With record layoffs in the 2009 Recession, more former coworkers are turning to each other to get jobs and start new businesses. In less turbulent times, large employers would invest in hosting Corporate Alumni Networks for sharing connections, knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, just when corporate alumni need to leverage these networks to find jobs and start new companies, HR departments find such projects stalled.
Almost four years ago PeopleSoft employees experienced a massive layoff similar to what is happening today (Yahoo began laying off 1,500 workers; Sony plans to lay off 8,000 workers in its electronics business worldwide. Bank of America may cut 35,000 starting in the beginning 2009. Google has been quietly laying off staff and up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk for layoff).
A grass-roots PeopleSoft Alumni Network was formed by former employees, both on LinkedIn and Socialtext. Community leaders used Socialtext to share job information, get organized and collaborate on events. They later gained permission to call their newly formed non-profit organization the PeopleSoft Alumni Network. To this day, over 800 recruiters tap the network of over 3,000 members.
I asked PeopleSoft Alumni Network organizer Steve Tennant to comment on his experience:
"Socialtext was an invaluable technology for team collaboration at a time of need. With Socialtext's Recession 2009 offer, I'm looking forward to sharing best practices from our experiences in getting organized, helping people find jobs or start new companies and staying connected."
Today, Socialtext is meeting this latent need with a free Corporate Social Network offer for the 2009 Recession. Any former employee and HR director of a company that reduced its workforce by 5% or more in the last year can create a private Corporate Social Network for free by applying here. Please note that this offer does not include free user support. We ask for an HR contact to be involved to encourage a constructive tone, enable the HR department to share informational resources and so the company can leverage the network over time for connections, knowledge and expertise. However, as was our experience with the PeopleSoft Alumni Network, the energy and participation will likely be driven by the grass-roots.
Socialtext is also building out a public resource for sharing Alumni Network best practices at http://socialtext.net/alumni-network. The site will also serve as a public directory of private Alumni Networks as they are established, with instructions on how to join them.
My hope is that this Corporate Alumni Network offer for the 2009 Recession helps people come together to help each other:
- Share job leads
- Share and collaborate on resumes
- Share and create events
- Share and document corporate history
- Share new business opportunities for the company and alumni
Please spread the word.