Talented people have so many opportunities that you can’t keep them forever. But even if they stop working for you, they can work with you. But how do you build a network that works? Here are a few tips.
1. There’s more than one way to network. An alumni community can be either an official company initiative or a grassroots effort. It comes down to ownership. Firms can either manage their own networks or outsource them.
2. If you build it, they may not come. At first, an alumni network may feel like the program was for the company’s benefit instead of the alumni. Be sure to ask alumni what they want.
3. Membership better have its privileges. Alumni networks need to create explicit reasons for people to join and stay — like landing new jobs. Publishing a regularly updated alumni directory is the number-one benefit. Some companies are even equipping their job-seeking alumni with how-to books, training classes, and job-referral programs.