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Employers Seeing Value in Alumni Databases

Employers are increasingly recognizing the value of having an Alumni database. Former employees can be a good source of referrals for open positions. They can be called upon in times of emergencies to fill in, especially if they are retired. They can often act as an auxiliary sales force, especially if you have maintained a positive relationship with them. Former employees might be good rehires for part time positions, seasonal surges, project oriented positions, etc.

We use the term Alumni because companies typically no longer have a database of retired workers. Once they were pensioners and, as such, were still connected to the company but with the rise of portable 401(k) plans, most companies no longer have any obligations to those who leave regardless of how many years they may have worked. A few companies offer some benefits in retirement for employees who put in a substantial amount of time with a single employer to recognize their valuable contribution and to use as a retention tool.

More and more retirees are returning to work to offset inflation, increase their social interactions, and find a new passion and purpose. Research shows us that companies are beginning to appreciate older workers in ways we didn’t a few years ago. A recent survey by AARP shows that workers ages 65 and older are more satisfied with their jobs overall than younger workers, and they’re also more likely to say they find their job enjoyable and fulfilling all or most of the time, and less likely to say they find it stressful.

Older workers can bring with them a plethora of valuable skills, including a strong work ethic, exceeding performance expectations, and collaborating with and influencing teammates to reach a higher level of performance. By recognizing older workers’ value and changing models of upskilling and learning, companies can create a thriving five-generation workforce.

Some older employees want to move into positions of lesser responsibility, yet utilize their skills in some ways. Smaller companies deal with these issues easily because skills and experiences are more easily recognized by management. Some larger companies are creating processes that make it easier for older workers to move into new areas. Development Engineers moving into Customer Support; Sales Managers to Account Managers are a couple of examples. Certainly, the more recent trends of remote and hybrid work situations make it easier for older workers to continue to be productive.

Former employers, particularly retirees, can be an untapped source of employees, referrals, and help. They know your business, culture, and products. Companies with seasonal surges can call upon former employees to help during these times of increased revenue. Letting alumni know about open positions can lead to a inexpensive way to increase applicant flow.

If you have an Alumni database, do you send them your job openings, new product announcements, general information about the company that keeps them feeling positive about your organization? Do you invite them to any events? Survey them? If you don’t have an Alumni database, perhaps it is time to consider one.

– Dennis Fitzgerald, CAFE Certification Team

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