There’s plenty of talk around how rehiring boomerang employees can benefit an organisation, but few companies have yet to take advantage. One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep in touch with ex-staff members is to establish an alumni talent network.
The Importance of Alumni
If you’re considering rehiring an alumnus, you know off the bat that they’re a good cultural fit, they know the company policies and processes. They’re comfortable with products and services. But alumni bring much more than that.
They can make quality referrals
Because alumni know the organisation, they can refer candidates with the right skills and who will fit in. Also, as the candidates understand the alumni successfully worked for the company, they’ll be more likely to accept an interview invitation. Alumni can boost your talent pool.
They can refer new business
As they move on in their career, alumni become exposed to different industries and markets, and they can recommend you with confidence. Again, knowing that they will have referred by someone who can vouch for a company, buyers are more likely to support the business. Alumni add credibility to business referrals.
Employers have still not Found their Feet.
Most alumni networks are on social network platforms like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. Corporate alumni programs are few and far between.
A 2014 study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands found that only 15% of companies surveyed had a formal alumni network, while 67% had informal alumni networks established by employees. What that indicates is that those past employees are keen to keep in touch with their previous employers; however, employers have yet to catch on and make an effort.
Establishing an Alumni Talent Network is Easier than you Think
It begins long before an employee resigns. Making employees feel valued, focusing on engagement and having an offboarding policy in place are where it all starts.
Employees who feel valued even after they’ve resigned will stay loyal to an organisation. During offboarding top talent must be asked if they’d like to join the alumni network. The bond of mutual trust has already been established, and it’s up to the employer to keep it alive.
Setting up a group on social media doesn’t take much time, but it does take time to maintain and keep the group engaged, providing open vacancies, company news and new developments; much like an ongoing company newsletter. You also have to take into consideration any comments, questions or enquiries from alumni must be addressed.
Add Benefits and Incentives
There are plenty of ways that you can keep your alumni network engaged.
Incentivise candidate referrals just as you do your employee referrals program. Offer a reward for every successful placement. You can offer cash rewards, discount vouchers, paid holiday trips or tickets to top events. Receiving recognition can make alumni feel that they’re still part of the organisation.
Free webinars and online training programs for skills improvement is another option. For a small investment, you not only upskill people but if you do employ them again, you get a better-qualified employee.
Another assurance is that people who continually upgrade their skills are top talent.
You can also connect with alumni through social or industry events. This way, you keep them directly involved, and they can mix with past colleagues and new hires.
An alumni talent network reinforces your employment brand in a multitude of ways. As alumni work as brand ambassadors, your organisation will gain a market reputation as an employer that cares for its employees. You will earn an employer of choice status, and top candidates will start approaching you for jobs.
Imagine the savings on the cost of hire and time to fill, as well as added income from new business. Can your company afford not to establish an alumni talent network?