The Unarticulated Value Of Corporate Alumni

by Community Admin in Featured
Published: 16th May 2018

As more and more customers recognize the value of building an Alumni program they are also realizing the true value does not end with recruiting and boomerang hires!  

Recently we released the 2018 Corporate Alumni survey identifying the opportunities and value drivers of engaging and creating a successful Corporate Alumni Community. Our findings uncover a broad spectrum of uncapitalized value in alumni communities far outweighing the previously thought of purpose of recruiting.

Alumni programs have been long known as a top-notch recruitment tool. However, by expanding its potential, leveraged skillfully, alumni programs can transcend past recruitment, offering value far exceeding its singular function. Getting the most value out of an alumni program comes down to changing the perception, visualizing, and utilizing the other opportunities available. Not sure where to start? Here are 10 key areas an alumni program can provide value to your organization.

  1. Brand Advocates:  Employers live and die by their reputation. Alumni have a lot of influence in terms of your brand’s reputation. They can refer people to your organization, or they can deter people from joining. New hires look to alumni to get a feel for the company. In fact, studies show that advocates are 70% more likely to be viewed as a reliable source of information and 50% more likely to create content which positively influences a potential purchase. When leveraged properly, alumni are a cost-effective tool for showcasing your brand, allowing for better business and operations.
  2. Project/Contingent Work:  43 percent of the workforce will engage in the Gig Economy by 2020. In an employee-centric workforce, organizations have to adapt to the needs of its strongest people. Companies that can expand on workplace flexibility corner the market on top talent. As contingent workers continue to rise, you can look to engage high performing alumni for contract projects. This allows you to have access to top talent in a mutually agreed upon manner, filling in talent shortage gaps.
  3. Diversity/Inclusion: A recent study by Deloitte found that 48 percent of companies consider themselves adequate at focusing on global cultural diversity, and 69 percent of companies consider themselves adequate or excellent at supporting a variety of family models in the workforce. Diversity in the workplace helps in ideation and business development as different people create new solutions. Removing unconscious bias by utilizing your alumni allows the organization to achieve diversity in an authentic manner. Organizations can utilize their alumni program to help bridge the gap. Tap alumni to recommend candidates or communicate the need to fill positions that alumni may be interested in. Survey alumni from diverse alumni, using their feedback on how to build a more inclusive environment.
  4. Sales & Business Development: In addition to recruitment, an alumni community has plenty of opportunities to become a sales and business development funnel. “Not only do they {alumni employees} have knowledge of the outside world that a company’s current employees do not, they also understand how the organization works,” explains Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn. Alumni often stay in the same industry and ecosystem. Maintaining communication and relationships with alumni can produce new business opportunities and partnerships as alumni in these positions are a natural gateway to connecting their former and current employers, which works in all parties’ favor.
  5. Empowering Employee Resource Groups: Establishing mission-driven groups helps foster connections and meaningful relationships within your organization for both current employees and alumni. Amazon, for example, in step with hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021, will create an employee resource group to help support their new hires. Giving alumni access to these resource groups is a great way for them to stay connected and engaged in your company.
  6. Graduate Recruitment: Today’s graduates have big decisions to make when it comes to finding the right employer. They want to work with a high-bar employer that provides the ability to make business connections that help them throughout their career.  An alumni program with a strong presence and networking opportunities shows potential new hires that the organization is willing to invest in them even after their tenure, which can boost the organization’s employer brand and appeal significantly.
  7. Corporate Social Responsibility: In addition to advocating for your brand, alumni can also champion your CSR efforts. During their employment, employees become involved with the initiatives of your organization, making an emotional investment in the success of these programs. HBR found that one company was so successful at keeping up ties with former employees that it got them to lobby government officials on its behalf.  Giving alumni the opportunity to still play a role in CSR campaigns allows them to publicly support and showcase your initiatives to people outside of the organization, boosting your brand awareness and impact.
  8. Co-Innovation: When high performing alumni leave for different work opportunities, there is no doubt that they are honing new skills and abilities in their new roles. Top alumni looking to rejoin your organization possess more experience and a new vantage point that can help bring innovation into your company. “Alums can have both the necessary objectivity and the respect and trust of the company to be listened to when they point out uncomfortable truths,” says Hoffman.  Leveraging their experiences outside your company can ultimately help the organization grow in ways that it could not internally.
  9. Investor Relations: There’s a great chance that alumni left with stock options and stock purchase programs, putting them in the investor seat. These alumni will have a vested interest in the progress of your organization. Keeping the lines of communication with alumni investors, create content that directly impacts alumni in their investor roles. In turn, these alumni can provide capital assets, act as brand advocates, and will continue to invest in your organization.
  10. Global Mentoring: Alumni make for great mentors as they have direct experience working in your organization. Pairing new, rising talent with alumni eliminates any competition bias, yet gives your current employees to freedom build an authentic relationship with their mentor. Alumni mentors take out the potential for internal conflict while giving mentees powerful insights into the company.

Widen your scope, improve your business

Alumni programs drive value into an organization in so many ways. It’s all about how you view the optics. Widening the scope from solely focusing on recruitment, you’re able to see that a strong program can also assist in different functions and operations of a company. Invest in building a phenomenal alumni program to see the multitude of positive impacts it can have on your organization. With ingenuity and consistency, the sky’s the limit.  

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