Maintaining relationship with former employees


Organizations like Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Ltd are in the process of setting up an alumni network to maintain an active relationship with their former employees. The main objective of the M&M ex-employee network is to stay connected with all ex-Mahindra employees, to seek employee references.

Many a times, these employees would act as brand ambassadors to build our image as a potential employer. Sometimes retirees with special skills may also be considered for special projects. High potential employees who have resigned sometime ago may also be requested to consider joining the group back, subject to position at that point of time.

This network would be built through a dedicated website; online interactive forums; annual reunions; invite them to contribute in the Mahindra newsletter etc. The move will also help the group reduce the costs incurred in hiring candidates, since candidates can now be sourced through the company’s own ex-employees and their contacts. Such a cost advantage will further boost the company’s low-cost HR operation. Point of fact, in the 2005 annual report , M&M talks of a drop in personnel cost as a percentage of sales from 8.40 percent to 6.97 percent.

Former employee networks are not just to boost goodwill but actually make business sense. The gap between available talent and the required talent increases the pressure on organizations to look for alternate, efficient and cost effective means of talent acquisition.

Talent and employability are interlinked features. With loyalty taking a backseat, and networking along with employment brand becoming important, alumni groups can be of great value. Alumni network provides real time data on areas which need to be worked on.

Sometimes, employees who retire are also utilized to train new entrants. IFIM B-School re-hires retirees with significant track record to function as visiting or adjunct faculty in specialized functional disciplines of management.

A CEO believes that this should primarily address the attrition problem and at times help in convincing a potential employee when he/she is not able to take a final call.

Knowledge sharing is an area where Cognizant leverages ex-employee connection. Cognizant taps the collective wisdom of this group as they are in a unique position to compare and contrast strengths and weakness vis-à-vis their current organizations. This is indeed a good mechanism to get quality feedback from former employees on the various aspects of their business. Interestingly, some of our alumni who have joined our customer organizations have helped strengthen the customer relationships.

Such associations can only be formed if the employee has left on a good note. Ex-employees may also have biased views, which may actually not get the desired results and thus this cannot be the only route for recruitment. Establishing a strong bond with ex-employees has several benefits and can be considered a strategic move to survive in the competitive environment.

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