Interview of Marie-Jeanne Marchal administrator of the Solvay Alumni platform
My name is Marie-Jeanne Marchal, former External and Financial Communication Officer at Solvay and now, volunteer administrator of our “Solvay Pensioners” platform.
It was on the occasion of our 150th anniversary (in September 2013) that Solvay’s directors wanted to create a dedicated online space for all its retired employees. Earlier, we would receive a leaflet announcing upcoming events, but as time went on it became increasingly difficult to get everyone together and ship everything by post. Having our platform on Trusted Family allows us to digitalise communication and make our exchanges more dynamic and modern.
Our platform was created in 2014. During the onboarding phase, we sculpted it to meet our needs as an Alumni group. We are now 4/5 volunteers and over 750 members.
All our members are retired from Solvay and some are over 90 years old! They are not all responsive but they make it known that they are very interested in the content shared and appreciate the work behind it. Once retired, they all apply for membership in the platform.
On paper, we were not really a pro-social network generation. But we quickly adopted the tool, because of its ease of use and high-security credentials.
Today, the platform allows us to share updates on Solvay activities’ evolution and keep members actively connected.
In addition, we have some entertaining sections such as “our members’ passions”, an annual “summer photo competition” with great prizes, and the sharing of “gourmet recipes”.
However, what gets the most reactions are the announcements of members’ deaths! (laughs)
We notify members of newly retired members, and deaths and even send a personalised note on everyone’s birthdays.
The advice I would give to a novice platform administrator would be:
- Be knowledgeable about the organisation you represent
- Create content continuously but don’t overdo it
- Try to make the content as appealing as possible by adding more images and less text
After 46 years of working at Solvay, it would have broken my heart to not be able to follow the company news anymore, and to lose any contact with my former colleagues:
“Managing an Alumni platform takes time, but it pleases others and it please myself too.”