The general consensus in the industry is that once you've resigned from a company, the relationship ends there, even if you parted on good terms. While that may have been true a decade or so ago, many companies these days are finding that with the present skills shortage - particularly in the media, marketing and advertising industry - it may be wiser to maintain a positive relationship with talented ex-employees.
So says NATIVE co-founder and MD, Jarred Cinman who highlights that globally, best practice organisations are beginning to recognise that an alumni programme will not only improve employer branding but can also serve as a powerful recruiting tool.
Cinman highlights five key benefits to creating an alumni programme:
NATIVE leads the way locally
- Since employee referral programmes are often considered the most effective recruiting tool, companies should consider expanding these programmes to include alumni. Former employees have great insight into the company culture and can help identify quality of hire.
- "Boomerangs" are former employees who have been hired back into the company. Best practice organisations are actively expanding their talent pools and engaging with both active and passive candidates.
- The most critical impact of alumni programmes falls under the auspices of employer branding. Often, former employees may one day become clients and companies are well-advised to treat their alumni with the same level of attention and support that they show their customers. .
- Staying in touch with the firm's alumni provides you with an opportunity to broaden your list of networking connections. Similarly, alumni programmes provide an opportunity to add to your business development connections, particularly if your alumni have moved in-house to corporations or to firms that might serve as referral sources of business for you.
- By creating a greater network, you have a wider base of knowledge regarding the marketplace. Your alumni can serve as resources about such things as what would attract individuals to apply for positions in your firm, what the going salaries are elsewhere in the marketplace, and ways to increase your competitive edge.
To this end, NATIVE has initiated an innovative networking programme called NATIVE Nation, aimed at re-establishing relationships with ex-employees, encouraging their participation in industry talks and up-skilling opportunities as well as giving them a "foot in the door" for future vacancies at the agency.
Cinman says organisations eager to launch similar initiatives can build into their programmes a number of different incentives to attract and retain the interest of ex-employees. "We incorporated items which make sense for our industry and which appeal to our staff. From simple elements like invitations to external and internal events we participate in, to incentives for filling positions we may have open.
NATIVE Nation members for example automatically qualify for the Recruitment Bounty, which basically entails all ex-NATIVE employees to receive a finder's fee anytime they assist in filling a position at the agency. Similarly if they apply for a vacancy, they instantly get an interview and a signing bonus equivalent to the bounty if they're re-hired." Cinman says it's a great way of always keeping the door open in a way which benefits both parties.
"We recognise that staff needs to grow and develop, both personally and professionally, and that sometimes, they find those opportunities elsewhere. The NATIVE Nation initiative provides an opportunity to retain the relationship with them, offer them the chance to further enhance their skills and give them the opportunity to return to our fold, should they wish to," concludes Cinman.