With the increasing emphasis on maintaining relationships with corporate alumni, for sales, recruitment, evangelism and other purposes, what’s the difference between an average and an a-game alumni manager? What distinguishes an efficient alumni leader from an exceptional leader?
We set out the top ten traits to look out for when considering who is on your Alumni Community team.
- Alumni first: We all know the first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. And the second rule of Fight Club? You do not talk aout Fight Club! Equally set in stone is the first rule of a corporate alumni community. What is the first rule when considering the goals and values of an alumni community? The alumni come first. What is the second rule of a corporate alumni community? The alumni come first!
- Embraces technology: Great technology enhances, optimises and catalyses. It takes manual processes and automates them, freeing up team time to focus on value add areas. A good manager embraces the incredible tools available to turn a pretty good community into an incredibly powerful competitive advantage.
- Inclusive: An alumni community serves men and women of all ages, genders, geographies, interests, specialisms, needs, wants and experience. A great alumni manager recognizes that all demographics matter and indeed contemplates ways to bring them together – whether that be a way to engage retirees as mentors to graduates; connect alumni moving to new geographies so they have a community to welcome them; or ensure their site is compliant with standards serving the blind and visually impaired.
- Open minded, open spirited: Building an alumni community is a learning experience. A great alumni manager is open to learning from others who have built communities irrespective of whether they be competitors or allies – and shares their experience with those a few steps behind, who are in the early stages of building a network, so that all alumni communities share best practices. Join the LinkedIn corporate alumni leaders community here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8594949
- Value add: A great manager recognizes that the community being engaged have left the company but may still want to benefit from the huge resources their former employer can offer. Whether that be online learning or opportunities to participate in charity and Corporate Social Responsibility programs that reflect their interest, ensuring those assets are readily available is essential.
- Ideation: the creative process of generating, creating and developing innovative ideas is not limited to the innovation department. A great alumni manager seeks out colleagues in peers in other departments, thinking outside the box to find new and interesting ways that the alumni community, employees and company can interact to generate new and helpful ideas.
- Relevant: Technology allows the distribution of information to be relevant. No longer does an entire alumni community receive the same one message, wherever they are and whatever they do. Sharing relevant, context specific, engaging content is essential in a world where inboxes are overwhelmed with messages and ensuring the messages and insights that count reach the right person at the right time is not optional.
- Practical and realistic: A great community manager recognizes what’s interesting and what’s not! Whilst corporate news is important, alumni need more than a news feed with economic statistics, new office openings and changes in management! A great alumni manager surprises and delights by asking alumni to share their stories, curates offers, event discounts, recruitment opportunities and is keen to receive feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
- Future proofing: If software doesn’t integrate, there is simply no place for it. A good manager knows that working in a silo, with spreadsheets and systems that don’t speak to each other, that need manual updating and that cannot grow and evolve should be confined to the past. For companies and alumni to get the best from a community, they need and deserve the best tools.
- Thinking outside the box: An alumni community is not static. Rather, it’s alive. There are no rules and regulations; no boundaries, no limitations and no conditions. A great alumni manager knows that their enterprise is full of talented, interesting people with bright ideas and the more business units involved in the architecture of the community, the more vibrant it promises to be.