Alumni Research & Resources

For companies looking to start a Corporate Alumni Program, the following collection of research and insights provides guidance on some of the key value themes, how programs can be measured and the ROI a company can expect from launching an Alumni Network for former employees.

Scholarly / Research On Corporate Alumni Networks

SAGE Journals

Beyond nostalgia: Identity work in corporate alumni networks

Although corporate alumni networks are a developing practice, academia has said very little about them and their members. In this article, our goal is to provide an account of how members of such networks construct themselves as alumni. To that end, we adopt a narrative approach to identity construction and empirically explore the identity work that the members of one corporate alumni network carry out in order to sustain their identification with a past organizational setting. Our case study leads us to document four ‘identity stratagems’ (Jenkins, 1996) through which members incorporate elements of their past professional experience into their self-narratives: nostalgia, reproduction, validation and combination. It thus allows for a better understanding of corporate alumni networks and their members, while also contributing to the broader identity literature by further documenting how organizational participants can incorporate elements of a past professional experience into their self-narratives.

Emerald logo

Knowledge transfer after retirement: the role of corporate alumni networks


The paper argues that organizations can use corporate alumni networks to capture and transfer the knowledge of baby boomers after the latter retire.


The paper introduces the concept of corporate alumni network and explains how this tool can facilitate post‐retirement knowledge transfer.


Corporate alumni networks enable organizations to recover the know‐how and know‐who of their retired employees in two ways. On the one hand, they help employees to preserve their personal relations with retired baby boomers. As a result, employees can rely on their retired colleagues for information and referrals in the same way that they do with other members of their informal networks. On the other hand, corporate alumni networks allow organizations to create a portfolio of working retirees who can be called up when necessary.


Although most organizations are aware of the need to preserve the in‐depth knowledge of soon‐to‐retire baby boomers, they focus mostly on pre‐retirement knowledge transfer activities. The paper expands the horizon by discussing a post‐retirement strategy.

Elsevier logo

Follow the trails: A path to systematically designing corporate alumni programs

Organizations today are facing increasing amounts of turnover and evolving labor markets. When employees leave they become corporate alumni, which initial research suggests are an important and valuable part of an organization’s network. Corporate alumni can provide value as brand ambassadors, a source of employee referral, as a return employee (i.e. boomerang), or through knowledge sharing. One way to establish a strong network of alumni and achieve some of these benefits is to establish a corporate alumni program (CAP). Although CAPs are increasingly being recognized as beneficial for organizations, little is known about how to systematically design and implement these programs to enhance the likelihood of success. In this article, we utilize instructional systems design processes to offer guidance for how to strategically develop CAPs. We analyze existing programs to highlight common elements and use this research as a basis for creating the TRAILS typology, a way to designate practices for CAP implementation. We also suggest ways to evaluate and determine whether these programs are successful.

Facts & Figures on Corporate Alumni Programs from various research sources, surveys, and analysis as quoted in articles across and social media.

  • DaVita rehired 1,700 former employees which accounted for 15% of its “new hires” in 2013. (link)
  • Alumni Brand Advocates are worth 5x the value compared to an average customer. (link)
  • Alumni campaigns can drive a 4.5% MoM increase in glassdoor ratings.
  • 72% of past employees would return to the company if the opportunity arose. (link)
  • 98% of Fortune 500 companies have some sort of Alumni Program
  • 23.5% of job changers regretted the change. (link)
  • A well-designed Alumni program can generate as many as 17% of all hires (link)
  • 73% of Millennials are willing to engage in contract work
  • Employee tenure is now down to only 4.2 years (link)
  • The average hiring failure rate is 46% (link)
  • Alumni Rehire and Referrals are #1 & #3 quality source of hire (link)
  • 20% of Sodexo external hires are from their Alumni pool (link)
  • Boomerang hires have a 44% higher retention rate over 3 years (link)
  • 44% of net new business has an Alumni associated to the deal in some manner
  • 86% of 20,000 survey participants stated their recruiting organizations focused “very much so” or “to some extent” on passive candidates (link)
  • 40% of organizations have outsourced much to all of their hiring processes to “RPO” companies. (link)
  • PwC’s 2017 CEO survey reports that chief executives view the unavailability of talent and skills as the biggest threat to their business.
  • Average cost per hire (below management grade): $4,129 per job in the United States, according to Society for Human Resource Management (link)
  • Recruiters who chase passive candidates only fill about 11% of positions. (link)
  • EY fill 17% of their workforce positions via Alumni, Citi fill 10%. Citi see a $75,000 saving on a senior hire returning to the organization

WorkPlace Trends Report

  • 15% of employees have boomeranged back to a former employee.
  • 40% of employees say they would consider boomeranging back to a company where they had previously worked. This includes 46% of Millenials, 33% of Gen Xers, and 29% of Baby Boomers.
  • 76% of HR professionals say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past.
  • 40% of HR professionals say their organization hired about half of their former employees who re-applied for a job with them.
  • 56% of HR professionals and 51% of managers say they give high or very high priority to boomerang job applicants who left in good standing.
  • 33% of HR professionals and 38% of managers agree that already being familiar with the organization’s culture, and fewer training needs, are the biggest benefits to hiring back former employees.

(* Quality of hire is defined as the percent of new hires who pass their one-year anniversary and score at least “meets expectations” on their first review)