Career Resources Keep Members Engaged in Tough Times

Listening to member needs, especially during turbulent times, helps in providing responsive and relevant programs. One association’s updates to a members-in-transition program are helping members stay engaged, even though their employment status has changed.

In a chaotic economic environment that has featured layoffs, furloughs, and other professional uncertainties, associations can provide a critical bridge for members moving—often involuntarily—from one job to the next.

One example is the Building Industry Association of Southern California, which recently enhanced its Members in Transition Partnership Program to help industry professionals whose careers have been disrupted by the pandemic. The updated program features “Job Seekers” and “Find an Industry Professional” functions, which complement the existing BIASC job posting service.

“Our priority is to find new and innovative ways to support our members and service their needs,” said Kaitlin Radcliff, BIASC’s director of membership. Many members who lost jobs this year said they wanted to stay involved, support BIASC’s advocacy efforts, and attend its events, but because they were no longer employed by members companies, they didn’t have access to those benefits anymore.

Expanded Career Resources

Enter the BIASC Members in Transition Partnership Program, which aims to support industry professionals even though they no longer work for member companies. It also provides several ways for professionals to stay engaged with BIASC by providing continued access to networking events, education, and committee participation.

The new function for job seekers allows members who were previously employed by a member company and are looking for a new position to post a profile with a bio, resume, social media accounts, photos, and videos. They can also choose from 14 categories to indicate their line of work for prospective employers. Current and past BIASC member companies can use the employer function to find prospective employees in those same 14 professional categories.

I recently reported that a new study from software provider Community Brands, Association Trends 2020: From Disruption to Opportunity [PDF], states it is critical for associations to focus on these kinds of professional development benefits when members need them most, especially now with all the career challenges this year has brought.

A new report from Marketing General Incorporated, the 2020 Fall Association Economic Outlook Report, backs that up, stating that many associations are already on board. Eighty-four percent of respondents said their association plans to increase virtual professional development opportunities for members.

BIASC last used the Members in Transition Partnership Program during the 2008 recession. As soon as the implications of the pandemic became clear, Radcliff said, the organization knew it was time to bring it back. The goal is the same now as it was then: “to continuously be a resource for our members,” she said.

BIASC charges members a nominal fee for the Members in Transition Partnership Program so currently unemployed members can maintain their membership status. Benefits of the program include:

  • attendance at one webinar, general membership meeting, or workshop
  • all BIA chapter and SC email communications
  • a volunteer opportunity to participate on any BIA chapter committee for one year
  • member rates for all BIA events
  • complimentary one-year subscription to BIASC’s magazine

“Our members are extremely passionate and resilient. Throughout these hard times, we’ve been their biggest champion,” Radcliff said. “I’m confident we’ll come out of this stronger and more unified than ever.”

(Misha Shutkevych/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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