Having merely a corporate alumni network doesn’t mean that it will be successful. Most of the companies aim to keep their existing employees engaged, but overlook their alumni. They fail to realize that the alumni engagement is beneficial to an organization just as the employee engagement. The benefits that engaged alumni bring comprise of improved brand awareness, referral programs, and knowledge sharing to name few.
Here we bring you the most critical insights that can help you implement a successful corporate alumni advocacy program:
It is all about the Alumni; Not You
A need for an alumni program arises due to an organization’s specific needs, for instance, the need to re-hire alumni or maintain alumni relationships for business growth. The program, however, must aim to deliver value to the alumni. If the organizations take the alumni community just as an extra platform to encourage their products, services or news, it is likely that the organization won’t be able to maintain the convincing levels of engagement.
Identify the needs and wants of your alumni. You can make these out by carrying out casual conversations and surveys etc. you. They might be looking forward to go through the stories about the accomplishments of the alumni or they might be keen on getting a way into the thought leadership that comes from your company or they might want to keep themselves updated on any job prospects with your organization or old company. So, these are certain things that can help you work out strategies to maintain alumni engagement. So, it is essential to keep an alumni-first attitude for any organization.
Engaging Existing Employees is Crucial
Engaging your internal colleagues or existing employees plays a great role in building an external alumni community but at the same time this is critical. As your corporate alumni advocacy program takes off, you can ask your current employees to reach out to friends who were once a part of your organization and stimulate their contribution in the alumni network. When the alumni get these kinds of messages from their friends who are still the part of their old organization, it gives the program an individual and inviting feel.
Furthermore, internal partnerships help the alumni program deliver value to alumni and to your company. For example, a subject matter expert from a high-profile department can present cutting-edge research during an alumni webinar, or a senior executive can serve as the host of an alumni networking event—both huge value-adds for alumni. Partnerships with colleagues in Marketing/Communications, Talent Acquisition, CSR and/or Business Development also ensure that your program’s activities are actually helping to drive impact in these functional areas. Bottom line: your alumni program won’t be successful if you operate in a vacuum.
Encourage the Participation of the Executives
If somehow you manage to get in some senior leaders to prop up your alumni advocacy program openly, it directly communicates to the alumni that they are treasured by the company and so the alumni program must be paid attention to. This will help you bring a noteworthy alumni engagement with highly involved executives.
You cannot force the Community Growth
If we talk about larger companies, the initiatives and campaigns there are usually implemented at a global level. Also, they expect their stakeholders across the world to come together with an aim to execute the plans. This certainly works as a top-down approach. But when it is about the alumni programs, following a bottom-up approach can work out to be more effective which signals to start small and letting the program get momentum organically.
Thus, executing a flourishing corporate alumni program requires an agile approach and a right fervor to serve the alumni. Take your alumni community as a living element which is forever budding, altering and sprouting so it’s essential that you take into account the needs of the community to deliver them the delightful experiences that keep them engaged.