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.

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. 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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Hidden Job Market and Your Corporate Alumni Part II

In a time when the majority of career opportunities are not announced on jobs boards and sites, there is a way to pierce through the uncertainty that is inherent in a job search. Corporate Alumni Networks , when used properly, can export a portion of the knowledge floating around the hidden job market.  

The last time we wrote on this subject, we covered the basics on what the hidden job market is, and what role alumni networks play in exploiting that market. Now we’re covering the specific ways that one can leverage the power of an alumni based corporate social network with regards to the hidden job market, much like the solutions we offer at Insala.

Manage your connections.

If you’ve worked somewhere, gone to school anywhere or been a part of an organization then you are a member of an alumni base[Tweet This]. Determining how large that base is and who you can connect with are key to exploring the hidden job market. Connections at multiple organizations are also helpful, depending on the strength of that connection. By far, the easiest kind of alumni network to participate in are those that are specific and that use current technology and staff to maintain the community. This shows a commitment to the process that will allow you to best use the resources this organization and its members have to offer.

Stay engaged with company info.

Examine some of the purpose behind an alumni network. The benefit for the company is they are able to keep in touch with their former employees while disseminating vital information. It’s an exchange of sorts. The benefit for those searching through the waters of the hidden job market is the access to company knowledge, like job postings. Employers are looking back through their previous ranks as dormant talent with alumni seen as potential rehires.

Communicate with others on the portal.

By maintaining active membership, users are already leveraging their connections within their alumni network. To take it a step further, alumni should be posting on the public boards and congratulating others on milestones achieved. At its core a social network is a large discourse community of people with one shared commonality or other. Contributions come in the form of communication, whether it be general or specified. By being a visible member of the community, job-searchers can ensure their name will resonate with those who are also active. This could lead to career development when it’s time to start considering applications. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Assessing Your Organization's Career Development Culture

This could be your employee moving toward clear career development goals.
After the training and on-boarding conclude, when does your organization begin promoting its career development culture?[Tweet This]

Career development and your company’s culture are so intertwined that it is difficult to mention one without the other. Are new hires there for one job and one job only, or do they grow within the organization, advancing from position to position? Is your organization developing talent based on potential or simply acquiring high level talent to fit into a specific job structure? These are a few of the questions that should be addressed when establishing an organizations career development culture.

A 2015 study from the Brno Institute of Technology found these to be symptomatic of a successful company culture:

-to reduce conflicts in the firm
-to provide continuity, to mediate and facilitate coordination and control
-to reduce workers' uncertainty and to enhance their satisfaction and feeling of emotional well-being
-to provide incentives (i.e. serves as a source of motivation) and, if it is sufficient
-intensive and contextually relevant, it is a competitive advantage.

Are you where you’d like to be?

An effective company culture is apparent when new hires know what it is they are doing, and what will be expected of them further on down the line. The path of succession should be made apparent to them from the beginning to avoid latter confusion. Stakeholders from every level contribute to the career development culture. Happier employees are a typical result of a clear corporate vision and higher productivity is a profitable side effect for organizational leaders.

Develop talent or risk losing it.

While having an unclear career development culture won’t definitively hinder your organizations overall growth, it certainly won’t help. The benefits to laying out a yellow brick road for employees to follow to a larger role in the place they may spend over 40 hours a week are numerous. The disadvantages could also lead to uninterested and unvested employees who are already looking ahead to the next opportunity that will hopefully challenge and cause them to grow. As enthusiasm and interest atrophy, so production and profits. And investment in talent development by way of a clear career development culture could save your organization in more ways than one.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Corporate Branding and Alumni Programs.

Just like that ex that won’t call you back, corporate alumni contribute to the overall perception of your brand. The importance of alumni to the branding of an organization can’t be understated. Potential employees will sooner listen to their friends and associates before they believe a jobs board. Satisfied or dissatisfied, engaging alumni can go a long way toward sculpting public perception.

One method of cataloging all of those former employees is by starting an alumni program.

By simply starting a program, an organization is taking a step toward brand management. Each member of the portal should then be considered a key piece in your company’s branding strategy. By electing to support a corporate program aimed at keeping contact with alumni, Organizations show that they care about their former, current and prospective employees. This can lead to a swell in qualified applicants as an organization becomes known for how much it values and supports its employees of all phases.

Every year since 1997, Fortune ranks the best companies to work for. One-third of its evaluation process is based on responses to what they call a “Culture Audit”, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programs, and diversity efforts. The implications that an alumni network can have on that type of ranking are obvious. An organizations effort to improve their human resource capability can be translated into a metric that quantifies how happy people are to come to work.

More specifically, an alumni network can help former employees decide how much they enjoyed coming to work. Hopefully, they’ll tell somebody about it.