In an article published in Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business
Did you know that globally successful companies like Uber and Yelp were created from an informal version of Corporate Alumni Networks? Lucrative connections like these may be in your group of previous employees without you even knowing it.
Turning what used to be goodbye into lifelong relationships with alumni associations can open many new doors for organizations. These doors may have been previously inaccessible to them, or that they may not have known existed.
Building a corporate alumni network from the ground up can be challenging, but the benefits make this investment worth the effort. We have developed tips to help you build a corporate alumni network and address any challenges before they arise.
3 Steps to Build Your Alumni Network
Step 1: Plan your Alumni Network
To start building a corporate alumni network, you need a plan. This plan defines what your organization will gain from maintaining alumni relationships and what benefits your alumni will receive by joining.
A common goal for creating a corporate alumni association is to maintain mutually beneficial lifelong relationships. Why are these relationships so important? They open the door to build brand advocacy and improve recruitment efforts for your organization.
Use these benefits to define the objectives your organization wants to accomplish. With defined objectives in place you can determine how you will maintain engagement in your network.
Here are some questions you should consider when developing your alumni network plan…
- What is the goal for implementing a corporate alumni network for your organization?
- What kind of criteria will your organization use to determine eligible candidates?
- How do you want your participants to engage with their former organization?
- Will you use a tool like Corporate Alumni Software to manage your network?
By answering these questions, you can define your plan and ultimately, expedite your network building efforts.
Step 2: Define Your Marketing Strategy
Within your overall plan for your alumni network, you need to determine a marketing strategy to recruit and engage participants. It is important to market your alumni network from the moment it is launched. This ensures that you are increasing your network and keeping your alumni engaged
Invite Participants to your Alumni Network
A best practice for inviting participants into your corporate alumni network is to start from day one. Their first introduction to your network should happen during onboarding.
It might sound strange to discuss a network for former employees when they first join your organization, but reconsider. This is the perfect opportunity to show that your organization values staying connected even after they have moved on. Inviting new employees to join the network leaves the door open for future partnerships.
Take the opportunity to invite employees to your alumni network during their exit interview. Include registering your new alumni into your network in their interview check list. It gives them exclusive access before they even step out of the door.
Step 3: Engage Your Alumni
Like any relationship, communication is the foundation for engaging your alumni network. Plan for consistent communication to engage alumni and expand your organization’s access to information as well as support your brand.
Engagement doesn’t stop when your employee moves on, in fact, it is essential to keep exiting employees in the loop. There are strategies that you need to consider when planning how you will engage your corporate alumni.Promote Networking
Engage your alumni association through networking events. Studies show that 1 in 4 professionals don’t network at all but they want to. If professionals are asking for networking, you can give it to them.
Additionally, 41% of professionals report that they want networking opportunities but don’t have time to participate. Your alumni are busy professionals. You should provide networking opportunities at a time that works for them as an exclusive benefit when they become an alumni.
Provide Relevant Content
For alumni to stay connected and engaged with your organization, you must create relevant content that they find beneficial. Provide them with announcements on networking events and newsletters that update on your organization and the industry.
Encourage them to share ideas and opinions by providing forums, surveys and polls. This allows them to communicate with other alumni and current employees to share knowledge and receive feedback on thoughts. Choose the content that your alumni will be the most excited to interact with. This relevant content will increase alumni network engagement levels.
Share Alumni Success
Alumni engage when they feel like they are valued, so invest in them by personalizing communication to fit their needs. Send out newsletters that are directed toward them.
Did they retire? Did they start their own business? Maybe they choose to get experience in another industry? Whoever they are, craft messages with content that is important to your alumni network.
By giving them personalized communication, you make them feel like they are important which increases their level of engagement.
Encourage leaders to get involved
In each of these engagement strategies, you should encourage your organization’s leaders to get involved. Have them attend networking events, write blogs or even guest star in a webinar. This gives your alumni the chance to network with people they may not have had access to.
Originally published by Insala