Kevin BinkoJune 13, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

5 Corporate Alumni Program Best Practices & How to Implement Them

Corporate alumni programs offer significant benefits for organizations seeking to expand their talent pool with qualified candidates who are ready to make an impact from day one. 

But a corporate alumni program encompasses more than just a list of past employees. It involves the strategies and actions you take to engage past employees in a meaningful way that’s mutually beneficial. 

Individuals who engage with alumni networks make up a rich pool of qualified talent for TA teams looking to gain an edge in difficult talent markets and access untapped referral networks. 

In this blog, we’ll highlight corporate alumni program best practices that will help you create an engaging, effective, and meaningful program at your organization. 

5 Corporate Alumni Program Best Practices 

1. Define goals and objectives for your program 

The first step in creating an effective alumni network program is defining your goals and objectives. Without clear goals, it's difficult to know what modalities to use to engage alumni. 

Ask yourself: What do we want to achieve with this program? Is it to rehire former employees, get referral candidates, improve brand awareness, or all of the above? The answer to these questions should inform the rest of the program’s design. 

Pro tip: Being very clear on your program goals will also help you choose the right technology that supports your efforts, streamlines communication, and offers analytics to track your progress. 

Once you’ve outlined the goals for your program, back them up with timeframes. Pairing a goal with a measurable time frame helps you gauge how on track you are to achieving your goals. For example, if your goal is to hire 10 alumni within a 4-month period of time, consider setting a conversion or apply rate goal for alumni in 2 months. 

This type of approach ensures that you can step back and look at how your program is aligning with your goals before your overarching goal deadline. If you’re trailing behind, it provides you with an opportunity to adjust your strategy based on the data you’ve already gathered. 

2. Identify your target audience 

Although these programs are designed for corporate alumni, it’s essential to identify the target audience for your program. 

For example, if you’re looking for an individual with a specific technical skill, such as an engineer or a CSS coder, consider adding those criteria to your target audience preferences. This allows you to curate a niche pool of alumni that could be an ideal fit for your specific open role. 

However, we recommend that you include all alumni who are eligible for rehire to be as inclusive as possible. Most boomerang employees return within 36 months of leaving the organization — be sure to include individuals within that time period in your target audience to maximize the potential impact of your program. 

Don’t forget to exclude employees that are unhireable, such as those who were terminated for reasons that disqualify them from rejoining the organization. 

3. Personalize your outreach and be authentic 

Creating personalized experiences is the name of the game, whether you’re in talent acquisition or talent management. This concept also applies to engaging past employees. Individuals who participate in your network are real people that your team can connect with in a meaningful way. 

Beyond just email and SMS campaigns, we recommend creating a page on your external career site dedicated to alumni network information and instructions to join. This makes it simple for someone who’s interested to gain access to your program and stay in touch. 

Depending on the supporting capabilities you can create additional custom content pages for things like open job opportunities, company news, termination info (COBRA, etc.), free learning resources, and surveys. Surveys can be leveraged to gather valuable feedback and insights from former employees on what’s important to them and will resonate with this audience. 

This type of feedback can be incorporated into future campaigns and program strategies to ensure the corporate alumni network is a valuable resource for both the individual and the business. 

4. Host events to foster a sense of community 

Extending beyond digital outreach efforts, consider hosting events to connect with alumni. Events are a great way to foster relationships with former employees and actively promote and recruit for open positions. 

Events can be virtual or physical and can range from happy hours to lunch and learns, and even informational training sessions on new tools or valuable skills that attendees can apply to their existing roles. (This specific example highlights your company’s commitment to investing in their development on a personal level, which can go a long way.)

A few ideas for events could be workshops like resume building or interviewing, or simple networking events. It’s important to diversify events to be inclusive and reach different alumni throughout the year. 

5. Utilize automation to ensure consistent communication 

Campaign automation can save you time, effort, and resources by handling repetitive tasks such as following up with alumni to ensure that they are aware of upcoming events and job openings. It also streamlines post-event follow up if an alumni attends one of your events to nurture any warm leads. 

By using a CRM, your team can segment alumni data, personalize messages, set up event invitations, newsletters, and much more. When using the right tool, your team can fully configure workflows on the back end to allow for more creativity in engagement.

Unlock boomerang employees with an effective alumni program 

An effective alumni network program can make a significant difference in your organization. It can help you foster community among former employees, generate referral candidates, improve your employer brand, fill open roles faster, and even reduce recruitment costs. 

To achieve maximum results, it is essential to define your program's goals, identify your target audience, personalize communication, utilize automation, and host various inclusive events. By implementing these corporate alumni program best practices, your network becomes a powerful talent acquisition and retention tool. 

To learn how Phenom Alumni Network can support your existing program or help you launch a program for the first time, book a meeting with our team

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