Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Member Surveys

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Associations and member surveys go together like peas and carrots. Here are some highlights from our archives that can get you thinking more strategically about them.

The member survey is one of the most important tools associations have to understand the interests and needs of their members. The right survey can lead to some significant organizational changes—but asking the right questions, and uncovering the right answers, takes some strategy.

So how can you make the most of those surveys? These pieces from the ASAE and Associations Now archives might help:

Rules of Engagement: Build Better Surveys. This list of survey tips, built with the help of Eric Larson of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, offers a basic formula that could boost response rates. One tip: Keep it simple. “With surveys, you’re aiming to open up a conversation with the member,” Larson said.

‌Four Language Pitfalls Associations Should Avoid in Member Surveys. Cynthia Simpson, CAE, former manager of member services at the National Society for Histotechnology, breaks down issues that can emerge in your survey questions, including implications, gender bias, and oversold expectations. “If you aren’t able to implement the answer, then really think hard about asking the question,” she said.

Membership Memo: Survey Surprise. Sometimes your surveys tell you a lot more than you might have expected—something the American Chiropractic Association learned a few years back when, after a member survey, the association discovered that many members didn’t fully understand the benefits the association offered. “Sometimes when you do a survey, you get responses that you never intended,” said Anne Marie Munson, ACA’s senior vice president of operations. “And for us, the question that was really answered was that people don’t really know what their benefits are.”

Member Surveys and Beyond: What to Do With All That Data. In this 2016 piece, Joyce O’Brien, now vice president of membership and industry partnerships for the American Society of Interior Designers, highlighted the way associations can harness data produced by their surveys. “Too often the magnitude of data can overwhelm even the most seasoned membership professional,” she wrote. “How can this critical tool be used in understanding, engaging and growing your membership?”

Survey Says: Member Research Needs to Come Before Reaction. Mary Baehr, principal consultant of Trailblazer Market Research, makes the case that member research needs to drive how associations respond to issues that emerge. “By taking the time to research, you’ll have a better understanding of an issue’s scope (What percentage of the membership this actually affects?) and depth (How important it is to your membership base as a whole?),” she wrote.

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A No-Cost Way to Both Raise Membership Dues and Benefit Members

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It’s never an easy decision to raise membership dues, but a CEO came up with a solution to not only raise dues 10 percent but also provide members with real value—making the whole process seamless and successful.

When and how much to raise membership dues is a perennially delicate topic, further complicated by the economic hardships associations have faced in the past 18 months. Many associations paused raising dues, but with escalating costs and a new year approaching, it’s time to reassess the situation.

Dan Bond, CAE, president and CEO of the Synthetic Turf Council knew it was time to raise membership dues. STC hadn’t increased dues in many years, but its board was reluctant to do it because of potential pushback from members.

Provide Members Real Value

Bond had an idea: An outside group had put together a global industry market report that didn’t focus on North America, where many of STC’s members are based. Bond spoke to the board and explained that if STC could justify a 10 percent dues increase by providing members with an industry market report they could not conduct on their own, it would be a win-win.

Bond wanted the board to focus on where STC could make the most impact and what it could do for large individual industry participants—both members and nonmembers. “I was able to work with my board and, to their credit, they saw that the goal of an organization like the Synthetic Turf Council is to provide value for members they can’t do themselves,” Bond said. “This really ticked that box.”

Bond’s team solicited a few proposals to find out how much the report would cost and targeted the dues increase to cover the cost so it could be released free to members. Some members did ask Bond if the report was necessary, and Bond explained that STC was paying for something of value for members.

“It was very important to have the right message that the dues increase was paying for an industry report that members had been asking us to do for a long time,” Bond said.

It wasn’t a heavy lift to keep track of the numbers for the dues increase and to pay for the report. STC is a small-staff association, and Bond has a good sense of the money coming in and out. He works closely with his chief financial officer, treasurer, and board of directors to keep them updated on what’s happening with the group financially.

In the end, STC was able to fold in a 10 percent dues increase to pay for the report. Through member surveys, Bond and his team could see that members responded well to the dues increase and were open to the idea because they were getting information they needed. An added bonus? Retention rates stayed about the same. And STC was able to sell the report to nonmembers for a very low, introductory price.

“We’ve had some great success,” Bond said. “We were able to pass the dues increase, put out an industry report that’s of substantial value, and it’s really set the blueprint for doing a follow-up survey in 2022.”

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Four Strategies to Make Your DEI Messaging Clear to Members

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Your association may be doing a lot of work on diversity, equity, and inclusion—but your members may not be aware of it. Here are some ideas to ensure that your DEI messaging matches your efforts.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion needs to go beyond talk. But if you don’t talk about what your association is doing to improve, you might be undermining your own work.

Signs show that many members aren’t aware of their association’s DEI efforts. A Willow Marketing study [PDF] recently found that nearly 40 percent of association members were unsure of whether their organization had a documented DEI policy—and that just 16 percent of respondents rate their organization’s efforts to build a diverse member community as “excellent.”

Is messaging the problem? Tim Hopkins, CAE, a senior consultant with McKinley Advisors and a member of ASAE’s Diversity + Inclusion Committee, noted that this problem may not necessarily be isolated to DEI initiatives. Organizations are often doing a lot of things, and members may simply be overwhelmed by the volume of information.

“I think that’s partly because the world is flooded with information all over the place—email and social media, a lot of inputs,” he said. “So it’s easy for any communication to get lost in the mix.”

How can an association ensure that its DEI messaging makes an impact? Here are some insights from Hopkins on how to balance communications when executing a DEI strategy:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Yourself

Hopkins said that with members being deluged with messaging from both within and outside of the association, it’s easy for something to get missed.

The solution: Share the messaging more than once.

“Repetition does help lead to members getting a better chance of seeing that message and understanding what’s going on,” he said.

He also said it was important to vary the messaging for different needs, using methods such as social media. “Don’t just send out text. Do a video, share an image that connects to the work you’re doing,” he added.

2. Don’t Wait for the Big Moment

According to Hopkins, many association leaders understand the need to tie words and actions together, but they may be concerned about having enough results to show for their efforts—or that they might overhype that work in the process. But tackling a big initiative won’t happen overnight, and it takes time to get things right.

Hopkins emphasized that it is important to be comfortable speaking up even without a grand reveal, and instead to share efforts whenever possible so members know how it’s going—good or bad.

“I think of organizations that are often holding on for the perfect message saying we’ve done a huge thing. I don’t think that’s necessary to wait,” he said. “In fact, I think it’s important to communicate even some of the small bits of progress, and sometimes the tension points they run into. Members paid their dues because they want the organizations to do things on their behalf.”

3. Lean Into Sharing Your Success

On the other hand, some organizations may avoid boasting about their efforts because they tend to be more humble. Hopkins gets the concern.

However, he said it’s still important for members to have an idea of what’s going on—whether that’s a legislative win or significant progress on a policy initiative supporting DEI. Hopkins recommended framing DEI efforts as a success of the entire organization, members included.

“You should not be timid about sharing those things. It’s a win for your community,” he said. “Keeping that part in mind—‘we did the following,’ the collective ‘we’—is a great way to approach it. And I think that’ll hopefully help get organizations past some of that reluctance to share.”

4. Promote DEI Efforts Like Your Events

Another challenge associations may face is when and how to promote the organization’s DEI efforts consistently, so those efforts don’t fade or appear randomly.

Hopkins suggested looking closely at successful messaging in other areas of your organization—say, when it comes to your annual meeting—and basing your DEI communication strategy on that approach.

“The level of effort and care that goes into the communication strategy of your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts should be along those lines,” he said. “If it is a priority, then it needs to be something that they frequently talk about and in different ways.”

He added that more regular messaging can also help ensure proper representation in marketing messaging, as it can highlight underrepresented groups in an equitable way that makes your efforts clear to members.

“I work with a lot of organizations that would like to diversify their leadership and their field in general, and this is one of those ways to do it,” he said, adding it can help fill the gap “until the organization is as diverse, equitable, and inclusive as they hope it can and should be.”

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A Successful, Drama-Free Way to Raise Member Dues

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The end of the year is approaching, and many association professionals are thinking about whether to raise dues—and by how much. Many organizations paused increases during the pandemic, but now it’s time to weigh the options. Here’s one association’s success story.

Truth be told, many people would rather think about anything else besides when to raise membership dues or how to do it. But with dues revenue more necessary now than ever, is there a way to avoid the awkward, recurrent discussion of how to get it done? In a word: yes.

Susan Avery, CAE, CEO of the International Association of Plastics Distribution, had been with the group for a couple of years and noticed that at every fall board meeting raising dues was on the agenda because her predecessor had added it, and there it remained. Typically, there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to raising the dues—it had more to do if IAPD was in the black or not. And a lot of times when raising dues came up, it was for a big jump, like 5 or 10 percent.

‘This Is Insane’

After Avery sat through a couple of those meetings, she thought, “This is insane.” Having to go back and justify to members every couple of years that the dues would increase 5 to 10 percent was a hard conversation and it caused a lot of pushback. In IAPD members’ world, raw material prices, labor, and transportation go up and they adjust their prices. “It’s just a way of life,” Avery said.

She decided to talk to a couple of members, who said they were more anticipatory and knew that their customers could absorb automatic price increases, rather than reactive price increases. Without doing a big announcement, they just basically said to customers: “Here it is.”

Avery liked that approach and took it to her board about 12 years ago, and they agreed to try it. Ever since, IAPD has been doing an automatic 3 percent annual increase. “I think in all those years we’ve had maybe one or two calls or emails about it,” Avery said.

During that time, the group has had to make some adjustments for when companies consolidate, acquire companies, and maintain individual brands under a national infrastructure. IAPD charges them additional dues if they maintain those separate brands under their membership.

But IAPD did not have to pause the increase during the pandemic since its members never shut down. They were an essential business because they produced the plastic shields and see-through barriers seen in grocery stores, banks, and schools. Many of them retrofitted their operations to produce those needed items because they were already selling the material. “It wasn’t a good time to pause,” Avery said.

Making the Case for an Increase

Before going to the board with a proposed automatic dues increase, Avery recommends getting examples from other associations and leaders who have successfully implemented something similar. “If you can point to lessons learned and success stories from other associations, that gives boards a lot more confidence about doing something like this,” she said.

It’s important to show them that if they had an automatic increase each year—which doesn’t have to be 3 percent—instead of the periodic big jumps, they would still end up in the same place, but without all the drama.

IAPD has diversified its revenue stream over the years, and during the pandemic it lost meetings revenue, like many organizations. But it had a very small loss operationally and ended up with a large surplus because of its investment funds.

“We’ve had our best two years in the last two years, ironically,” she said. She attributes part of that to the dues supporting the infrastructure of the organization.

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Membership Pro Tip: A Joint Student Membership

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A collaborative partnership between two associations checks a lot of mutually beneficial boxes. It engages more student members, advances workforce development, benefits the industry each group represents, and more.

Two noncompeting associations that have similar missions aimed at slightly different demographics came together to create a reciprocal student membership program. SME, an association that works to advance manufacturing and develop a skilled workforce, and Women in Manufacturing (WiM) recognized there was a lot of potential for finding opportunities and ways to work together.

“We’re both trying to accomplish similar things as mission-driven nonprofits around workforce development and preparing next-generation talent to enter the manufacturing workforce,” said Bob Willig, SME executive director and CEO.

How Does It Work?

The reciprocal memberships will allow students seeking education in manufacturing-related fields to pay one $40 fee to become student members of both associations, with access to the resources and networks of both. Other benefits now available to student members include:

  • Access to exclusive newsletters, webinars, and podcasts from both WiM and SME
  • Job boards and access to hiring employers
  • Discounted registration to regional and national SME and WiM events
  • Expanded networks of peers to share information and experience

Why Is It Effective?

By signing up with one association, student members gain access to two groups, along with access to the better part of 20,000 members if they sign up for the combined association membership.

“It goes to the core of our mission and values and principles as an association,” Willig said.

What’s the Benefit?

There is a large skills gap in the manufacturing workforce today, which could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. “The goal is to help develop and prepare more individuals to enter manufacturing-based careers,” Willig said. “And this gives us a broader audience with which to attract membership.”

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

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Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Better Panel Discussions

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Perfecting the panel discussion can feel like a dark art, but it doesn’t have to. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Panel discussions—already a challenge to get right—have only gotten more complicated in the virtual format.

But just because panels have a reputation for being a bit dry doesn’t mean you can’t consider new ideas to keep them fresh and vibrant.

(One thing you should consider? Avoiding the “manel,” an all-male panel, something that the nonprofit GenderAvenger focuses on.)

With that in mind, here are some discussion points on panels from the archives:

Meetings Pro Tip: The Power of Props. In this article, professional meetings facilitator and founder of Powerful Panels, Kristin Arnold, offers a useful trick for those looking to build engagement with panels in a virtual format: Add some props, just like many popular TV panel shows do. “Most people will agree that event design is more like event production,” Arnold said. “You know, we’re looking more like TV shows.”

Five Steps to a Truly Engaging, Lively Leadership Discussion. This piece by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, highlights how she managed a panel of four female CEOs, each discussing her leadership style during the pandemic. “Although the discussion probably appeared organic from an attendee’s perspective, this conversational panel was the result of significant pre-planning and collaboration with the panelists,” she wrote.

A New Twist on the Panel Discussion. This 2015 piece highlights the way that ACPA–College Student Educators International reinvented its panel discussions by creating Idea Generator, a session format that allows audience members to “tap out” panel members so they can take their place—and offer their takes.

Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations. This piece by Beth Brooks, CAE, executive director of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, discusses (among other things) the role of moderators in making a panel discussion feel more worthwhile. “Without a skilled moderator who knows the subject matter and has the tact and confidence to manage a discussion with multiple participants, a panel session can quickly run off the rails,” Brooks wrote.

#Ideas17: Take Cues From Pop Culture to Power Up Your Panel Discussions.‌ This piece, highlighting a session from the 2017 ASAE Great Ideas Conference, featured Powerful Panels’ Arnold discussing the ways that popular TV shows—including sitcoms and talk shows—can inspire the design of your format. “I’m going to suggest that we spend as much time working on our panels as picking our main-stage speakers,” she said.

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Nondues Revenue in Pandemic Times: The Power of Passive Revenue Streams

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For associations with small staffs, generating revenue on top of other duties can feel overwhelming. One association discusses how it uses revenue share programs to cut down the work and bring in a steady flow of funding.

While creating new products and events are stalwarts of association revenue, it is also useful to have revenue streams that take less work to maintain. In this final piece in our nondues revenue series, I look at how associations can use revenue share and affinity programs to bolster their finances.

Alan DeYoung, executive director of the Wisconsin EMS Association, has a small staff—just three people—and members who don’t earn a lot and wouldn’t renew if the organization had regular dues increases. So, DeYoung spends his time thinking about ways to generate revenue that are easy for a small staff.

“I feel like Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants sometimes,” DeYoung said. “I see money everywhere because we can’t charge very much for our membership dues. The majority of our revenue comes from nondues-related things.”

Because he’s got a small staff, DeYoung likes revenue share and affinity programs because once they’re in place, he doesn’t have to do anything else but watch the funds come in. Revenue share and affinity programs generally work like this: a company offers a product or service to your members at a discount, and when members purchase the product or service, the association gets a share of the purchase price.

David Frankil, CEO of Frankil Advisory Services, notes that for these types of programs to be effective for both the association and the sponsoring company, the benefit to the member has to be good.

“So, saving 1 percent on paper is interesting, but it’s not going to make me jump up and down, and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I see tremendous value in my association membership,’” Frankil said. “If you’re in the dental space and able to negotiate special pricing for software to manage a dental practice or in the financial sector and able to negotiate core processors for credit unions—something that goes to the core of what members do and how they do it—then that’s more tailored and more interesting.”

DeYoung agrees that finding the sweet spot of deals that are of interest to members is crucial. He says talking to members can give associations ideas for which companies to try.

“I ask our members: Who do you buy from, and what do you buy?” DeYoung said. “It’s a simple question, obviously, and you can get a thousand different answers. A lot of times, the easiest one to start out with is who do you buy from, because there is overlap between who they buy from.”

Due Diligence Required

Once DeYoung has talked to members and found companies that overlap, he does some background work to see if they’re a good fit and have a record of serving customers well.

Frankil agrees with this approach. “You have to go through a meaningful due diligence period with your perspective partners,” he said.

Once DeYoung is satisfied a business is a good fit, he’ll reach out to them. “I try to negotiate as much as possible, and ask, ‘How much of a revenue share are you willing to give us?’” DeYoung said. “That normally depends on what they’re selling. A software company might be able to give you 10 percent, but a commodity company might only be able to give you 3 to 5 percent as a revenue share.”

This revenue approach also works well because it helps your members, who are likely busy.

“They don’t have time to go looking around for vendors, looking around for discounted pricing, even just vetting out vendors,” DeYoung said. “Through this whole process of getting some type of referral rebate agreement, you’re doing some vetting in that process: Is this something our members want? Does this company have enough resources to serve our members? You’re doing all that leg work through this process.”

Finding a product that helps members do their jobs better is a win-win for everyone involved. “If you can help make one of your members successful, then you’ve got a member for life,” Frankil said.

Once a revenue share is in place, DeYoung is a happy camper because that means he can move on to other association business and wait for the revenue to come in.

“Some of these, we might see 500 bucks a year, but I really don’t have to do much but list them and [share] how to access them, and other ones bring in tens of thousands of dollars a year,” DeYoung said. “It just all kind of depends on what they’re buying.”

This is the final article in our nondues revenue series. Be sure to read the previous two about embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and using digital channels for sponsorship.

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How to Create a Culture Around Many Cultures

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Remote work brings out a range of work styles. Rather than trying to make everybody stick to the same processes, leaders will have to find coherence in diversity.

If we’re lucky, one change the pandemic will bring to the workplace is the end of the idea of a monoculture. An association should have a shared set of values, of course. And it needs to agree on what its strategic goals are. But there’s plenty of room for people to address those things in their own way. You’re getting the right people on the bus, as the familiar line goes, not the same kind of people on the bus.

This awareness is a function of the way work has been disrupted and redistributed in the wake of COVID-19: More people working on different schedules from different places, as well as a greater awareness of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences people bring to work. Different organizations have adopted a range of approaches to these changes, but General Motors has adopted one of the most straightforward ones: In April, CEO Mary Barra said the company’s philosophy going forward would be “work appropriately.”

The one-size-fits-all approach fostered a culture of hiding.

That is, remote work and shifting roles when they make sense. This has plain practical benefits—savings on office costs, most obviously. And it’s a meaningful recruitment-and-retention tactic when a war for talent is going on. But there are cultural upsides to this too. MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer George Westerman recently wrote that older, more rigid management schemes tended to operate to the detriment of the organization, where people were afraid to speak up about the challenges they faced or the accommodations they needed.

“The one-size-fits-all approach fostered a culture of hiding,” he wrote. “People would take the flexibility they needed and hope they didn’t get caught. At best, the hiding was stressful. At worst, it could encourage a culture of dishonesty or disrespect.”

There are risks to this organizational looseness. In Harvard Business Review, scholar Stephen Bungay writes that a “no rules” culture, with flatter hierarchies and more accommodations, can lead to power struggles and processes constantly built on the fly. Cultivate positive rules for an organization, he advises, “which create internal predictability and simplicity that enables the group to deal with external uncertainty and complexity.”

Associations, like everyone else, are still working through this. A September survey of association leaders conducted by Achurch Consulting and Association Trends found that many struggle with “fewer opportunities for organic communication and relationships,” and that asynchronous work schedules leave some feeling like their work lives are subject to unproductive interruptions. Middle managers are supposed to keep everybody on task in a remote environment, but more need to be trained in how to communicate in that context.

So there’s still work to be done as far as figuring out what’s appropriate in that “work appropriately” mantra. Leaders can go a long way toward settling that by doing the kind of listening necessary to hear out employee concerns. (So long as it’s done authentically and doesn’t reflexively put people back in the boxes they used to be in.) But it’s clear that going back to old management styles won’t work. MIT’s Westerman noted that “going forward, it will be important to meet requirements for fairness and nondiscrimination while also recognizing the specific needs of each person.” That’s a tricky needle to thread, but will likely be increasingly essential for drawing in and keeping your best people.

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Elevate Your Conference Education

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There’s never been a better time than right now to reimagine your education programming for your first in-person conference in some time, for many—in over two years. All those changes you’ve dreamed of trying can now become a reality.

Conference education sessions have long been considered the main course of the event, yet typically they reek of status quo. That simply won’t work anymore.

Sense-Making

During the last 20 months we have all been a part of a global digital experiment and we have relied on the Internet to help us find solutions to our problems. In order to attract people to register, you must demonstrate that you understand their challenges and have curated the right experts to help them make sense of the content they’re drowning in.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to organize your education sessions into challenge-based (not role-based) learning tracks. To improve impact, appoint a Track Leader with experience in that track’s challenge and in facilitating group discussions.

The Role of Track Leaders

Track Leaders connect the dots and weave the threads of the track’s narrative, overarching issues and themes. Similar to an emcee, the Track Leader opens and closes each day asking provocative questions and framing the context of the track’s learning opportunities. Ideally, they connect unifying factors between each session and kick-start audience engagement.

As research has shown, learning doesn’t happen through listening to one-way lectures. It’s important that the Track Leader challenges attendees to carve out intentional time to engage with peers and reflect on the important content being shared. This helps participants identify the big ideas and how to apply them to their work.

I can promise you this, if you don’t reimagine your education sessions to allow for attendees to share their ideas and applications with each other during the sessions, they will convene in your hallways and lobbies and stop coming into your concurrent rooms.

A Track Leader:

  • Acts as a bridge between the audience, the content and the speaker(s).
  • Identifies big provocative questions and ideas that participants should listen for during presentations.
  • Introduces concepts and presenters. Keeps sessions moving and improvises as needed or directed.
  • Makes intentional opening and closing remarks to reinforce and thread the content, context and learning experience.
  • If needed, moderates panels and conducts interviews with subject matter experts, which often includes audience participation activities.

Now is the time to take a fresh approach to modernizing and refreshing the main course of your conference. Well over 50 percent of your audience will most likely be attending for the first time and the rest will be expecting changes. Don’t waste this opportunity.

What would it take for you to execute on tracks and track leaders? What other ideas do you have to modernize your education programming?

 

 

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How to Create a Culture Around Many Cultures

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed

Remote work brings out a range of work styles. Rather than trying to make everybody stick to the same processes, leaders will have to find coherence in diversity.

If we’re lucky, one change the pandemic will bring to the workplace is the end of the idea of a monoculture. An association should have a shared set of values, of course. And it needs to agree on what its strategic goals are. But there’s plenty of room for people to address those things in their own way. You’re getting the right people on the bus, as the familiar line goes, not the same kind of people on the bus.

This awareness is a function of the way work has been disrupted and redistributed in the wake of COVID-19: More people working on different schedules from different places, as well as a greater awareness of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences people bring to work. Different organizations have adopted a range of approaches to these changes, but General Motors has adopted one of the most straightforward ones: In April, CEO Mary Barra said the company’s philosophy going forward would be “work appropriately.”

The one-size-fits-all approach fostered a culture of hiding.

That is, remote work and shifting roles when they make sense. This has plain practical benefits—savings on office costs, most obviously. And it’s a meaningful recruitment-and-retention tactic when a war for talent is going on. But there are cultural upsides to this too. MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer George Westerman recently wrote that older, more rigid management schemes tended to operate to the detriment of the organization, where people were afraid to speak up about the challenges they faced or the accommodations they needed.

“The one-size-fits-all approach fostered a culture of hiding,” he wrote. “People would take the flexibility they needed and hope they didn’t get caught. At best, the hiding was stressful. At worst, it could encourage a culture of dishonesty or disrespect.”

There are risks to this organizational looseness. In Harvard Business Review, scholar Stephen Bungay writes that a “no rules” culture, with flatter hierarchies and more accommodations, can lead to power struggles and processes constantly built on the fly. Cultivate positive rules for an organization, he advises, “which create internal predictability and simplicity that enables the group to deal with external uncertainty and complexity.”

Associations, like everyone else, are still working through this. A September survey of association leaders conducted by Achurch Consulting and Association Trends_ _found that many struggle with “fewer opportunities for organic communication and relationships,” and that asynchronous work schedules leave some feeling like their work lives are subject to unproductive interruptions. Middle managers are supposed to keep everybody on task in a remote environment, but more need to be trained in how to communicate in that context.

So there’s still work to be done as far as figuring out what’s appropriate in that “work appropriately” mantra. Leaders can go a long way toward settling that by doing the kind of listening necessary to hear out employee concerns. (So long as it’s done authentically and doesn’t reflexively put people back in the boxes they used to be in.) But it’s clear that going back to old management styles won’t work. MIT’s Westerman noted that “going forward, it will be important to meet requirements for fairness and nondiscrimination while also recognizing the specific needs of each person.” That’s a tricky needle to thread, but will likely be increasingly essential for drawing in and keeping your best people.

The post How to Create a Culture Around Many Cultures appeared first on Associations Now.