3 Reasons Your Association Staff Are Leaving (And How to Keep Them)
Question for you: What keeps you happy at work? It doesn’t have to be just one thing. It could be a multitude of reasons such as the people you work with, your job itself, the benefits, just to name some.
Here’s a follow up question: Is your organization doing something (significant that is) that could be driving you away from it? You don’t have to answer that out loud, of course, but just think about it for a minute.
We spend a lot of time at work. Oftentimes, we spend more time on the job than we do with our families, significant others, or friends. So it’s of utmost importance that your association has a strong work culture that values its staff. After all, if your association staff is happy, then it motivates them to get their jobs done, which in turn positively impacts your organization’s bottom line.
However, when someone at your organization quits, it can really shake up the dynamic—especially if that person was on your team. Realistically, people are going to quit for various reasons, but if your organization places a strong emphasis on staff retention, then it leaves your association staff feeling less likely to leave and develops a stronger sense of loyalty.
So what causes them to leave? While every organization is different and there is no perfect formula for retaining people, we’ve compiled a few that might account for unhappy staff members.
Here are 3 reasons you might be driving your association staff out the door and what you can do to resolve it.
1) You don't care about their professional development.
When was the last time you evaluated the training opportunities that you provide your association staff? Or do you know what your staff is doing in order to improve upon their skillsets or learn new ones? If you don’t offer opportunities to allow your team to grow in their careers, then you risk losing them. And typically, it costs more to replace someone.
Keep in mind that certain demographics might consider training opportunities more valuable than other perks your organization might offer. However, that is something that should be offered to everyone regardless of their age and position level. Having professional development at your association is an excellent way to retain staff members and boost morale and productivity.
Consider sending your team to a conference. Yes, if you’re a small organization, this might make things a bit challenging for a short period of time while they’re out, but try to view this as a long-term investment. Don’t have the budget to send your team to a conference? That’s okay! This isn’t always feasible depending on the size of your staff. Instead, hold in-house training sessions or encourage your staff to do some online courses.
By cultivating a work culture that encourages professional development, you are demonstrating that you value each staff member and are championing them to be the best version of themselves. That’s an environment any person would want to thrive in!
A mantra that the marketing team at Aptify does their best to practice is “always be learning.” And this is such a true statement. No one is ever truly finished with learning. And learning can be made easier if you work in an environment that strongly encourages it.
2) You don’t empower your team with the technology they use.
Is your organization using some type of membership management system or membership software? If so, then you’ve probably had to train your staff to use it, right?
Well, how about new staff members who join your organization? They also need to be trained on it so they can feel comfortable using it. And consider all the other tools and software systems you might use at your association.
If you’re looking to drive staff members away from your organization, then one of the easiest ways to do that is by simply not offering helpful tools that make their jobs easier. Since we live in a tech-driven world, one of the most frustrating feelings you can have is when a tool or program isn’t working the way it should. Even something as simple as your Outlook email not loading or having to re-enter your password multiple times can be irritating and cause a lack of focus. Or if you’re using your membership software and you’re struggling to pull a view of your members because no one showed you how to perform this simple task.
Such a seemingly small but annoying issue can be mitigated if you offer proper training to your team and provide helpful tools that allow them to do their work more efficiently.
3) You are wary of the unfamiliar.
This is something that can be applicable to life as a whole, actually. When you work in an environment that is closed-minded and skeptical of things that they aren’t familiar or comfortable with, it creates a negative work space. While it might always seem easy to only turn to sources that we are familiar with, sometimes the best ideas and thoughts can come from the most unexpected places.
Don’t be afraid to look outside of your industry and learn from other people. In fact, by reading about what’s happening outside your industry, you could come up with your own unique ideas that can help you better engage with your own membership.
For example, if your organization is fairly new to the inbound marketing methodology, then why not consider looking at organizations who are practicing inbound outside of your industry? Look at what they are doing right, and how you can use it at your organization.
Maintain an open mind and look for sources of inspiration outside your association. You might be surprised at the knowledge you can gain from seeing something as an outsider looking in.
As new associations emerge and well-established associations continue to grow, staff retention should continue to remain top-of-mind for everyone. While it’s true your membership is what keeps your association alive, your staff also plays a central role in helping it continue to grow.
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has since been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.
About Chandra Chakravarthi
As a Coordinator of Content, Branding, & Buzz at Aptify, Chandra supports the department with content creation, digital advertising, and overseeing the social media channels. Outside of Aptify, you can find her exploring Chicago and eating too much pizza while she waits for her letter from Hogwarts.