Time for Mentoring

When Your Mentors and Mentees Don't Have Time for Mentoring

No one can put more hours in the day, but we can give you a few tips and strategies to make the most of the hours you – and your mentors and mentees – do have.

Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Build Your Corporate Alumni Network

Building an alumni network from the ground up can be difficult. Luckily, we have plenty of experience helping a diverse range of organizations do this. Here are a few items you should consider when building a corporate alumni network.

Decide on the population pool early:

What kind of criteria will you have for candidates? Do you want to include current alumni in your portal? An advantage there is you are able to start with a larger, more active pool. Will you include former interns, contractors or those who were terminated from their positions? Determining the answer to these and questions like these will expedite your network building efforts.

Reach out to existing unofficial groups:

This is one of the first things that should be done when creating your alumni network. Find out if any unofficial alumni groups already exist, and invite them into the fold. If they are passionate enough to found or join this group, then they are likely prime candidates for your official alumni network. Don’t forget to screen them based on the criteria we established above.

Sell the idea early...and late:

The first adjustment made to current procedure when looking to expand your alumni network concerns onboarding and recruitment. Pitch the alumni network as an employee benefit. This is an exclusive club they gain admittance to from the moment onboarding concludes and they should know its value. Prospective employees should also be told about the network as way to express how the organization cares for its own.This should prompt a change in your exit interviews as well. Exiting employees should be offered the alumni network as a way to keep up with company news, events and business opportunities. 

Communicate frequently:

The various advantages of having this portal all go back to communication. The more engaged your network is with the service, the more likely they are to be active. Active, engaged members are the core of successful corporate alumni networks. [Click to Tweet]

Simply put - this is a discourse community that is dependent on all of its pieces working cohesively. 

Get together when you can:

Although you are all connected virtually, alumni events are a positive reason to gather the troops and bring everyone face to face. These networking events can spur business development, serve as recruiting tools prospects and career development for the alumni. This is also a chance for representatives of the host organization to address the alumni at a relaxed, social gathering that keeps the relationship fun.

Informal versions of Alumni networks birthed companies like Yelp and Uber.
[Click to Tweet] Imagine what your organization can accomplish with the powers of technology and your alumni combined. For more information visit http://www.alumnipro.com

Building more effective women leaders through mentoring.

Who do you envision when you think of a CEO? [Click to Tweet]
More than likely, you're imagining a white man in his mid-40’s and in a well-tailored suit. He sits in his corner office, overlooking a booming metropolis, and drinks black coffee. While the preceding scene may not be wholly accurate or universal, it is familiar and indicative of one truth: we have been socialized to disregard the potential of women in leadership.
[Click to Tweet]

“This is a man’s world, but it would be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”

As James Brown puts it - this is a man’s world that relies on the power of women. But with the ever changing landscape of the workplace, women will soon be credited for all of their contributions through leadership roles.

In 2016 we have our first woman presiden
tial nominee. This is reflective of the fact that more than ever, women are holding executive positions. What better way to prepare them for these roles than through mentoring?

Women Working With Women

Women in mentoring programs have the homefield advantage when it comes to mentoring other women. They are able to relate to the struggles other women may face when rising through the ranks. Studies show that women approach mentoring differently than men do 
and consider different skill sets important.

cording to Forbes, Women and men function differently in the workplace. For instance, women are more motivated to go after higher positions for higher pay, where as men are more concerned with status. It would only make sense that women mentoring other women would be an effective strategy.

“While communication is see
n as the most important attribute of good leaders by both sexes, women are more likely to perceive this skill in terms of listening and engaging in two-way dialogue, while men are more likely to focus on broadcasting messages,” the article stated.

Here are some of the benefits women experience through mentorship:

  • Improved leadership skills and managerial capability utilizing those women who are most qualified fill leadership gaps. 
  • Retain knowledge and transfer it to others in the organization, especially women who are willing to mentor hi-potential women. 
  • Diversify the culture by supporting under-represented groups and promoting gender - conscious work places. 
  • Accelerate time-to-proficiency for new hires including women who will be eager to stay because of the commitment shown to their career development. 
  • Retain talented women by showing a commitment to women’s career development.
A recent study published by Mckinsey shows that womens advancement in the workplace not only morally strengthens the foundation of the organization, but actually drives more business and puts more money in the american economy.

“Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. Closing the global gender gap could deliver $12 trillion to $28 trillion of additional GDP in 2016,” the study stated.

This study not only shows the call of action for filling the gender gap, but clearly outlines that it’s a positive notion all across the board. Women employees are being paid more, staying longer, and feeling more satisfied with their careers

For more information on starting a mentoring program or to schedule a demo today, visit http://www.insala.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Interview with Insala's Alumni M.D. David Goggin.

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We sat down with David Goggin, Insala’s Managing Director of Alumni Services, to discuss how corporate social networks are helping organizations utilize their dormant talent.

What’s the usual feedback you receive from clients of Insala's Alumni Network solutions?

We usually receive positive feedback around our career tools, branding capabilities, and how integrated our platform is (i.e. they don’t need to go outside the platform to create their messages or content etc.). Users tend to enjoy having the ability for registered users to invite unregistered users to register. People also like our events tools as well.

The fact that we have CRM capabilities in our platform is also a good selling point.

What advantage does our proprietary software have over LinkedIn, specifically? 

With our portal the client owns the data, with LinkedIn the user owns their data
We give better reporting
We have better branding capabilities
We have better interaction/engagement tools like group events, targeted job opportunities etc.
We target content and events to specific user groups/populations
We produce better metrics and reporting around user activity
Our integrated messaging platform with branded/personalize messaging capabilities
An ability to define their alumni user experience

What is included in the “basic package” for Alumni networks?

Directory/People Search
Content Management
Events Management
Job Opportunities
Candidate Referrals
Message Manager
Advanced Reporting Tools
Custom branded login screen
Branded User Portal
Mobile Access
Login with LinkedIn
Login with Xing

What are the full customization options for clients who choose purchase the full suite?

Insala Career Tools
Integration with HRIS
Integration with CRM
Integration with SingleSignOn
Custom URL Masking

How many people do you need to have a successful alumni network?

We have clients with networks ranging from 250 up to 800,000 users.  An alumni network can never be too small. Realistically, it should be around 500 to warrant a portal like ours.

Is this an option for small to medium businesses? And By extension, how large does a company need to be to support an alumni network?

 I would say that organisations of 2,000+ employees would benefit from a defined alumni programme.

Can we transition networks from LinkedIn to our suite?

Yes we can, but we do it differently. We start with taking data from the client’s HR database and then we send out invitations to register. Once the portal is set up, our clients also promote the portal in their LinkedIn group, driving registrations. Clients can use both our portal and an official LinkedIn group together, rather than one or the other.

How long does it take to get one of these networks set up?

With our new configuration tools coming soon, we should be able to setup a Standard Edition in 45 days.  An Enterprise Edition would take somewhere between 60-90 days, depending on the number of other systems the client would like us to integrate with.

For more information on our Alumni Suite and the possibilities it offers, visit http://www.AlumniPro.com today.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Effective Alumni Networking in a Job Search

Looking to change careers, but all you’ve got is an alumni contact list full of people in your current industry?  If you’re going to look for a job within your corporate alumni network, it’s best to approach the right people.

 If you share an alumni at ABC incorporated, then you should target your approach to whomever you are appealing to. Don’t ask them to do something they can’t do, and don’t expect any more than what they tell you. If you’re in IT, for example, you wouldn’t approach a corporate alumnus on the sales team for hiring opportunities. Here are a pair of helpful tips to make your efforts get you more noticed in today’s competitive jobs market:

Don’t come off as desperate or transactional

Think about it. You can typically smell desperation from a mile away. If the first thing you open up with in your job search is your inability to find a job, then you’re doing it wrong. Bring something to the table, even if it's just lunch. [Click to Tweet] Your alumni base already knows that you’re reaching out for one reason or another, especially if you didn’t know them well at your host organization. At least offer to take them out for chance to discuss business so that there is no misconception on what the point of the meeting is. Some prefer to get straight to business, and a meeting may not be necessary. Either way, present value in exchange for the value you aim to gain from them.

Be genuine in your approach

This ties into the last point. State your intentions clearly from the start. While there exists a need for general networking amongst your alumni base, when looking for a job it is best to make it known early on. If you’ve properly networked before the need for a career transition arose, then you’ve done it right. For the rest of you, it’s time to microwave some relationships. Ask about the company culture, the needs of the department you’re looking into, and anything else you can’t find out on the company website.

The job search is difficult, especially if your skillset is specialized after years in an industry. [Click to Tweet] Finding that fit can be made easier by properly utilizing the resources afforded to you by your alumni network. At Insala, we try our best to bridge the gap between people by way of technology backed solutions.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Power of Alumni Networks

It’s unfair to believe that your employees will want to stay with you forever. Nobody plans to work in the same office for 30 years. It just sort of happens. Or it used to. [Click to Tweet]

It is currently estimated that Millennials will hold 12-15 jobs in their lifetime, which means that the largest age group in your office are transient. How does one maintain a relationship with these ex-employees? Why does a company even want a relationship with those who have left? That’s where alumni networks step in. We already know why organizations are jumping on the bandwagon for Alumni. But what’s the power of it? How do we know those benefits are a reality?

Let’s use the financial services sector as an example. A Harvard Business Review study examined trading decisions between mutual fund portfolio managers. This study compared investment decisions on “connected firms” - those connected by at least one senior official who had gone to the same college as the investor - and “unconnected firms". Results shows a strong correlation: US mutual fund portfolio managers placed larger bets on companies they were connected to. They also performed better on those connected positions than they did with unconnected ones - to the tune of 7.8% a year.

I like to think of it like this: would you prefer doing business with someone who, went to the same college or was a colleague at a previous organization, or with an unfamiliar face?

Another company, BCG, has created a motto for their own alumni network: “Bleed BCG Green” (the company’s color). Many of their former employees are now clients for the company - generating more revenue and creating a positive relationship with them rather than giving a goodbye hug and never seeing their face again.

Another point of contention for alumni networks exists in that it is beneficial for both the employer and the ex-employee. It serves both equally - not just for ROI, but the power of “word-of-mouth.” With social media as a tool for former employees, a company’s reputation can be severely impacted with a few clicks and keystrokes.

If an alumni network was in place, giving them tools to find jobs much easier as well as staying connected for any potential job openings, the need for a Facebook rant would be diminished. In this case, social media would work to foster the company profile as a thoughtful organization with the intent of maintaining fruitful alumni relations. That’s quite a different narrative.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why Invest in a Corporate Alumni Network?

“Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” [Tweet This]

These are the words that Mark Zuckerberg told an excited, but skeptical crowd the day he launched Facebook ads. Years later, Mr. Zuckerberg sits atop the 6th most valuable company in America. I’d say his bet paid off.

By leveraging the power of personal connection, Mr. Zuckerberg unknowingly laid the groundwork for our point today. Former employees are alumni of your organization. But they are also sources latent intellectual property. Here are a three reasons to invest in those properties.

Enhances Company Culture:

Do you know what an alumni network says to new hires from day one? This organization cares. Company culture extends beyond softball games, happy hours and passive mantras. It is showing the relationship between the company and its members. Any company that is willing to put capital behind its past and present employees is dedicated to enriching people. That’s the kind of place most people want to work for.

Return on Investment:

When it comes down to cents and dollars, the amount that an organization would pay for meeting with influencers and marketers could be mitigated with the help of an established Corporate Alumni Network. Every participant is there for a reason, making them an enthused brand ambassador. Consider each participant in your network, a member of your corporate street team, spreading the word throughout their industries. This leads to the next point.

Boosts Company Profile.

As it becomes known that your organization cares for its employees better talent will be attracted. While your company culture deals with a host organizations inner dealings with employees and clients, company profile refers to the company’s image through the lens of an analyst or prospective employee or client. The quickest way to make analysts think your organization takes care of its employees is to take care of your employees. Welcome to your first stop in that endeavor.

If these weren’t enough reasons for you, we’ve got further reading as to the benefits an alumni network can have and how retirees can provide expertise to your business plan.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Corporate Alumni and the Boomerang effect.

If you love something, let it go. And if it comes back to you, then it was meant to be… a part of your corporate alumni network.

The idea behind an Alumni Network is simple enough. Employees leave and employers woo them back, or at least keep up with them. But have you ever examined the phenomena that leads us to this consequence? It’s called the Boomerang Effect and here we’ll explain how it works below.

Lebron James: An example of your Corporate Alumni.

Imagine that you’re Lebron James. You’ve played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for 6 seasons and you aren’t happy with your personal growth. You decide to take your talents to South Beach where you flourish as a player and achieve a pair championships. But now that you’ve achieved personal greatness, you want to go home. Four years have passed and your old organization has a new cast. Everything that attracted you to your first organization still does today, so you decide to go home.

Fast forward 2 years and one championship later and it’s safe to say Lebron made the right decision. His case is an example of the Boomerang Effect. Corporate Alumni aren’t just leaving, they’re returning. And much like Lebron, they are coming back with valuable experience.

The reasons employees leave (link) are numerous. But that’s not the focus on today’s blog. It’s the reasons why they return that are important. There isn’t much research on the phenomena as it hasn’t ever been explored or talked about at the level that it is now. Companies are paying attention to their alumni now, more than ever.

Pay Attention to your All-Stars...even when they leave the team. 

Your organization could have a pre-Miami Heat Lebron, a frustrated star ready to blossom in new surroundings. But that team didn’t win any championships together. It wasn’t until James left for South Beach and gained championship experience that he was able to return and push his team over the hump.

If you’ve got an unfulfilled high-impact employee who’s looking for greener pastures, the best thing to do might be to let them go. They just might find their way back.