6 Things We Learned About Starting Your Own Employee Alumni Network
“Employee Alumni Network” isn’t a phrase you hear very often, which is unfortunate, because it’s an incredibly useful and engaging strategy for businesses to focus on.
Employee Alumni Networks are how organizations engage and continue a relationship with their prior employees. Companies with Employee Alumni Networks recognize the significant investment they have made in their organization’s individuals and understand the value in maintaining a relationship even after they’ve left the company.
NEWaukee’s latest event, Employee Alumni Strategies – The Full Talent Lifecycle, with Jeremy Fojut, NEWaukee co-founder, and Jenn Pedde, Vice President of Customer Advocacy at PeoplePath, was a discussion on how to start and optimize your Employee Alumni Network so you can move from a reactive hiring approach to a proactive strategy in 2022.
Here are 7 interesting and helpful things we learned about starting your own Employee Alumni Network (EAN):
1. There are typically 4 motivations for an employee joining an Alumni Network:
Jenn Pedde says, “There’s four major reasons or motivations for why someone participates [in an EAN]: Career, Social, Pragmatic, or Mission Driven.” Career are people trying to level up with more networking opportunities, Social are people looking for events and ways to connect with others, Pragmatic are people who want discounts and perks, and Mission Driven are people who still identify with the mission of the organization and want to stay in touch.
2. Organizations with EANs usually have 3 top goals in creating these programs:
Talent Acquisition, Business Development, and Brand Awareness. Out of these three, Jenn Pedde suggests focusing on Talent Acquisition because of workforce issues due to The Great Resignation. Jenn Pedde also points out that, “If you started one [an EAN] today, you’re not missing out on anything. In fact, today is the best time to start because people are interested in it now.”
3. It might take a while to build up your network:
If you build an EAN today, the idea would be that all present and future employees would be involved, but it might be difficult to find past employees, and adding all your current employees wouldn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, but one you definitely want to start cultivating now.
4. Think about your goals:
If your organization’s goal is Talent Acquisition, the leader of the EAN would likely be HR. If it’s Brand Awareness, Marketing is going to be involved. Regardless, you’re going to need your C-suite backing you up; they are the ones who can communicate the EAN’s goals, as well as fund it.
5. A common mistake is not surveying alumni to see what they want:
Jenn Pedde let us know that the percentage of people who actively engage in EANs will increase the more you feed it, meaning you need to know what kind of food to serve. Figure out through surveys and group discussions what your alumni are looking for: content, connection, networking, or something else.
6. Now is the best time to create an Employee Alumni Network:
With all the people moving around and changing jobs lately, you want to create a solid EAN now, because in 5-10 years, people are going to be in four or five different alumni programs. You want your company to be one of them.
You can learn even more about Employee Alumni Strategies with these additional resources from Jenn Pedde: