Earlier this year, we wrote about the power of corporate alumni programs as a recruitment tool. Alumni, often referred to as boomerangs, can serve as a dynamic resource, especially when it comes to attracting talent and branding the company. Leveraging an alumni community can be a win-win for an organization and former employees. Deloitte & Touche's alumni network keeps track of over 75,000 former employees. Other organizations such as Microsoft, Oshkosh, and Ernst & Young have also formalized alumni communities to effectively create a talent pipeline and strengthen their branding.
With unemployment at staggering 9.7%, how effectively are organizations engaging former employees? Last week Right Management’s outplacement services, a division of Manpower, announced that 18% of laid-off workers are being hired back by former employers. Clearly, alumni programs are becoming a priority.
So, why would companies re-recruit former employees?
1. Critical Skills- Through our Talent Trends research, we found that companies still face a shortage of critical skills particularly for line managers, executive positions, and technical positions. By re-evaluating former employees, organizations have a pool of candidates with the needed skills and capabilities within their fingertips. When facing resume overload for tough to fill positions, turning to a network of alumni can save recruiters both time and energy.
2. Onboarding- According to results from our upcoming onboarding report, 99% of organizations have implemented or plan to implement a formalized onboarding process. No longer a buzz word, onboarding is a strategic part of any talent strategy. By engaging alumni in this process, organizations will enable a smoother transition and improve time to productivitiy.
3. Employee Referral Programs- Alumni can help strengthen employee referral programs (ERP). The US Army’s Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) supports the Army’s Active Component recruiting; Alumni serve as an example to potential recruits. For more information on Employee Referral Programs, visit http://www.bersin.com/Lib/Message.aspx?Docid=10338428
4. Employer Branding- Alumni can help to strengthen employer branding by communicating a strong message about their former employers. By re-considering alumni for future work or networking in a down economy, leading companies prove that the loyalty between employer and employee is not forgotten.
How can companies start to build their alumni programs?
1. Social Networking- Many companies are leveraging both external and internal social networking sites to stay in contact with alumni. Peoplesoft, DHL and Fidelity are examples of companies that have started alumni groups on LinkedIn. McDonald’s UK is an example of a company that engages alumni and provide discounts to former employees on their internal social networking platform.
2. Contact Management- Contact management is a way to build a strong talent pipeline for a strong economy. Many organizations are including former employees in this pipeline. We found that 41% of companies today indicated that contact management is a “must-have.”
3. Business Issue- Best practice companies gain support for alumni programs by making this a business issue rather than an HR issue. By showing the value of alumni in building branding, increasing productivity and revenue, talent acquisition departments can build the necessary resources to support these programs such as a dedicated alumni webpage.
As more and more organizations begin to increase their recruiting activities, a formalized alumni program will give best practice organizations a significant advantage by helping to reduce the time-to-fill and increase productivity. Is your organization establishing an alumni program? We would love to hear from you…
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Josh Bersin writes on the ever-changing landscape of business-driven learning, HR and talent management.
His favorite topics include strategic talent management, creating high-impact learning organizations,
and how organizations drive business change and competitive advantage through talent strategy and technology.
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