The Great Resignation—the trend of employees changing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic at record rates—has put retention front and center of associations’ management needs. Now that employees have become used to more flexible work arrangements, many are more sensitive to ones they dislike and are prepared to move on if necessary.
“Employees are not going to stay with an organization that isn’t treating them the way they want to be treated,” said Amanda Haddaway, executive coach and managing director of HR Answerbox.
Naturally, she says, associations should look at turnover numbers to get a sense of whether management problems are alienating employees. But the flaw with that metric is that it’s what Haddaway calls a “rearview mirror” number. It’s better if organizations take steps to improve retention before it becomes a problem.
Haddaway and Jon Hockman, FASAE, chief practice officer at McKinley Advisors, shared six tactics association leaders can implement to shore up employee retention.
Recognize that being an association is an advantage. One reason employees go job hunting is that they lack a sense of purpose in their work. Associations, because they’re rooted in a mission to support a particular profession or industry, have a built-in message about the work’s inherent value. “Mission creates a sense of meaning that I think so many folks are craving,” said Hockman. The Great Resignation “has affected associations, but I do think we have a card to play that’s powerful and unique from the corporate world.”