Leveraging Your Corporate Alumni Program To Drive Recruiting

by Alumni Content in Corporate Alumni   |    Last Edited: 21st January 2020

Why a dollar spent on your Corporate Alumni Program is worth six times more than a dollar spent on your existing career site programming.

The practice of investing in Known Person recruiting vs. Stranger recruiting is becoming the norm for organizations.

PwC’s CEO survey reports that chief executives view the unavailability of talent and skills as the biggest threat to their business. The data shows it is nearly impossible to glean sufficient information about an applicant’s past performance to predict success in your organization and more applicants in the funnel is not the solution!

First. The value of a Corporate Alumni Program and how it can fundamentally drive recruitment, referrals, and new business is not opinion. Hundreds of companies (98% of the F500 have some sort of returnship program), thought leaders, and HR experts across the globe have measured and released the results showing the overwhelming benefits engaging former employees can have. This is not a drill ☺

Your organization, like so many others, is investing significantly into technology, people, resources, sponsored listings, recruitment fees, and leaps of faith to try and find a candidate who has no affinity to your brand with the hope that your interview and selection process can foresee their applicability to your business.

A candidate coming in off the web who knows very little about the inner workings of your organization certainly isn’t aware of how your organization works, the secret politics, or the quirky thing with the elevator. Yet, former employees who performed incredibly, whom you flagged as regrettable losses, have gone to work at your competitors, customers, or partners, have gathered new skills, contacts, and perspectives are raising their hand, telling you they are ready to return. The phone is ringing; they are just waiting for you to answer.

The significant investment companies place into finding a needle in a haystack is not only the standard position for many organizations, but this investment is significantly antiquated, underwhelming in results and a legacy method of Stranger recruiting vs. Known Person recruiting.

Stranger Recruiting: Searching for a candidate that you don’t know and doesn’t know you. Literally a stranger to your organization.

Known person Recruiting: Filling a role with a candidate that has a pre-existing relationship to your organization either as a prior employee, a qualified referral, or some other working relationship.

It’s the same in recruiting as it is in life, where the chance you marry the person you meet on Tinder despite the “on paper” good fit is often met by the “in practice,” not so much.

Introductions by friends, the “oh my god, I have to introduce you to …..” moment has such a higher chance of success.

This concept of “known person” is the same in the corporate world, knowing or having a direct link to the person exponentially increases the odds of success. I am pretty confident no one is debating me on this.

Here are some numbers for you:

  1. 50% of all stranger recruits end up being mistakes.

A mistake doesn’t have to mean a total flop, might mean a moderate performer, someone on a performance improvement plan, or someone who left soon after hire or just didn’t deliver at the level expected.

  1. Stranger Recruiting (Job Boards / Career Sites) is the #6 source of quality candidates.

The #6 source of quality candidates is also likely your primary or secondary source (by volume) of external hires.

  1. Investment into recruiters who chase passive candidates on average only fill 11% of their positions.

Of the more than 20,000 talent professionals who responded to a LinkedIn survey, 86% said their recruiting organizations focused “very much so” or “to some extent” on passive candidates

What percentage of your applicants actually convert into employees, national data suggests only about 2%. Most organizations cannot directly tie their hiring practices to good employees and even fewer track the cost per hire and time to hire. Instead, the focus seems to be more budget to get more applicants in the funnel and a string of tools promising data science to help you better identify the “fit.” When in reality most organizations cannot actually show what methods produce the best hires and would be better served with fewer applicants in the funnel.

Looking at the data from Alumni programs globally shows: 

  1. 72% of past employees would return to the company
  2. 24% of leavers regret their job change (imagine if you knew who and could reach out to them!)
  3. Alumni & Alumni Referral programs can fill 20% of your external hires annually
  4. Returners (boomerangs) have a 44% higher retention rate over three years

Organizations have this heavy focus and budget to find the Stranger that has a 50% chance of being a low-quality hire, and, if you do find that person, they only stay on average 4.2 years and can take on average 60-90 days to become productive in the organization.

Based purely on the quality source of hire matrix, the same dollar investment would be 6x more powerful, being driven into an Alumni program to actively target former employees looking to return.

Many companies think about an Alumni program as a nice to have, a fun initiative to show you care and want a relationship for life, a trigger point in a “Moments That Matter” PowerPoint presentation, or a showcase that you put your people first and they are more than a “number.” However, you should double down on your investment into your Alumni program, because that’s where the people who want to come back are sitting, waiting for you extend a hand.

When we discuss what a Corporate Alumni Platform means, this is not the legacy Alumni Platforms, the ones run on WordPress, the ones that feel like a Yahoo Group that have news, events and a directory and where most Alumni managers are spending every day sending out email campaigns trying to get people to join or re-engage. 

Alumni 2.0 is about delivering meaningful, relevant, and valuable interactions with your former employees, providing them a suite of benefits they cannot find elsewhere, and is taking this tribe of former employees and turning them into a community that is self-sustaining and is ready to be called on when needed. 

Why do you have to start your Alumni program now?

Your competitor is doing it, and they are just starting. In 2 years they will have taken their Alumni Engagement budget and turned it from a cost center to a profit center, because while the leading reason organizations develop Alumni programs is recruiting driven – the research shows that investing in your Alumni increases sales lead generation and the closing capability of the organization.

So why am I frustrated about the lack of budget into Alumni programs – because a tiny investment yields incredible results? 

Those programs where there is top-down support, a passionate program lead, and a fair budget are cleaning up and seeing Alumni fill 20% of their open requisitions.

Want to learn how EnterpriseAlumni is delivering incredible returns for our customers around the globe?

Original Article On LinkedIn

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The Value (ROI) Of An Alumni Program