Engaging Corporate Alumni Through Events
A core component of Corporate Alumni Programs is engagement, and the best way to do this is through events, either online or off. Bringing people together for a social occasion or a specific type of content is what alumni are looking for.
In today’s world, the vast majority of our contact with people is online. Whether it’s social media, email, texts, teleconferences or video meetings, virtual communication is now the norm. In many ways, there’s no going back. Events post-COVID will be a mix of traditional in-person events and virtual ones to capture all types of member preferences.
An alumni program is all about connections and building relationships which mutually benefit both the former employee and the company. A well-treated former employee can be an excellent source of new business or talent referrals, and may possibly return one day themselves in a more senior role.
Passive communications such as emails and newsletters rely on recipients to open and read. They’re important at informing a community member about news, but to really forge deep, personal connections, face-to-face contact is critical for genuine engagement. This is where events come into play.
Why Hold Events Just for Alumni?
In traditional community management, the goal is to make sure members feel valued and have a sense of belonging. Corporate alumni are no different, and events are a great opportunity for alumni to connect with each other in low-key settings. To encourage alums to attend, you need to sell the “what’s in it for me” benefits, so they feel good about putting down their devices and venturing out. They include:
- Networking is the most obvious benefit of attending company-sponsored events. Attendees get a chance to interact with each other and learn first-hand about new opportunities, meet new people, and establish relationships with more senior members of their profession. Highlighting senior executives from your company who will be in attendance is a great selling point.
- Knowledge building is also a great way to get face-to-face time with alumni. Find an expert speaker relevant to current and former employees who can provide insights on what’s happening in the market. Or engage a public figure who is a draw for a wide range of attendees like a university professor or local celebrity.
- Featuring an Alumni is an inviting way to encourage attendance at a company event. Identify a well-known alumnus and ask them to offer insights from their careers to current employees or alumni with less experience.
What Kind of Events?
The types of events you can offer alumni are endless. When it’s safe to do in-person events, there’s everything from happy hours, to go-karting, to wine tastings or volunteering that have proven successful for our clients do. For virtual events, we have seen real creativity, including online baking classes, a magic show via Zoom and thought-provoking lectures.
Inviting alumni into large company events such as holiday parties or conferences is an excellent way to expand the audience and make alumni feel connected, especially if your alumni budget is on the low end. If you run a global alumni program, establishing an alumni coordinator in every office or region who can keep you up to speed on local company events will help keep alumni in the loop.
In a more mature program, events can be coordinated in key markets where recruiting needs a boost or there’s a large population of alumni. If your company sponsors corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, make sure to add alumni to the invite list to contribute to charitable drives or attend related events. Planned events require more effort and budget on your part but can produce quantifiable results that justify the investment.
Events are the foundation for engagement in a corporate alumni program. The PeoplePath platform is a robust alumni events management system, and it enables the alumni manager to perform all of the necessary tasks in creating an event. However, the magic of an online or in-person event really brings the whole community to life.