For employers, an alumni network is a way to tap into ex-employees for job referrals for candidates for employment, for potentially re-hiring a good employee who has moved on, and for staying engaged with employees who are no longer employed by the company.
Benefits of Corporate Alumni Networks
Corporate alumni networks are becoming an increasingly popular tool for keeping employers and their former employees connected. There are LinkedIn and Facebook Groups dedicated to alumni from many organizations. There are also private alumni networks provided by companies, so they control the interaction and discussions.
Many alumni networks are private and hosted on the company's own server. They require that employees and ex-employees register in order to access any content provided by the firm. Once you are registered you will be able to log-in with the user name and password you created when you joined. Registration on private networks may need to be approved by the company.
Other companies have taken advantage of free social media platforms to create a network and are easily found on LinkedIn and/or Facebook.
The Value of Alumni Networks for Individuals
There are many benefits for former employees, current employees, and future employees, if the network is open to anyone, who are interested in joining an alumni network specific to a firm for which they have worked. In addition, joining a network is a good way to stay in touch with the people you worked with during your tenure at the company.
Alumni networks are also a good tool for honing industry-specific skills and staying in touch with industry-related news. Most alumni networks offer links to articles about industry or company-specific developments, professional education credits and training, and best practices in the field.
The Value of Alumni Networks for Companies
Employers have a vested interest in keeping in touch with their former employees since the hiring process requires such extensive time and use of resources. By staying in close contact and making former employees feel connected to the company, employers increase their chances of getting personalized job referrals of qualified candidates for open positions. An alumni network also provides an employee pool of qualified individuals that may return to the company in the future as "boomerangs" with more experience as jobs are created.
Who Can Join Alumni Groups
Some alumni groups are private for employees (past and/or current) who have worked at the company.
Other company groups are public and the information is available to any user browsing the site, which is especially useful to those who may be considering a job at the company.
For example, Goldman Sachs Networking has a group on LinkedIn in which users can post and read information in the Discussions section that might be useful to others who have worked or are planning to work for the company. Another example is Teach for America's alumni network which has over 24,000 members.
How to Find Alumni Networks
To find company alumni networks, type the name of the company you have worked for in Facebook or LinkedIn and review the search results. Keep in mind that many companies do not refer to these groups as "alumni" groups and may use other terms such as "network" to describe the group, so you may have to look through a few groups to find the one you are looking for.
Groups are not always exclusively for alumni use and are many times for anyone who currently works for the firm in addition to those who have worked previously and moved on. Usually there is one official group with the most members followed by several smaller sub-groups that are many times unofficial.
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