A consultant was hired, and after the training, someone said, “he was just doing it for the money. Once you see that you can’t unsee it.” There are many industries where it is not enough to be competent, colleagues and customers want to see caring too. Doctors and teachers, for example, we want them to care. We want doctors to care about making us healthy, and we want teachers to care about the growth of our kids.
What about association professionals? You can tell when the staff cares deeply about members.
Recently I started to wonder, which kind of caring should we be looking for when we staff our associations? Do staff members all need to have a passion for the mission or for advancing the profession or industry? Or can staff still do a great job without being personally invested in our members’ cause?
I thought I knew the answer until I went to the Association Chat community and asked: “do you think member-facing association staff must care about advancing the association’s mission or their members’ profession or industry to do a great job?” Out of 50 responses, 82% selected yes. Only 18% picked no; staff must have the skills to do the job but, they don’t need to believe in the mission.
What was more interesting than the raw numbers were the comments from many of those among the 18% who said no.
To serve members best, respondents said, staff members need to strive to add value, perform with excellence, be customer service focused, and empathetic to members’ needs and wants.
I do believe there are many association jobs where the very best candidates not only have the skills, experience, attitude, and culture-fit but, they also have something more. They are very curious about who they seek to serve, they want to make positive changes, and they care about the health and wellbeing of the members themselves. Once our members see that kind of care, they cannot unsee it.