Why hiring alumni can be a boon for your operation
It’s a sure sign that a school is doing something right when its students want to come back and work as adults. From the standpoint of the foodservice director, though, there is plenty to gain from retaining homegrown talent—call it the ultimate return on investment. In the wake of back-to-school season, two dining programs with a robust alumni contingent share their thoughts on hiring former customers.
At Georgia Southern University, about one-third of Eagle Dining Services’ 107 full-time employees are alumni. “They way we do things on our campus may be very different than a setting somewhere else … someone familiar with campus rules, campus policy from a business standpoint, I think those are huge advantages,” says Jeff Yawn, executive director of dining services and an alumnus. “They’re also invested in the local community.”
At University of Alabama, 12 alumni have joined the Bama Dining management team in recent years, including Cory Hardesty, a location manager who graduated in 2013 and was hired in 2014. “I do feel like I had a leg up because I was familiar with the class schedule [including] where things are and resources that we are able to reach out to for assistance,” he says.
Alumni employees such as Hardesty are a valuable link to student life, says A.J. DeFalco, district manager of Bama Dining. “There’s nothing like having insight from former students on the day-to-day functioning of life and how Bama Dining impacted them,” he says.