What Is A Corporate Alumni Platform

A Corporate Alumni Platform is a powerful software tool that businesses utilize to engage and manage their network of former employees.

The leading platforms are AI-driven, cloud-based, highly secure, brandable, and configurable. They also integrate with the systems companies already use for candidate and employee management. 

By keeping up a connection with its alumni community, an organization gets access to a very valuable talent pool. It’s a network of brand ambassadors who can be called upon to fulfill opportunities in recruitment, business development, marketing, sales, and more. 

The Rise Of Corporate Alumni Platforms

Corporate alumni platforms and networks have been around for a while, with businesses applying varying degrees of structure and formality to their programs. 

But, the recent shift in the way people work – think contingent work, the gig economy, and WFH – has prompted many organizations to step up and invest in formal platforms to support their programs. After all, this is the solution to maintain contact with their network of existing and former employees. 

Investing in a corporate alumni platform enables companies to re-imagine the employee exit process by reframing it as an ongoing opportunity for both parties. The realization has hit that a corporate alumni network boosts talent management strategies and, ultimately, the bottom line. 

To demonstrate this, let’s take a page from the book of Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces They Want, the Tools They Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate. 

When researching the book, Jacob conducted interviews with 150 executives. He also analyzed over 250 global organizations, including Fortune 100 companies. His findings show that organizations that invest in lifelong relationships with their employees typically see 2x revenue, 4x profit, and 6x employer attractiveness over those that don’t. 

And, according to Morgan, when it comes to HR impact, alumni are the best hires. In short, companies that form lifelong relationships with their employees consistently outperform organizations that don’t. 

There are two sides to the coin too. Former employees want to stay in touch but often have limited interaction with their former employers. Reid Hoffman suggests that the majority of alumni networks on LinkedIn are run independently of the company. 

To this end, businesses can do more to articulate the bidirectional value both parties get from continuing their relationship.

Creating a Business Case With Supporting Statistics 

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) report on the Business Impact of Corporate Alumni Networks, companies realize that maintaining a lifelong relationship with departing employees delivers a competitive advantage in uncertain times.

They found:

  • Alumni rehires and referrals are the #1 and #3 sources of quality hires 
  • 72% of former employees would return happily
  • 32% are more likely to recommend the company
  • 20% of open jobs currently are filled by alumni

At the same time, retention experts at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) expect to see voluntary exits rise significantly throughout 2021 and into 2022, calling it the “Great Resignation.” 

Top 5 Benefits Of A Corporate Alumni Platform

Corporate alumni platforms are spaces where organizations and employees nurture connections that benefit everyone in the long run. 

Organizations provide a valuable resource and active community for former employees and, in return, receive several benefits that support the bottom line. These are:

1. A Source Of Recruitment and Referrals

On average, it takes around 42 days and costs about $4,000 to hire a new employee. But, by leveraging the power of their alumni platform, organizations can save significant time and resources on recruitment. 

Provided employees depart a place of work on good terms, many would welcome the opportunity to return one day. In this sense, former employees are a pool of pre-qualified, pre-vetted, and easily-accessible talent.

During their time outside the business, they progress in their career, learn new skills, and expand their networks. Should they be welcomed back, they bring these skills and resources with them. 

They also know the company culture and systems, so it takes less training and onboarding time to bring them up to speed. For the same reason, they can also make qualified recruitment referrals as they know what it takes to thrive in an organization they previously worked for. 

2. Boosts Business Development

If a good relationship is maintained, alumni are highly likely to recommend their former employers to their networks for new business opportunities, products, or services.

In a similar vein, alumni can give businesses a competitive edge in the market. Cem Sertoglu and Anne Berkowitch write in the Harvard Business Review how companies that maintain ties with alumni have a boots-on-the-ground understanding of what their competitors are doing. 

3. Helps With Brand Building

Former employees can be powerful ambassadors and influencers for your organization. In fact, alumni that actively engage through corporate alumni programs are up to 32% more likely to recommend their former employer’s products or services. 

Adding to this, organizations with an alumni platform can better measure their employee Net Promoter Score. This metric measures the overall perception of their alumni program and brand over time and helps to predict future business growth from this community.  

4. Increases Marketing and Sales Opportunities

As alumni form new work relationships in related industries, they expand their networks. This can benefit their former employer if the alum introduces current and former employers to each other or recommends their products and services. This creates powerful opportunities to generate alumni-assisted sales. 

In other instances, alumni could start their own new business enterprise and choose to partner with their former employer. In all cases, it is a win-win for both parties. 

5. Access To Business Mentors

Many former employees and members of the alumni network have a vested interest in seeing the business succeed. 

They may hold shares in it, be retirees, or wish to stay in contact with connections they made during their tenure. To that end, they are often willing to provide mentorship opportunities to current employees. 

Of course, this is invaluable for employee engagement and business advancement as workers become more skilled and knowledgeable.

What Is A Corporate Alumni Platform: Features To Look For

When selecting your corporate alumni platform, you need an agile product that puts the alumni at the center of the program. Just imagine what you can do with these tools:

  1. Personalized dashboards that allow community managers to organize their alumni database by attributes such as office location, market segment, business unit, career level, etc. This way, they can deliver a contextual, personalized experience to some five generations of alumni across devices.
  1. Reporting and analytics capabilities that provide real-time insights. This data helps employers understand their users and identify which activities and content drive value. 
  1. Task automation that allows for user-friendly, automated workflows. Sequences and journeys are easily created and effortlessly deliver contextual experiences to users.
  1. Recruiting via a recruiter dashboard with a suite of tools that analyzes your alumni community to make it simple to target alumni for rehire. It also helps drive referrals and empowers the alumni to start a conversation about returning to the organization.
  2. Event marketing to invite alumni to anything from corporate events, webinars, and global conferences. Relevant audiences can be identified in one easy-to-use interface.
  3. Messaging tools that allow companies to build mobile-first emails and segment audiences into target groups. 

The Importance Of System Integrations

We live in a digitally connected world. Integrations provide businesses with a robust and connected framework that allows them to get a bigger picture of the organization. 

With this in mind, a leading alumni platform works to provide: 

  • Seamless integration and business logic by synchronizing data, configuring flexible and intelligent workflows, and automating systems processes. 
  • Platform connectors that enable no-code integrations and require minimal resources to deploy. Templates can be used as-is or modified to include workflows that are rule-based or support business logic.
  • Successful platforms that stay ahead of changes in emerging technology, global security, and the overall world of work. This provides improved engagement and greater access to the workforce. 
  • Platform partners, including the world’s leading HRIS systems that extend organizations’ existing technology investments. 

Final Thoughts

Corporate alumni platforms of the 21st century are the future of talent management strategies. They are agile, adaptable and affordable, and based on robust HR technology. They can deliver meaningful, valuable, and relevant interactions between alumni and the organization, 24/7 and on a global scale. 

A corporate alumni platform also provides benefits that former employees cannot find elsewhere, turning them into thriving, sustainable communities that create value for organizations and themselves.