Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mission 2008: Alumni Value Proposition

Companies that create a strong Alumni Value Proposition for their employees successfully attract and retain best people. Aah!? You might wonder. Employee retention and Alumni in same sentence, isn’t that an oxymoron?

Ok, let me try to explain why I made above statement with couple of examples. McKinsey and Solomon Brothers are two companies that are considered most coveted companies (in their respective domains) by every jobseeker. Although if you talk to any employee at any level in these companies, he would tell you that his jobs is extremely demanding, he works almost 16 to 20+ hours a day 7 days a week, often for lower pay than his counterparts in other companies.
So if it is not the money, and if it is not work-family life balance, then what attracts jobseekers to these companies that they always consider them as dream companies to work for.

After speaking with a few senior people at McKinsey and other organizations I realized that it is the Alumni Value Proposition (AVP). When a company tries to create AVP it is no different from what good universities do to attract best students and give to its students when they become Alumni.

So is there a framework for building AVP?

It starts with building a comprehensive process for selecting the best, because first pillar of building AVP is to have best people in the organization. And if you have good people, they connect with former colleagues, locally and globally, build a positive environment about the organization, attract smart people, and, eventually, inspire them to join and build the organization. Also, these very people help peers in career building by counseling and mentoring them properly and adequately.
But, what if these very good people opt to move on to some other organizations. You would be pleasantly surprised to know that it is Alumni who eventually become a great asset for the country.

How? Let’s find out.

It is alumni that take companies message to their new companies, and if that message is strong then it greatly benefits the company in attracting more good people. In today’s fiercely competitive knowledge-driven market, only those companies can thrive which believe in and create AVP. To stay connected with their Alumni, companies need to leverage tool such as Alumni network website and newsletters that enable them to

• Connect with former colleagues, locally and globally
• Communicate and expand social network via live and online events
• Collaborate on special projects or pilots, find a job, a candidate, a supplier, or generate new business contacts

Further, companies need to work on Knowledge Creation, which has been widely recognized as strategically important for organizational learning and innovation, requiring employees to document their learning from projects and other activities they undertake – developing a strong habit and capabilities in employees to communicate well , using tools like Blogs, social community sites, external and internal publishing of contents, etc.
Teamwork plays an important role in AVP, where people own responsibility collectively. It is teamwork that motivates employees to take pride in mentorship and coaching other employees (old or new).

To add grist to the mill, companies let employees take ownership in building the organization, let have them take pride that their contributions is what makes this organization.
Don’t you think that their contributions to recruiting process play a big role in bringing the best into the company.

Branding is one exercise that companies need to do constantly to deliver the message clearly, confirm the organization’s credibility, connect with your target prospects, motivate the audience, and, most importantly, create a positive environment for the company across the industry. Apart from PR activities including media coverage, seminars, webinars, etc, employees and alumni are the carriers of brand message.

And, now, let me conclude that building Alumni Value Proposition based on this framework is our Mission 2008. On the sheer strength of AVP, I look forward to the future with a goal of attracting the best people, creating a niche for OutworX. Alumni represent the company, peers will look up to you for career counseling, and alumni will help establish the future strength of our company. The journey has begun…

Posted by Rajiv Jain, CEO, OutworX Corporation

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