About half my career has been inside professional service firms. The work has quite a few perks and you’re constantly pushed to learn new things. Having spent quite a bit of time within IT departments as a manager I did sometimes missed the wealth of different clients and projects you’re exposed to as a consultant.
I’m not sure how common the practice is, but after leaving my last professional services firm about five years ago they let me know they considered me part of the alumni network. I remember thinking it was a novel way to approach employees who leave your company on good terms. I’m not sure how common the approach is, but I think it pays significant dividends. Over a few years I got a few little goodies in the mail including a USB key at one point and I ended up doing a few very short engagements to help out the local office.
For the professional services firm this sort of practice is a little extra effort, but pays particular dividends:
- You maintain a good relationship with former employees which helps in a small way your overall brand.
- Those employees may send prospective new employees your way who are already well recommended.
- Former employees may need some professional services and you’re often invited to compete for work.
- The alumni member may throw some leads your way when they find out about potential projects.
- Those alumni members may someday return to your firm bringing back valuable experiences from their time outside the firm.
As I now find myself returning to the fold with my former firm, I’m impressed with the little extra effort they took to stay in touch.