At Metro Milwaukee SHRM, we’ve experienced our share of success (and failure), but it’s around this time of year that we face the realization that we haven’t met the expectations of all of our members. That’s a painful realization, perhaps even more so because of our successes. We thought we were doing great, but then a member chooses not to renew (our membership cycle is July 1 to June 30). Why would they not renew?
Of course there will always be some people who don’t renew because they have left the profession or left the area, but there are plenty of others who leave for reasons that, we think, are more in our control. Somehow, we didn’t deliver on the promises we made or those promises were for things the member didn’t really value.
We send exit surveys, but history suggests that the response rate won’t be good and even then, we’re not sure we’re getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth. People tend to select answers from among the options we provide them, but they don’t go much deeper. And why would they? They’re leaving the organization, so what’s the return on their investment of time and energy?
So we looked to our members, who do have a vested interest in giving us insights into what they value and how we can exceed their expectation. In June, a survey was sent to our members and our response rate would be considered excellent by most measures. Some of what we heard we were already discussing. As a group, our leaders are representative of the membership as a whole, so we expect them to be tuned in. But there were some things that surprised us too.
The result of this input was a meeting of our leadership group and we painstakingly reviewed the results, looking for the little nuggets that could help us move from good to great. For one, our members told us that they wanted more information about HR’s strategic role. To that end, we are in the process of working on a second HR Executive Insight program when a panel of senior HR leaders from the area share their insights in a moderated panel discussion. Another point that members made is that we do a lot of programs on the HR body of knowledge, but that we don’t do a lot with what we are calling professional development, but here the focus isn’t on the HR body of knowledge but broader themes on leadership, time management, and more.
Our members also told us that they had plenty of problems on their desks already and what they wanted were more solutions. In response, we created a Facebook Group to serve as a platform for members to share problems and solutions. We also reworked our Fall educational conference to be a legislative, regulatory and judicial review but to use case studies as the foundation for learning, partnering our attorney members with HR professionals to present real-world scenarios and real-world solutions.
Our Spring Conference keynote, Ryan Estis, told us that great organizations disrupt themselves and are constantly asking the question about whether or not they are better as an organization today than they were the day before. Thanks to our member input and the decisive action by our leadership group, we think we can say we are, but tomorrow’s another day. And tomorrow, we’ll be better still. There’s no destination on our journey toward success, but there is a goal: To serve the professional and to advance the profession. And to provide unparalleled value to our members in all that we do.