Turn Employee Alumni Into Engaged Brand Ambassadors
So, you are thinking about ways to engage former employees. You want to tap into them and build an employee alumni program. It’s a great idea and one that, if done correctly, can be a very successful way to grow your business. But, before you start building any kind of employee alumni program you need to ask yourself, or your team a few questions. Doing so will practically guarantee your success.
Here are the top four questions to ask yourself before launching an employee alumni program.
- Why should you start an Employee Alumni Program? What are the goals?
Perhaps, in theory, the answer is obvious, “Create Engaged Brand Ambassadors.” But, again, what does that mean? Are you looking to rehire former employees? Are you hoping to develop new business through networking? Expand and grow your business’ brand? Thinking about and answering these type of goal questions will help lay the foundation of your Employee Alumni Program. Another side benefit of keeping healthy relationships with former employees is that a company can get important insight into its successes and failures and then use said knowledge to turn the ex-employees into engaged brand ambassadors for life.
- How do you measure the success of your goals?
Having the goal of “Engaged Brand Ambassadors” is great but, as mentioned above, it’s not only too broad, it’s nearly impossible to measure. Therefore, to have solid results you’ll need to have specific items to measure and those are tied to the goals you set from above. For example, let’s say you’re aiming at employer branding or recruiting and you want to target both new or boomerang employees, it would be essential to keep an eye on the number of applicants and hires. You should also monitor team retention rates. Once you have all of the data you can then use those metrics to measure your success and areas where tweaks need to be made.
Or, perhaps your main goal is increasing communication and knowledge sharing, you need to track engagement and reach. One way to do this would be sending a monthly newsletter and keeping track of your open and click-through rates. Additionally, if your newsletter contained certain links you to say an alumni website or online portal, you could also track new and returning visitors per month.
- What resources will be required to launch and run an Employee Alumni Program or Portal?
Okay, you’ve nailed down your goals and what you’re measuring, but what resources are going to be required to make everything work?
For instance, let’s say you have decided to send out a monthly newsletter. What all will be needed to map out an editorial calendar? How will you schedule content creation and design? How will you take care of the email distribution process? Can one person manage everything or will you need to delegate to existing employees?
As you can see, no matter what you plan, each and every case will be different and require a different approach. List everything out, delegate it to individuals and set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Once you have everything nailed down and communicated you’ll eliminate a lot of confusion and frustration and can move onto the final question, how often should I connect with alumni?
- How often should you engage with the members of your Employee Alumni Program?
Considering the fact that any alumni you engage are no longer working with your organization, there is really no guarantee that they will participate, read your emails or come to your events. You can increase the chances of them engaging if you supply them with information or services that are beneficial. So, as you start planning out everything, constantly ask yourself questions like, “If this were me, what’s in it for me?” By doing so you will find the alumni will be happy to hear from you and participate and your metrics will likely indicate when you can increase contact rates and how you can contact them for the best results.
In closing, remember an organization’s relationship with their employees doesn’t have to end just because they are no longer an active part of the organization. Instead, work to cultivate healthy relationships with former employees and turn them into brand ambassadors with these four simple questions. It really is worth the effort and you’ll turn Employee Alumni into Engaged Brand Ambassadors.