How can SHRM chapters and members get more out of membership? Read on for a few ideas. This post is a part of the SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide.
HR Barbie, AKA Tamara in Ohio, asks the following:
I am so glad I found your site. It is so important for the newly minted HR Professionals, like me.
It was extremely hard for me to transition into HR, and like you, I did not find an HR position until I began attending CSHRM meetings (Cleveland chapter).
My problem with SHRM in general, is that it is directed more towards the management side. For professionals new to HR like myself, who only implements policy and is not a policy maker, it can be very off putting or in some cases a waste of time to attend.
I really want to join / attend on a more regular basis. Perhaps in one of your next posts you can write about how we can make chapter SHRMs benefit all levels of HR.
I’ve heard from others like my buddy Tamara here, and I know it isn’t a local problem for her. I don\’t know if these chapters are expecting the national chapter\’s offerings to make up for their lack of value or what, but it seems pretty silly to me.
What can SHRM chapters do?
SHRM chapters offer a discounted monthly meeting rate for joining. What good is that really? Why not offer some benefits beyond the ordinary?
Just a few ideas off the top of my head:
- Offer online audio/video copies of monthly meetings (can you imagine the value in that?).
- Have more general leadership/business oriented options.
- Create a chapter mentor program to bridge the experience/knowledge gap.
- Develop an in-house course solely for members (contact me, I’d love to help!).
- Deliver programming on things like social styles, trust, ethics, building credibility, managing up, professional development, leadership, integrity, and a thousand other things not completely dripping in HR.
- Encourage more small group “sub-events.” I learned at HRevolution that the small groups far outstrip large ones when you’re looking for real communication. The smaller the group, the more people interact. People still talk in large sessions, but they really make things happen when in small groups.
The whole audience isn’t made up of just HR directors or VPs. Sure, they make up a part of the audience, but you have way more people on the other end of the scale.
What can SHRM members do?
Members have a limited amount of options. If the chapter stinks, then there\’s not a whole lot you can do. Sure, you can join a committee and try to make a difference from the inside out, but that’s not going to work for everyone. And being a member should mean that you’re getting some benefits, not working your tail off as a benefit.
Chapters, give them something more. They are paying you an annual fee. And for what? To get a discount if they go to monthly meetings.
That’s your benefit? That’s your value proposition? How about offering something more permanent or intimate or interesting?
Another interesting value-add for SHRM chapter members
I don’t want to cripple your ability to fend for yourself, but why not rely on the amazing free advice and information found on Creative Commons licensed blogs? As long as you give attribution and don’t directly charge for the information, you can use it to supplement a chapter newsletter, start a monthly discussion series, or share as a bonus with people who come to meetings. Want to make the content sharing extra special? Tell the writer that you’re sharing their work with a new audience. It will thrill them to no end.
And you want to know something pretty cool? You could probably talk one of those writers into coming and speaking for you, too. See? I just opened a whole new pool of potential speakers for you.
Save me a little time, will ya?
We’re all busy. We don’t have a lot of time to filter information. If you can sift through some articles and find one you know will be popular, then that’s a value-add right there. Anyone can throw 50 pages of junk at someone. It takes some effort to whittle that down to 7 really solid pages of helpful information.
If that’s too vague for you to grasp, try this exercise.
- What’s your topic this month? We’ll pick wellness just for kicks.
- Look for free supplemental resources. Well, lookey here seems there’s a few great resources on wellness from Fistful of Talent, Compensation Force, and HR Web Cafe.
- Grab the link or print out the article. After the monthly meeting, share the link via email or the print version by including it in everyone’s packet.
Was that so difficult? And it is just one tiny thing that separates your chapter from a dozen others.
I’ve said it before. Some SHRM chapters suck at marketing. It’s not that you don’t care about members. HR people aren’t natural sellers or marketers. But if you can take some ideas like this seriously, then maybe you can take the short and simple (yet very powerful) step to help your chapter mean something more for everyone involved.