Developing Your Talent

Develop Your Talent

How to Build Long-Term, Sustainable Talent Networks Within Your Organization

By Kristen Leverone on July 29, 2014

As hiring picks up and confidence in the job market increases, we may begin to see the long-predicted increase in the number of quits, or those individuals who change jobs voluntarily.  When employees leave, organizations have an opportunity to engage former employees through alumni programs.  The benefits of doing so are far-reaching.  According to a recent survey conducted by LHH, alumni programs help the business by creating brand ambassadors (69%), converting alumni to customers (57%), and acquiring customer referrals (56%).  Organizations implementing alumni programs recognize the unique opportunity they offer to engage with employees after they leave the company and develop positive, dynamic relationships.

Our survey also revealed that most organizations are slow to recognize the benefits of such a program and even slower to put one in place.  This short-sighted viewpoint could have long-term consequences.  Findings revealed that more than half of the organizations (54%) reported they rarely or never engage with past employees, regardless of how long they were employed, what they contributed, or whether they retired, left voluntary or were let go.  The relationship between employer and employee is severed once the employment contract ends.

What can organizations do to build relationships with former employees and reap the business benefits associated with lifelong engagement?  Based on this research and our extensive experience with employers of choice, LHH recommends the following best practices when developing and implementing a corporate alumni program:

  • Make the commitment.  Engage all employees after they leave to foster vibrant, ongoing conversations and provide visible support from senior leaders.
  • Encourage participation. Allow former employees to play an active role in the program.
  • Get the word out. Use multiple channels to promote your program (website, social media, newsletters, etc.) and place emphasis on finding ways to connect with people in more personal, authentic ways.
  • Protect intellectual capital.  Look for opportunities to tap retired employees for knowledge-sharing and consulting assignments to fill gaps in talent needs.
  • Become a key connector.  Act as “talent exporters” by connecting exiting employees with potential job opportunities with existing vendors, suppliers and customers.

When companies commit to engaging employees in lasting relationships, they build a powerful culture of respect, commitment and inclusion, while opening up new channels to increase revenue, recruit new talent and strengthen their brand.

For a further examination of how corporate alumni programs are built, the challenges faced, best practices implemented and results achieved, view the complete LHH Corporate Alumni Survey Results.

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