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Alumni News

Corresponding with former employees keeps doors open.

This story appears in the September 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Don't assume that just because employees leave, they should be forgotten. Increasingly, companies are finding value in maintaining a connection with their corporate alumni, says Pam Holloway, founder of AboutPeople, a consulting firm specializing in the psychology of attracting and engaging customers and employees.

In many cases, the feelings between an employer and a former employee are strong and positive. But unless you nurture the bond, the ties fade. Many big corporations have developed online portals to stay in touch with former employees, and technology now exists for smaller companies to do the same. Some use basic, uncustomized services such as Yahoo! Groups, while others employ software firms like SelectMinds to create custom portals.

Staying in touch lets you tap into a reservoir of know-how you might have assumed was long gone. While former employees won't want to troubleshoot all the time, it's not out of the question to ask them for advice. Keeping up with alumni also opens the door to rehiring them or using them to recruit qualified friends or colleagues. Staying in touch could also lead to profitable new partnerships.

Says Holloway, "It really doesn't cost that much to put some sort of network together and to keep those doors open."