Staying “LinkedIn” With New Alumni Board Initiative

An exciting new initiative has been launched by the CHRLS Alumni Board to provide professional development and engagement opportunities for HRIR alumni to participate in without even leaving their desks!
“The purpose of the Professional Development and Alumni Relations Committee is to continue learning and encourage an exchange of ideas among alumni and students,” says Corey Bonnema, ’98, chair of the committee. “In the past, our committee focused on speaker-based events in the Twin Cities. However, this strategy wasn’t meeting the needs of our alumni,” he says, “particularly those working internationally in different time zones. So in the fall of 2016, our committee decided to “re-purpose” the Carlson School of Management – HRIR LinkedIn group as a tool to build connections and develop our alumni community thorough interactive communications.”

Starting in October 2016, to jump-start the engagement process, committee members have taken turns posting one discussion question each week and encouraging a conversation on the topic. “To promote interaction and the exchange of ideas our committee worked hard to identify topics of special interest,” says Bonnema. “This was done, in part, by analyzing topics from past HR Tomorrow conferences as well as looking at the type of information requests the CHRLS Herman Library receives.”

Recent posts have asked a variety of questions, including:

  • How has your HR operating model changed in recent years?
  • What practices do you have in place to align talent strategy to business strategy?
  • SPHR vs. SHRM certification?
  • What’s top of mind for you and your professional development as we head into 2017?

Like any new initiative, the key is getting the word out. Not all members know that the group has been re-purposed and that the engagement opportunity exists. “The best way for alumni to help is to routinely check the site for posted questions and to get involved in the conversation or encourage other members, who you know would add value to the discussion, to get involved in the exchange of ideas,” Bonnema says.

The committee’s short-term goal is to have group members post questions and start deep conversations with other HRIR alumni on topics of common interest. “The group currently has 1,340 members and we hope that more alumni join once they see what a valuable learning tool it can be,” Bonnema says.” The committee has long-term plans for the future of this discussion board as well. “In the future we’d love to see the number of members grow as a direct result of the value gained from conversations and exchanging of ideas within the group,” he notes.  “We’d also love to have HRIR faculty participate in group discussions as well.”

Other committee members are: Justin Ahlstrom, ’06; Joe Lucio, ’11; Roxana Martin, ’09; Kara Sime, ’96; and Eva Treuer, ’10.

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