Leadership

Say Yes To Developing Next-Gen Professionals

By / Oct 15, 2018 (FoxysGraphic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

As millennials and Generation Z become a larger part of the workforce, associations must adapt a culture that encourages and empowers them. Why saying yes to their development will both benefit them and your association.

The emergence of millennials and Generation Z in the workforce represents one of the biggest shifts of our time. By 2025, the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation estimates that 75 percent of the global workforce will be part of Gen Y, forcing many associations to adjust management, communication styles, and overall company culture. In an environment where “one size fits all” no longer applies, management must begin to account for these differences and implement a culture that empowers the newest members of the workforce.

As a young professional and member of the millennial cohort myself, landing a position in a work environment that promotes and encourages professional growth is extremely important. Over the past few years, I have experienced a huge shift professionally, and that is due to my employers saying yes to my growth. Here’s how your organization can do the same for your high-performing next-gen professionals.

Professional Memberships

As association professionals yourselves, you already know that no matter what industry you work in, there is a professional organization available that promotes, protects, and advances the interests of members in that profession. But some of your next-gen staffers may not be aware of them, so encourage them to get involved.

My association encouraged me to pick an organization for professional membership and covered the membership fees. I chose ASAE, and since activating my membership, I have been taking advantage of almost everything that they have to offer, which has increased my engagement in work and helped me become a more valuable asset to my organization.

Saying yes to your next-gen professionals and offering them membership in a professional organization of their choice will go a long way. While they are learning about the best practices of your industry, they are also gaining leadership skills that will greatly benefit your association in the long run. You will see them being more innovative and confident, which is a win-win for everyone.

Training and Education

Access to training and education should not just be a benefit for the more seasoned employees, but it should also be available to next-gen professionals as well. This eager group wants to learn how they can do their job more effectively and build their skillsets. They want to be considered valuable contributors to their associations, rather than replaceable seat warmers who show up for a paycheck. By allowing them opportunities to gain more knowledge, it instills confidence in them to address their weaknesses and become experts in various subject matters of their field.

I have been fortunate enough to benefit from my employers allowing me to take time away from work to attend trainings and workshops to become better at my job. My association has given me the opportunity to improve my writing skills through workshops, gain industry knowledge with professional conferences, and has even provided me with tuition assistance as I work on my graduate degree. Because of this, I am proud to come to work every day for an organization that is invested in my growth and development.

When your next-gen employees ask for relevant training opportunities, say yes to them and support their professional growth. If your association is not providing them with growth opportunities, they will not stick around much longer. Believe me, this ambitious group is already two steps ahead looking outside of your organization for development, so the more you can provide, the better your retention will be with this group.

After all, next-gen professionals want a seat at the table. Your association will be a big driver in helping them show up effectively. By saying yes to their development, you are ensuring that this industry continues to produce leaders who are ready to change the world. Be their advocate.

Natasha Bethea

Natasha Bethea is senior manager, membership recruitment and retention, at the Association for Psychological Science in Washington, DC, and a member of ASAE’s Young Professionals Committee. More »

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