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ASSOCIATION TRANSFORMATION

No Rest and Relaxation for Recruitment and Retention

Following the upheaval of the pandemic, is there a company out there that doesn’t need the support of an association right now?

However, how do we tackle Recruitment and Retention in this “Brave New World”?

Networking changed almost overnight from a face - face experience to one which exists in a virtual world. Has this new way of working simply exposed associations as simply “event planners”?

Associations who already had a mixture of events ranging from face – face meetings to webinars found the transitions into this new way of working much easier than others. But even they had to face the challenges of choosing from variety of on-line platforms available, to deciding how to run ‘Special Interest’ groups and make them different to the everyday meetings. Not only that but association staff had to become experts in virtual platforms very quickly, which itself can cause a great deal of stress on top of the day to day running of an association.

How do we make a virtual networking meeting work? It’s often the little conversations that happen during a short break during the day that can prove to be as equally important as the message of a key-note speaker. How do you effectively engage your membership in a virtual world when it so much easier to ‘dip out’?

These are the sort of dilemmas facing Robyn Brently and Matt Dale of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, and in this podcast we discuss their ideas and solutions to some of these problems.

Help Sessions and virtual meetings dealing with Mental Health issues provided a sound basis for engaging with their membership, to help find solutions and solve issues that may have arisen in these challenging times. Uptake in these ‘Special Interest’ groups has been good, and although it is too early to say whether the overall total engagement has increased, it has given an opportunity to re-evaluate the offerings being made by the associations, leading to some fresh thinking based on the feedback of the members.

Attendance at virtual meetings in some cases doubled, perhaps highlighting the fact budgetary restraints for travel to an “live” event may have been a hindrance to some in the past. The fact that on-line courses have given greater accessibility to more people naturally bring us to the question of how difficult will it be to return to face – face events, and what does the future look like post pandemic?

We have doubled our members expectations and so a new “hybrid” world for associations is going to have to give several options for future events, from face-face to virtual gatherings and perhaps a mixture of both.

It’s also important to recognise the case that working in isolation can starve innovation – innovation that can come about from a simple conversation over a cup of tea in the office or at a network event.

As many of us hit “virtual exhaustion”, it’s a good time to emphasise and remember the humanity and community of associations.

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