There may be little hope for reconciliation between Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow but conscious uncouplings between companies and employees don’t have to last forever. Thanks to corporate alumni programs, companies such as Deloitte, IBM and KPMG are able to stay connected with former employees — often in hopes the employees will one day come back to them as “boomerang hires.”
Increasing the possibility of rehiring former employees isn’t the only benefit to creating a corporate alumni program, however. If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your employment brand, increase the quality of your candidate referrals and generate new business ideas, you may want to consider creating an alumni program for former employees at your company.
Be warned, however: A corporate alumni program is like a talent network in that your company needs to devote time and effort into maintaining it, it should have the support of leadership, and members should have an incentive to join. Below are four things you must do before creating your corporate alumni program.
Four Steps to a Successful Corporate Alumni Program
- Get the support of the C-Suite. If your company’s leaders do not believe in the value of building and maintaining a corporate alumni program, it will never work. Communicate to executives the benefits of a corporate alumni program — including how it can cut down on time and money associated with recruitment and help your company generate new business.
- Don’t neglect it. Getting people to join your corporate alumni program is only the first step. Keep members engaged by organizing meet up events, such as networking happy hours, breakfast seminars, wine tastings and golf tournaments. Send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter that keeps members up to date on the company as well as each other.
- Make it about them. Create a webpage exclusively for corporate alumni, where they can go to share content, get news, look up and connect with other members and learn about new events. (Want to start small? You can also create a dedicated Facebook page or LinkedIn group.)
- Give members an incentive to join. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. Employees need to know that the network is there to benefit them just as much as the company. And while the opportunity to expand their professional network can be a big draw, consider offering additional benefits as well such as ongoing professional development seminars, networking events or special incentives like discounts to sporting events and concerts.
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