Setting Your Sites on Company Alumni

A corporate alumni program allows an organization to keep in touch with former staff members. Besides generating goodwill, an alumni program can be a source of future employees. Company alumni sometimes return to the fold themselves, and they often refer friends and family members to their former organizations. Alumni programs run the gamut from basic, on- and offline newsletters to full-blown alumni websites or sections of sites. Communication may be supplemented with events that allow for “live” interaction with ex-employees. Selecting A Solution SelectMinds is a company that designs and implements corporate alumni solutions. SelectMinds’ Corporate Management Alumni Software (CAMS) includes such features as an alumni directory, messaging, news, events and content publishing. The software module’s custom interface enables an organization to create an alumni site that adheres to the look and feel of its main Web presence. Another advantage of the SelectMinds program is that it facilitates alumni interaction. For example, alumni are invited to sign up and create accounts and profiles. Understanding that people may be reluctant to share personal data on the Web, the SelectMinds system has a secure login to protect member privacy. This comfort level encourages participation which, in turns, means that more information will be available for management use. But SelectMinds goes beyond software. The company offers a complete solution that involves coordinating all phases of an alumni program. SelectMinds staff members will help a company find and contact former employees, work with management to develop alumni Web site content, manage site inquiries and analyze data to determine potential hires. SelectMinds will also plan and manage alumni events. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the SelectMinds Web site, where a demo and a quick tour of the software product are also available. A Sense Of Community Corporate Alumni builds, manages and hosts online corporate alumni communities. According to Corporate Alumni Community Manager Eric Zack, communities can be created by companies or by former employees. At Corporate Alumni, communities are arranged by industry, and fall into one of four categories: “Hi Tech East,” “Hi Tech West,” “Investment Banking” and “Other Communities.” Selecting a category leads to a list of participating companies. Choosing an individual company name takes a former employee to a page where he or she can log in and access the community. However, an alumus or alumna wishing to enter a community must first register and obtain a password. There is an online form for employment verification purposes. Hire and termination dates and a supervisor’s name are among the data entry areas. Once a former employee is a member of a Corporate Alumni community, he or she can elect to post a profile. Selecting the section called “My Profile” generates a template, which will create a detailed document that contains, among other things, a general statement in paragraph form written by the member. It also includes fields where current employment information gets entered, as well as sections for personal information, like hobby preferences. A Corporate Alumni community features a directory of members, a listing of events, members’ yellow pages, a discussion forum, a jobs section, and a news area, where a member can post news items. There is also a section called “Alma Mater,” where a company can post corporate news. Members participate in a Corporate Alumni community to keep in contact with former colleagues, but they also use the online location to share job leads and job listings. These get posted at the community jobs section, known as the “Career Center.” Outside companies and recruiters can also post jobs to individual communities by contacting Corporate Alumni. There is a fee for this service. Alums Are Chums According to Zack, the Corporate Alumni concept depends largely on referrals, and that current members refer most new members to Corporate Alumni communities. He says a community can be a source of boomerang hiring for an organization, as well as a network for new business opportunities. An alumni program allows a former employee to maintain an affiliation with a previous employer by putting him or her in touch with former “comp”adres. While getting together online may not be quite the same as getting together at the job, the basic concept is the same. Former employees are networking on the ‘Net. And, by utilizing an alumni program, a company may net some candidates. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Paula Santonocito is an e-recruitment strategist and columnist for AIRS, the global leader in Internet recruitment training, tools, news and information. AIRS AIRS AIRS