A Mutual Investment

How the American Counseling Association is boosting its ranks by investing in employees’ cultural development.

Natasha L. Rankin, CAE, joined the American Counseling Association as its COO four years ago as part of a plan to evolve its organizational, governance, and business models. That required a close look at ACA’s culture. And for Rankin, improving culture means investing in staff’s cultural development.

“We aren’t just going to provide a performance review with goals outlined and then not give you the tools and resources to accomplish it,” she says.

One of her first tasks on the job was to move professional development funds away from business units, instead emphasizing individual professional development to better align “what we needed internally in terms of skills or ability with employees’ personal growth.”

One benefit of that process is that ACA is now better positioned to promote from within. “Our ability to recruit internally with qualified internal candidates is a cost saving for ACA and also a return on investment,” she says. “We’re putting our behavior close to our intentions and saying, ‘We’re going to invest in you, and we hope you invest in us.’”

(Robert Daly/Getty Images)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!