Someone recently reached out to me about young professional events for SHRM chapters. A few years back I was tagged to be the Chair for the SHRM HR Young Professional Advisory Council, and I had a great time working with the rest of the YP team trying to find out ways to help chapters engage their young professional members.
By the way, if you are looking for ideas to improve your chapter (whether it’s SHRM, ASTD, etc.), here’s a great resource I pulled together a while back: Rock Your Chapter.
Here are six ideas I’ve picked up that chapter leaders can use to improve their offerings for young professionals.
Ideas for young professional events
- First, know what your goal is with these young professional events. Do you want to increase membership for the young professionals? Do you want to increase engagement for existing YPs? Do you want something else? Be clear on that before you start.
- Look for non-confrontational events/spaces to start with. Remember, these guys, for the most part, are not veterans with 10 years of experience. They’re brand new HR professionals, and the more laid-back you can make it, the better. Maybe that’s my introverted side speaking up, but it can’t hurt to be very flexible and informal, at least to get started.
- Target the members of your local chapter with young professionals working for them. A large number of companies have young professionals in their ranks. You should encourage their managers and leaders to allow the YPs to visit your young professional events in order to make them a more valuable employees.
- Offer programming for young professionals. In the research I have conducted over the past few years, it turns out that this group of HR pros wants pretty much the same types of content as someone who has been in the field for 10 years. They just need the basic foundation in each area first to feel competent enough to starting building a career on that knowledge.
- Using social media isn’t a necessity, but it won’t hurt, either. I’d recommend a LinkedIn group or a Facebook group. Make it private where members can ask questions in a “safe” zone without fear of looking silly or risking any credibility. If you can get some interaction on these platforms, it can go a long way toward building a sense of community for all participants.
- Take a look at the young professional guide. It’s free, and it shows how you can focus on the three key areas that young HR professionals want to know about (based on some research I conducted several years ago). In case you are wondering, those three areas include:
If your chapter does anything in the way of young professional events, I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to drop a comment below.
Thanks to Michael for prompting me to write this. It took me a little time, but I hope it was worthwhile!