How to Offboard Exiting Employees and Onboard New Alumni
Improving the offboarding process for exiting employees that seamlessly moves them into being an alumni will show them appreciation, and encourage them to participate in the community going forward. Below we showcase what’s involved in optimizing the offboarding to onboarding process.
A successful corporate alumni program should offer value to its members right from the start. Once the offboarding process is complete, the onboarding process into the alumni network starts. This flow plays a vital role in setting the tone for member engagement and retention in the long run.
In our last benchmarking report, we learned that companies who add resources to their exit process through career transition report seeing a higher number in boomerangs in the future (upwards of 20%!). With that in mind, here are some tips that can help you create a seamless onboarding experience into the alumni network that excites and inspires.
Who Should be a Part of the Alumni Network?
Before you can onboard former employees into your alumni program, you need to identify who you want to invite. This process should involve reviewing your company's records to identify former employees who left on good terms. More than 60% of organizations invite current employees into the program and this encourages them to start building connections during and beyond employment. However, many companies choose seniority level as well as time spent with the company as criteria for eligibility.
Develop a Clear Value Proposition
Once you have identified the alumni you want to invite, you need to develop a clear value proposition that explains why they should join your program. This should include an explanation of the benefits of being part of your alumni community, such as access to exclusive networking events, career development opportunities, and potential job openings. Make sure your messaging is tailored to the specific interests and needs of your target audience. Surveying your alumni is essential to make sure the benefits align with their needs.
Optimize Offboarding Processes
Ideally, an employee should be made aware of the alumni program well ahead of their departure. We’ve previously written about ways to optimize offboarding, which supports a smooth transition into alumni status. Align with HR to ensure correct privacy and data handling practices are in place before sending invitations and reminders to join.
Software integrations between your organization’s HRIS system and the PeoplePath platform can streamline a lot of tedious processes. Employees can be flagged as leavers ahead of their departure date, triggering automatic communication campaigns inviting them to the program. Post-registration, information can be auto populated in the platform and reduce the workload for alumni. Reducing any friction or barriers will enhance user satisfaction and increase the chances of engaging with the platform and content.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Create a welcoming environment that makes them feel valued and appreciated from the moment they log in for the first time. Consider sending a personalized welcome message from the CEO or their manager that outlines the benefits of the program and expresses gratitude for their past contributions to the company. You may also want to create a special welcome package that includes branded swag, to help them feel like they are part of the community. Also having something to sign up for, like an event or a very active group, is something to look forward to.
Consider a Welcome Workflow / Drip Campaign
A series of emails, or short, easy-to-digest tutorials highlighting specific features and benefits of the platform could be sent out in a welcome campaign. For example, to highlight the directory, a video could be made outlining how to use the filters to locate other members and explain general outreach etiquette e.g., via messenger chat or email.
The key to maintaining engagement with the platform is to have a seamless user experience. The alumni should understand how and where they can access offerings of the program. Short reminders or a “Did You Know?” style campaign is a helpful way to get them to adopt the features of the community.
Prompts can be set up to automatically remind members to log-in as well as offer personalized suggestions to connect with alumni or engage with content according to aspects of their profile, experience, or location etc. It’s important to immediately help them start building networks within the alumni community. Always include plenty of CTAs throughout the communications to encourage the alumni to login and explore.
The newcomers could be encouraged to put together their own story by using, for example, the PeoplePath “alumni stories creator,” and have it published in a monthly “welcome to the community” campaign. This might be an effective icebreaker and prompt new connections within the network.
Have a Dedicated Point of Contact
Offer your alumni program members the opportunity to connect with a dedicated point of contact who can answer their questions, address their concerns, and guide them through the program's features and benefits.
Assign them an alumni champion – send a personalized message from a matched buddy to show them the ropes, be an internal source of information about the program and encourage to attend events or use resources that might be helpful.
Be there to help anticipate where your alumni may need support during onboarding and help. You can run through the process yourself to identify areas where new members might struggle.
Have a campaign to prompt them to send feedback and impressions of the program. It might make sense to check in monthly at first, or quarterly to remind them of what they’re missing. Never assume that they are already using the platform to its fullest potential – make sure you’re fostering open communication to better understand the needs of your alumni community and maximize their satisfaction.