Biz-Community (Cape Town)

South Africa: Native Nation, Reuniting Ex-Employees

Native co-founder and MD, Jarred Cinman, highlights that globally, best practice organisations are beginning to recognise that an alumni programme will not only improve employer branding but can also serve as a powerful recruiting tool.

To this end, the company has initiated an innovative networking programme called Native Nation, aimed at re-establishing relationships with ex-employees, encouraging their participation in industry talks and up-skilling opportunities and giving them a 'foot in the door' for future vacancies at the agency.

Cinman says organisations eager to launch similar initiatives can build into their programmes a number of different incentives to attract and retain the interest of ex-employees. "We incorporated items that make sense for our industry and which appeal to our staff. From simple elements like invitations to external and internal events we participate in, to incentives for filling positions we may have open.

Recruitment bounty

"For example, its members automatically qualify for the recruitment bounty, which entitles all ex-employees to receive a finder's fee anytime they assist in filling a position at the agency. Similarly, if they apply for a vacancy, they instantly get an interview and a signing bonus equivalent to the bounty if they are re-hired. It is a great way of always keeping the door open in a way that benefits both parties.

"We recognise that staff needs to grow and develop, both personally and professionally, and that sometimes, they find those opportunities elsewhere. This initiative provides an opportunity to retain the relationship with them, offer them the chance to further enhance their skills and give them the opportunity to return to our fold, should they wish to," concludes Cinman.

Benefits of alumni programmes

Cinman highlights five key benefits to creating an alumni programme:

1. Since employee referral programmes are often considered the most effective recruiting tool, companies should consider expanding these programmes to include alumni. Former employees have great insight into the company culture and can help identify quality of hire.

2. "Boomerangs" are former employees who have been hired back into the company. Best practice organisations are actively expanding their talent pools and engaging with both active and passive candidates.

3. The most critical impact of alumni programmes falls under the auspices of employer branding. Often, former employees may one day become clients and companies are well advised to treat their alumni with the same level of attention and support that they show their customers.

4. Staying in touch with the firm's alumni provides an opportunity to broaden the list of networking connections. Similarly, alumni programmes provide an opportunity to add to business development connections, particularly if the alumni have moved in-house to corporations or to firms that might serve as referral sources of business.

5. By creating a greater network, one has a wider base of knowledge regarding the marketplace. One's alumni can serve as resources about such things as what would attract individuals to apply for positions in the firm, what the going salaries are elsewhere in the marketplace and ways to increase the competitive edge.

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