03.07.22 | Associations

How Proactive Organizational Leadership Can Offset the Great Resignation

While organizations can craft the most leak-tight strategic plans, sometimes the most significant changes happen due to unpredictable (and yes, unprecedented) events, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Borne from this time, The Great Resignation prompted many people to ponder their priorities, specifically how (and where) they spend their workdays.  

While compensation plays a role, it’s not the determining factor. Now, there is more vocal appreciation for work-life balance and the desire to do what you love instead of making as much money as you can. Some people also want to grow in their fields or try something new, inspired by parts of their current roles where they find less fulfillment. This is where organizational leadership can be proactive to secure employee retention. 

Through assessments, association leadership can find ways to change operational approaches, marketing strategies, education design, and delivery, or innovative member engagement activities. (There’s no time like the present to get experimental.) And they can do it in a way that involves employee feedback to redesign their jobs, automate repetitive processes, and make their employment a richer, more inclusive experience.  

How can you ensure that your association delivers on its mission and retains star talent? Here are four strategies leadership can use to take advantage of post-pandemic market shifts and employee attitude changes. 

Conduct a market assessment 

A market assessment provides a view of the total potential market for your association services.  

Has your market expanded or stayed the same as the acceptance rate of remote learning/networking increased? Are there new member personas that didn’t exist or were hard to access as candidates for your association’s services? Do you have employees with a particular affinity for these new potential member personas who would enjoy recruiting them?  

Offering new career paths for employees signifies that their manager and company invest in their success and willingness to learn – and their likelihood of staying increases. 

Launch a program evaluation 

An in-depth review of the breadth of programs and services offered by your association will reveal both a return on investment (ROI) and the return on mission (ROM). 

A program evaluation gives your leadership permission to frankly evaluate legacy programs and other options that might not perform up-to-snuff. An evaluation also yields the opportunity to consider new programming, which was likely inconceivable pre-pandemic. 

People seek meaning in their work, and evolution and creation can be strong motivators for your employees. Consider this project as a deep dive of every education module your association offers – unboxing and examining its learning objectives to decide if it fits your current criteria and goals. A review of this nature links back to your association’s membership and creates a lasting impact.  

Implement process streamlining 

There are so many new tools, databases, learning management systems, and technologies out there to streamline your hands-on efforts.  

For example, at Meeting Expectations, we’ve created Smartsheets that track project deliverables and timelines. Some of these sheets also issue alerts to prompt committee members and speakers of looming deadlines. 

Maybe you’ve daydreamed about using artificial intelligence (AI). Today, you can buy it – you do not need a developer to spend time customizing it to your criteria. AI creates in-the-moment engagement using chatbots to help members and future members visiting your website. This also alleviates the need for your staff to spend time answering simple questions – allowing them time to focus on more mission-central tasks.  

Consider a dues structure evaluation 

As a result of the market assessment we discussed earlier, you’re likely to tap into new non-member audiences or member personas who are candidates for membership. You may consider offering a “lite” membership or a corporate option that bundles access to education and training. 

This is also a great time to do some comparison shopping to understand how your dues stack up to the market and perceived value. This could be a rewarding assignment for an employee who administered memberships and creates a career path to becoming a member advocate and strategist. 

The Great Resignation is an opportunity 

While the prolonged effects of the pandemic are challenging, there’s a great opportunity to improve. The bottom line is that leadership can take action to mitigate the effects of The Great Resignation, improve association operations, and create positions that are more interesting, rewarding, and inclusive. Ready to thrive in the new next? Meeting Expectations has the tools to execute your fresh organizational vision. 

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