Video game giants Activision Blizzard share their secrets of building and maintaining engagement with your alumni network.
Successfully building an alumni community doesn’t just come from an impactful launch, but also finding the best ways to engage your alumni community continually. Listen to our conversation with Briana Lebel and Alex Horner from Activision Blizzard, which speed-ran their community growth, hold an average newsletter open rate of 80%, and are building a talent pool that’s proving itself a valued source of boomerang hires.
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Five Things We Learned About Alumni Power-ups and Tactical Insights
Alumni’s specific skills can be in high demand …
“There’s a high demand for specific talent in game design. There can be only handful of people doing these exact roles, so it’s key to tap into our alumni because the skill sets are so niche ....”
Alumni are most interested in boomerang job opportunities …
“Out of our 1350 members, 80% consistently open the newsletter, and 60% go straight to the jobs portal ...”
EnterpriseAlumni is there for everyone’s alumni needs …
“EnterpriseAlumni has provided on-going support such as: how do we keep growing our network? How do we create these boomerang hire stories? It certainly saves me from being in interviews all day!”
You don’t necessarily need an internal alumni sponsor …
“We haven’t run into any resistance internally, so haven't felt we’ve needed one so far …”
EnterpriseAlumni’s ALUMS conference was a great place to pick up ideas …
“The idea for the charity donation matching was inspired at EnterpriseAlumni’s ALUMS conference. One of the speakers mentioned something, I jotted down in my notebook: charity? That started our path to a new benefit …”
What's the value of an alumni network for a company like Activision Blizzard King?
Alex: There’s a high demand for specific talent in game design. There can be a handful of people doing these exact roles, so it’s key to tap into our alumni because the skill sets are so niche. We know people who leave the company are brand advocates for us. So we focus on people who have been with us as well as people who might want to join us.
How do you encourage people to sign up?
Briana: We invite people on their last day of employment. We’ll then send a personalized email that celebrates their importance as a former employee, using inclusive language that is relevant to everyone. We've had a 10% conversion rate, which has been great to see.
How do you keep your alumni engaged?
Briana: Right now, communication is very one-sided. Alumni can’t talk back, although that is something we’re working on, so engagement falls heavily on us. We send a monthly newsletter to call out game updates and boomerang hire stories, invite people to virtual events, showcase our swag store and link to our careers portal portal which is always the highest clicked link each month. Out of our 1350 members, 80% consistently open the newsletter and 60% go straight to the jobs portal.
What does success mean for the ABK alumni programme?
Alex: Our ambition was to get to 1,500 members by the end of the year, which we’re pretty close to. We’ve seen warm leads coming back as boomerang hires, which is great. We’re looking to offer the same benefits to our alumni network that are available to our employees, such as our charity matching programme and game discounts. As the network grows, it will be interesting to see how many people leverage those opportunities.
What the role has EnterpriseAlumni has played in the development of your alumni programme?
Briana: EnterpriseAlumni has been there for all of it. We built our strategy and goals around the platform's functionality. We get on-going support from the team such as: how do we keep growing our network? How do we create these boomerang hire stories? It certainly saves me from being in interviews all day trying to interview people interested in sharing their story. The idea for the charity donation matching was inspired at EnterpriseAlumni’s ALUMS conference in June. One of the speakers mentioned something, I jotted down in my notebook: charity? That started our path to a new benefit.
How do you engage a global audience around your three different brands?
Briana. We spread the wealth. Not all stories come from the US. We make sure we highlight each of our brands. Activision and Blizzard are primarily in the US, King is primarily in Europe and the UK. So we split a lot of our stories. For example, we dedicated one newsletter to King’s 20th anniversary. We’re planning to do the same for Activision and Blizzard as they launch their new EVPs in the New Year.
Do you have an alumni sponsor, and if so what is their role?
Alex: We don't have an alumni sponsor. We haven’t run into any resistance internally, so haven't felt we’ve needed one so far.
Will there be anything exclusive for alumni on the swag store?
Briana: We’ve just had our brand designer come up with alumni specific swag such shirts and hoodies with the logos and alumni on them. So yes, we do want to give them something different. They are promoting our brand out and about in the world, which is free advertising!
Does the number of alumni applications hires and referrals meet your expectations?
Alex: The number of people who have said that they're interested is far higher than we were anticipating! Over 10% of the network have clicked through, which is amazing.
Do you provide additional benefits to your top alumni?
Briana: We have not explored that yet. Our executive recruiting team are tracking who's in the network and reaching out to them individually; for example, if there's a senior level position that would be a good fit.
How many more people are involved on a day-to-day basis?
Briana: Just me, really. With the supportive of EnterpriseAlumni.
What have been your highlights of launching your network?
Briana: I got a lot more joy than I expected because it did fall into our laps a little bit. Being able to engage with a population of people has been really interesting. Former employees are an untapped potential. It’s nice when people take it to heart and consider things for themselves.
Alex: I’m very proud how the network has gone from a very loose idea into a fully-fledged network. I’m very excited to see how it evolves.Watch recording