A needs assessment isn’t a once-a-year (or longer!) gig—it’s something your association should be focusing on habitually. Also: networking opportunities for remote employees.
When is the last time your association conducted a member needs assessment? As jobs, technology, and industries continue to evolve at a fast pace, the old standard of every three years is too long, says the WBT Systems team.
To better meet and anticipate members’ needs, associations should pay attention to member behavior all the time. “Listening all the time means taking other approaches beyond surveys,” the team wrote in a blog post. “Instead of relying only on what members (and nonmembers) tell you, watch what they do—a better indicator of their true interests.”
And when it is time to ask questions, reach out beyond your membership base. “Needs assessments help you avoid relying on the usual suspects for market information: the echo chamber of association leadership. But you need to go beyond surveying members only,” the team says. “Talk to employers, HR professionals, and industry recruiters too. They know which skills are in demand and where job applicants come up short.”
Then, share your findings with all stakeholders—staff, board members, and members. When members see the value of participating in your survey, they’ll be more likely to contribute next time around.
How to Network When You Work Remotely
Are you a freelancer? Remote worker? Digital nomad? Here are some (mostly) quick and easy ways to make new connections. https://t.co/ieg7093YNO
— The Muse (@TheMuse) March 22, 2019
Working remotely has its perks—but networking often isn’t one of them.
“When you’re doing the bulk of your work from an at-home office, your day-to-day routine isn’t exactly ripe with opportunities for meeting new people,” says Deanna deBara on The Muse. “And no matter who you are—introvert or extrovert, business owner or corporate worker, in the peak of your career or just starting out—that’s crucial for your career (and your sanity!).”
To build new connections, deBara recommends jumping in on new projects where you feel you can add value—just be genuine about it. And though that might take some time, being an active member on your team’s Slack channel—or whatever mode of communication your team prefers—is something you can act on today.
“There’s a Slack community for everything and everyone,” she says. “And for those who work remotely, it’s the perfect way to build a network of like-minded people. And who knows? Those Slack conversations could turn into IRL connections or lead to your next big break.”
Other Links of Note
Want to know what members want? The Sprout Social blog suggests amping up your organization’s social listening.
Nearly 70 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds prefer companies to engage via email. The Marketo blog offers three tips to increase interaction among email subscribers.
Preparing for precipitating events in members’ lives creates a stronger connection in the member-association relationship, says Jeffrey Cufaude on Idea Architects.