When was the last time you saw a great corporate Alumni page, activity, community, strategy?
The last one I saw was a recent tweet about Accenture sending their Alumni, Valentines days cards, saying “We miss you”. This kind of creativity will go viral every time; why? because it’s interesting, funny, innovative and personal. It ticks all the boxes. Not only would that be appealing to some of their Alumni but it puts Accenture in the forefront of other potential candidates minds when we see things like this, because so many business waste the connections they already have when it comes to great employees that have worked for their businesses before.
Whilst many organisations talk about utilizing their Alumni community, there are few organisations that do it well.
The article talks about candidates who will come into your organisation and because they are very talented and ambition may not stay for more than 3-4 years before they are looking for something new and exciting.
Now whilst not all organisations are able to evolve at the speed required to retain these employees, or are able to provide ongoing training, development and career opportunities; very few companies have a focused policy and trigger point, that ensures the conversation with the departing employee is one that guarantees an ongoing relationship.
If one of your best employees is moving on to do something else, then why not have a strong process in place that ensures you connect with them through every and all social channels.
Ask the question:
What information would they potentially be interested in receiving from the business in the future?
Are there areas of the business that they are interested in keeping up to date with re future developments?
Are there referral schemes for your Alumni group that ensures that you continue to tap into their networks and communities once they’ve left your business? what could this look like that would appeal to them?
Alumni’s are a hugely under utilised sourcing channel that many organisations just either don’t know how to tap into or don’t see the value. Even employees that you may not think are right for your business now, may be right in the next 5-10 years. They will have ongoing development through other businesses, create their own path and may be exactly what you need in the future. Thinking that you wouldn’t want them back now is short sighted.
So how can you set up an Alumni that can work for you as a strong sourcing channel?
Decide on a platform – There are many different ways that you can set up your Alumni. You can do it through Facebook, LinkedIn, there are also tools such as TalentCircles or a number of applicant tracking systems have Alumni capabilities.
Have a clear plan on how you will engage your Alumni community – what do they want from you? what do you want from them? be clear and transparent about this. I.e: “We are looking to keep in touch with talented individuals as they grow and develop their careers, we want to keep you informed about what we are doing as an organisation and we would love for you to share our information with your networks if you find it interesting”.
Reward your Alumni – make it worth their while being part of this community. I’m not saying everything has to be cash, maybe it’s movie tickets, flights, gadgets. Ask them what would be of interest and make it fun!
Really follow them and actively engage in conversations so that you can see what they are doing, then as and when roles come up in the organisation down the track that you think they may be interested in, you can tap them on the shoulder. If you’ve engaged from when they left your business and they are still around, then at least you’ll have a candidate that knows what the business is all about.
These are just a few tips to building a successful Alumni and a ‘whole career hiring strategy’. Be smarter with the communities you build and watch people come and go from your organisation with a positive experience and strong brand advocacy.