points could be its:

  • Sign-up rewards
  • Goodwill platform
  • ERG groups
  • Content promotion
  • Event access
  • Ongoing training
Map Alumni Journey

At the other end of the line, there’s immeasurable value for businesses that acknowledge employees will eventually go on to become alumni. Here’s why forward-thinking companies should extend the white glove to alumni, providing them with an experience that matches the EX.

Why Include Alumni In The Employee Experience?

When you value your alumni program and give this step as much focus as the employee experience, it opens the doors to continued collaboration and networking. Our research shows the unarticulated value of an alumni program can include:

  1. Access to project and contingent workers
  2. Alumni become brand ambassadors for the business
  3. Diversity and inclusion can be addressed through a diverse talent pool
  4. Sales and business development contacts
  5. Graduate recruiting, including boomerang hires and referrals
  6. Candidates for empowering ERG groups
  7. Investor interest from alumni who own stocks
  8. Support for CSR efforts
  9. Support system from innovators, movers, and shakers in their respective fields
  10. Global mentoring opportunities

Top Companies With An Existing Alumni Program

Not surprisingly, many successful organizations have a corporate alumni program in place. Through it, they are able to keep in touch and engage with their ex-employees, retirees, contingent and contract workforce to reap the rewards of an alumni program.

We touch on the Top 10 alumni networks in greater detail in this post. Still, a glance over it shows that some of the notable organizations investing heavily into an end-to-end employee experience include P&G, McKinsey, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Lufthansa, Citi, and Microsoft, to name a few.

Leading by example, these are just some of the big names that now include alumni under the umbrella of their total workforce strategy.

Final Thoughts

Factoring alumni into the employee journey means you’ll be better positioned to provide them with a consistent and positive experience with your business. In turn, this will lead to a more dynamic network that’s ready to step up to the plate when the organization calls. Many big-name Fortune 500 companies agree with this approach and set up their alumni platforms to be a valuable resource for their entire workforce contingent. 

For more information on how an alumni program can work for you, get in touch with the EnterpriseAlumni team today.