Most organizations invest a lot of resources in identifying and selecting the right talent while completely ignoring the other talent pool – your ex-employees. If you are wondering why and how you should keep in touch with your ex-employees, consider these facts.

  1. McKinsey & Company, most famously, invests considerable sums in cultivating its alumni network as many of their alumni often become buyers of big-ticket consulting services.
  2. Ex-employees if rehired are 40% more productive in their first quarter and tend to stay longer in the job
  3. In September 2014, Reid Hoffman, mentioned that LinkedIn has more than 118,000 corporate alumni groups, including 98% of the Fortune 500 companies.
  4. Alumni’s are great sources of referrals and since they know what it’s like to work in your company the likelihood of their referrals working for you is higher.

Many services companies like Wipro, Agilant, Infosys, InMobi and many more now actively harness the power of their alumni networks for various purposes beyond solving talent challenges.

So if you haven’t put together a process and program to keep in touch with your ex-employees here are some tips on how you could do it.

  1. Pleasant exit process

Irrespective of the reason for exit of the employee, the overall experience during the exit process has to be pleasant. Typically the exit process is full of bureaucratic hurdles and the employee is expected to manage those multiple sign-off from different departments in last few days in office. A pleasant exit process leads to an engaged and receptive alumni network. But according to a 2015 Aberdeen Group report, only 29 percent of employers reported having a well defined exit process. Many organizations do not even have a well defined exit process which becomes the biggest challenge. Many a times multiple stakeholders involved means the employee has to go looking for these parts of the company which he may not have interacted with before. Digitized exit process with notifications and auto alerts to stakeholders with built in escalation mechanisms help in this process. If you create a positive and pleasant experience while leaving the organization the taste of that will remain with the departing employee for much longer. Nobody gains if your exit process is ill designed or is designed to harass and antagonize the departing employee.

  1. Staying in Touch

Establishing an alumni network on social networking sites likes LinkedIn is an easy option, ensuring that post departure queries are handled effectively is even more critical. Identifying and defining a process for ex-employee queries will go a long way in ensuring that your alumni stays positive about the organization. In Indian context some of the key aspects for which an ex-employee is likely to come back to his or her former employer are: PF balance transfer, salary slip copies, or Income Tax related documents. How your team handles these interactions is very critical in ensuring that you create a positive employee experience. Many service organizations use simple technology tools that operate in a self-service mode where the employee can raise a query and have the same answered by the HR team within a stipulated timeframe. This self service module also helps alumni to download basic information about his or her employment directly without any interaction or intervention from HR team. Such simple automation solutions work for both employer & employee as it cuts the bureaucratic process & hurdles therein.

The critical aspect organizations need to keep in mind is to ensure that the process is well designed keeping in mind the needs and expectations of such ex-employees and helps in delivering a positive employee experience.

Cultivating and harnessing the power of your ex-employees is more than a fad. Many organizations have been successfully using this for various business purposes and more and more organizations are likely to adopt this practice. Defining a two-way value proposition and maintaining a personalized communication is going to be critical aspect in a successful alumni program. Many organizations are now involving their alumni’s in future strategies while also creating incentive programs for them to participate & contribute in more ways. As the war for talent intensifies you may want to start preparing yourself for the alumni war.