An article published on the HR Daily Advisor platform references several experts in the field of corporate alumni platforms who all weighed in on the matter of alumni program priorities. This includes business journalist Paula Santonocito, co-founder of EnterpriseAlumni James Sinclair, author Reid Hoffman, and talent management expert Josh Bersin.
Their collective concern is that businesses tend to focus too heavily on the advantages these programs hold for the company (such as recruitment) instead of bearing the interests of the community members in mind. After all, a corporate alumni program may fit the new normal to a T, but it will only ever be effective when you can offer ex-employees something they can’t find anywhere else.
Here are a few alumni program priorities that can make all the difference in promoting long-term community engagement.
Alumni Program Priorities That Should Be On Your Radar in 2021 and Beyond
1. ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)
Employee resource groups, also known as ERGs, refer to groups that develop within a company on a voluntary basis, normally based on shared interests and experiences.
It varies widely from one enterprise to another and can range from groups that support one another on the basis of gender, ethnicity, or religious affiliation, to more informal community groups that do collective charity work or mentor each other as peers.
Companies that promote the formation of ERGs within their business sphere enjoy multiple benefits. It lays the groundwork for a more diverse and inclusive employee community and can even pinpoint burgeoning leaders within a larger team. Another benefit it holds is that ex-employees want to stay in touch with these groups and will use a corporate alumni platform to do so.
2. Project Work
When ex-employees go on to start their own ventures in a complementary field, they are often in a unique position to offer their services for project work. If an alumni platform offers community members the opportunity to bid on projects or share their expertise on a freelance basis, it provides a great incentive for prior employees to engage.
Global management market leaders like McKinsey & Company understand this benefit all too well. They have ex-employees working at 15,000+ other businesses around the globe, and according to statistics, 20% of their alumni go on to start their own ventures. In fact, more than 400 of their prior employees now stand at the helm of $1 billion companies.
This is a great pool of resources to draw from for consultation work and collaboration!
3. CSI (Corporate Social Investment)
When companies have CSI initiatives in place to promote environmental, social, and economic in their communities, ex-employees often continue to support and amplify these endeavors once they move on to a new place of employment.
Community managers should rethink the priorities of a corporate alumni program – it needs to serve alumni as much as it does the business. ERGs, project work, and corporate social investment are some of the main reasons why former employees will stay involved with a company beyond the exit.
For early access to The Alumni Advantage Book, sign up to the mailing list. Authored by James Sinclair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni, it provides an end to end understanding of how organizations are recognizing and leveraging their former employees.