Why it is important to build a strong corporate alumni network

Today, CHROs and directors of HR in top organisations are investing heavily in corporate alumni programmes, such as Microsoft, BCG, Deloitte, PwC and McKinsey, to enhance employer branding

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An alumni network in the corporate industry is a pool of surplus business potential that can vastly benefit organisations in development. Alumni are among a company’s most efficacious means of external communication, and actively nurturing these relationships contributes immensely to a business’ success. In the corporate world, bonds once formed can serve for years. The ties between companies and their alumni can stay alive for a long time, facilitating rehiring and referrals. Nowadays, a not-so-good exit experience for employees can lead to tumultuous post-tenure relationships, which become a barrier to rehiring. In some cases, the candidates may not even refer people for the organisation.

Today, CHROs and directors of HR in top organisations — such as Microsoft, BCG, Deloitte, PwC and McKinsey — have clocked this necessity and are investing heavily in corporate alumni programmes, to enhance employer branding. In fact, they are using the alumni as a post-exit helpdesk for all employees leaving the company. However, building a platform with so many moving parts is not easy, and hence, companies lacking the facilities for such an endeavour often turn to third-party vendors to do this trick for them. Not only does this resolve issues in the system, but also adds in benefits for the organisation — reduced cost & training efforts, alumni survey, inclusion, diversity initiatives and so on.

Creating valuable environment for alumni

How important is alumni engagement? This question can have different answers, depending on whom you ask. Some may say it is absolutely essential for employer branding, while others may argue that it is rather a necessity for good return on investment (ROI). However, it’s evident that engaged alumni show up and stand up for the organisation, not only because they were paid once upon a time, but because they’re invested emotionally or otherwise.

Mastering the art of alumni engagement is no easy feat, especially when every workplace is different. Alumni engagement is a bit of a complex idea that describes the emotional connection they have with their ex-organisation. However, there are some sure-fire ways to keep our alumni involved and engaged.

It is important for the companies to communicate and become more emotionally intelligent to stimulate alumni engagement. In this era, where lifetime employment is no longer the norm, the companies must and should focus on maintaining a relationship of mutual trust, investment and benefit with their former employees. After all, they are the treasure trove of future business partners and top-notch rehires, potential clients and many more. Establishing a well-structured corporate alumni programme is paramount in maintaining a great relationship with ex-employees.

We, at Vaave, analysed the best practices one should acquire in order to build a highly efficient alumni programme. There are nine key drivers a workplace should maintain in order to drive a successful corporate alumni programme. You can find a detailed article on the same here

The boomerang programme

There could be multiple reasons for alumni to be motivated to join back the organisation — they may be looking for opportunities that were absent during their tenure, they may wish to be part of the same company culture and avail those same benefits, and so much more. One example could be the corporate alumni programme that fosters gender diversity for women, who take career breaks due to multiple reasons. Many women tend to take career breaks due to personal reasons including relocation, wedding plans and childbirth, and to take care of children or the elderly. Many a time, these short breaks turn into un-intended career-ending gaps.

Research has proven that the feeling of guilt that possesses women on a career break, never really does go away. While they are happy with their children, they are sceptical and anxious about resuming their career. Many others put their wedding / childbirth plans on hold, as they worry that it may impact their career. Yes, the struggle is real for women, but we can help them ride the wave. The benefit of rehiring employees is that they are likely to be more engaged and committed to the organisation upon their return. Boomerang employees exhibit a more positive attitude after they are rehired.

Boomerang employees are simply those who leave the company they work for, only to later return to work for the same company once again. To better understand ‘boomerange employees’ and whether it is a good idea to rehire them, let us take a closer look at this cohort.

These days, HR professionals and managers are realising that loyalty doesn’t necessarily end when employees move on to other opportunities or areas of focus. There are many working years in a lifetime and people desire the flexibility to pursue other options without burning their past employment bridges. Plus, with the benefits that boomerang employees can bring to the business, it can become a win-win situation for everyone.

Why should workspaces consider boomerang employees?

It takes less time and costs to onboard them.

They are likely to fit better into the company culture.

Rehires are already familiar with the role, duties and job expectations.

They bring back new skills, experiences, connections, viewpoints, and customers with them.

The already established employer-employee relationship adds to the company loyalty, and hence, increased retention.

At Vaave, we have been helping corporations build meaningful and everlasting relationships with their ex-employees. If the above post did raise any willingness or concerns in respect to building your corporate alumni programme, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@vaave.com or visit our website Vaave.

The author, Paresh Masade, Founder & CEO, Vaave, started with a belief to solve the challenges of employability & quality in the education sector and spent over a decade building Alumni Communities. A graduate of NITIE Mumbai, he currently helps both corporates and educational institutions drive meaningful alumni engagement.

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