In an article for Digitalist Magazine, Director/HR Project Expert on Alumni Relations at SAP SE, Dr Christian Mencke explains his views on how corporate alumni programs can drive strategic transformation in a business. 

In his current role at SAP, the author’s focus lies on managing and strategically developing their alumni community in a way that will allow it to grow into a thriving network of active brand ambassadors, innovative business connectors, and truthful feedback providers with access to a wide and exclusive talent pool. 

As such, he is the ideal person to weigh in on this matter. Here is what Christian had to say about the correlation between strategic business transformation and corporate alumni platforms.

How Corporate Alumni Programs Can Drive Strategic Transformation in a Business

1. Provide Trustworthy Feedback Unhindered by Internal Politics

When ex-employees are successfully enticed to become alumni, their singular viewpoint immediately becomes very valuable. They know the company well enough to provide sound input on matters of transformation, and are simultaneously far enough removed to give completely honest feedback because they are no longer embroiled in the company’s day-to-day politics. 

2. Help Organizations to Crystallize Their Purpose

When a business can provide its employees with a common, authentic purpose behind which they can rally, strategic transformation becomes much simpler. Alumni can provide exceptional insight into whether a given purpose ‘feels’ authentic and will be accepted by current employees. This trial by fire is likely to pave the way for a company purpose that can serve as a guiding light when times get tough.

How Can An Alumni Program Drive Strategic Business Transformation

3. Contribute to An Enhanced Consumer Experience

The only real way for a business to differentiate itself from its competitors is to provide a truly amazing consumer experience. Alumni networks naturally draw on a wide variety of perspectives that can be immensely helpful in this regard. 

Clever businesses can see this for what it is – a readily available strategic asset that can be managed at a very reasonable cost when ex-employees are approached as a family of like-minded members rather than a formal organization.

Including members of an alumni group in strategy development sessions and getting their input on execution can provide an interesting perspective on what consumers prefer and what their perceptions are about the business at large.

4. Foster Agile Decision Making 

The very nature of an alumni community and the way they communicate make these groups much more agile than formal organizations. The informal structure allows for faster information flow and an intuitive layer of access to knowledge from a group of professionals who are affiliated by choice rather than circumstance. As such, their agile attitude can help companies to keep pace with the dynamic digitized economy.

Conclusion

Corporate alumni programs can drive strategic transformation in a business in a variety of ways. This includes providing trustworthy feedback, helping organizations to crystallize their purpose, contributing to an enhanced consumer experience and fostering agile decision making.