The Underlying Impact of an Employee Experience Culture on Associations

Associations don’t have it easy. You’re trying to recruit and retain your best people, while at times (awkwardly) competing for talent against the very companies that belong to your association. Your pockets aren’t as deep, making it challenging to invest in the continuous learning employees in today’s knowledge economy expect. All this in the midst of a talent shortage.

But there’s good news too. You have some advantages that big companies don’t.

You have always had to be flexible, agile and unencumbered by levels of hierarchy; not only is this what top talent expect, but also where the world of work is going. And you’re already there.

You get the importance of an employee experience. It’s already in your DNA. Your small teams are more collaborative, inclusive and prone to crowdsourcing solutions to problems; the way corporations are needing to redesign work is how you already work.

You know that your greatest asset are your people. You know their talents, passions and strengths so you can leverage it. Therefore, you are more likely to promote from within, whereas corporations often miss that their greatest source of talent is their internal talent pool.

The family atmosphere you have retains your people longer. It also positions you to recruit away folks at mid or end of their career who are looking for more meaningful work; as Canadians are now working longer and retiring later, you are ready to welcome their experience and passion.

Employees want to have more influence in their careers; you are better able to create the work hours and arrangements that work for them. You have long embraced the gig economy (that almost 50% of Canadians will be in by 2020), having contract staff as an essential part of your cyclical work. You also know that your best people want and need to continually upskill, supporting them to have time to grow their skills as technology evolves, the industry changes and new interests are awakened.

And if that’s not enough, you have always had to focus on the customer. Their satisfaction allows you to retain your members (or your contract in the case of management associations), and this growing trend toward the customer experience influencing the way companies operate aligns to employees’ desire to see the direct impact of their contribution; the fact your team often interfaces with the customer gives meaning and fulfilment to the work.

In a nutshell, we’re at a time where the concept of career is being redefined:

  1. A career is a mix of expertise, one’s profession and identity → organizations that embrace all three support an engaging employee experience
  2. A career builds over time → organizations can either support or roadblock that but either way it’s going to happen
  3. A career is about the financial and psychological rewards → after $50K people are more motivated by meaning and purpose

You offer people a career, a voice, an outlet for their best ideas and unique talents. Recognizing, harnessing and leveraging it will allow you to continue to ride the wave of workplace change, retaining your top talent, members and partners in the process.

Sarah McVanel is a recognition expert, sharing her knowledge and client stories through professional speaking, coaching, training and her co-authored booksForever Recognize Others’ Greatness: Solution Focused Strategies for Satisfied Staff, High Performing Teams and Healthy Bottom Lines” and The FROG™ Effect Workbook: Tools and Strategies to Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness”. Catch her daily flash briefings Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness and Greatness Biz. Visit her at Greatness Magnified or on eSpeakers.