Almost every college and university in the world has an alumni network for their graduates to stay connected to the school and to each other. Why haven’t businesses followed this concept?
No matter how great you are, how independent you are or how confident you are, you do not reach success without people. Put the ego aside and think about all of the wonderful employees who have made your business a success, including the ones who have left to pursue new careers and opportunities.
Remember, not every employee leaves because he/she is fired or because he/she hates the company. Many people leave organizations because of personal reasons, professional opportunities elsewhere that they just can’t pass up or other priorities. Often times, they leave with mixed emotions, knowing how much they love the organization and its people.
So, why are we just letting these people go and not staying in touch with them? Business isn’t just about revenue anymore. It’s about relationships.
Developing an alumni network for your workplace is one of the best ways to build relationships. Everything gets reviewed online these days. Employee satisfaction is no exception. With sites like Glassdoor, your current and previous employees are rating their satisfaction with working at your organization.
Maintaining and engaging a strong alumni network allows you and your business to improve in areas of need and continue doing the things you do well. Alumni feedback is just as important as the feedback you receive from current employees. It allows you to see trends in employment and employee satisfaction.
Engaging alumni also keeps them in your recruiting pool. For example, if a phenomenal employee left for a better opportunity, you can keep engaging them so that when an opportunity becomes available at your organization, they’ll know right away and might just consider coming back. You save time and money in recruiting, hiring, orienting and training because they’ve already worked for your organization, know the people and understand the culture.
There are also other ways to keep good employees around besides keeping them employed. Alumni can also be customers, business partners, donors, board members or volunteers. Forgetting about your employees who have left your organization is too common of a mistake that organizations make.
I wrote a recent post called Leverage relationships to reach success to encourage jobseekers to build real relationships with people in order to find new opportunities. It works both ways. Organizations need to leverage relationships with alumni to reach or maintain success.