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In a still-struggling economy, while technology changes at breakneck speed and demographic shifts drastically reshape the workforce and marketplace, you might say that associations have never faced greater challenges. Or you might say we’ve never had greater opportunities.
In recent years, the work of associations has been affected significantly by the turbulent economy. Despite recent discouraging job-creation reports, many factors point to a rebound ahead: The market is closing on its second-best year ever, job boards are listing more open positions, and meeting attendance is slowly increasing. As we watch the economic recovery, associations must keep sight of three trends that will influence our businesses.
Today more than ever before, association members expect custom-tailored products and services that meet their diverse and ever-changing needs. Increased competition is pressuring organizations to offer their products and services à la carte rather than as a package. You’ll distinguish your organization from competitors in your field by fully understanding your members’ needs and serving their specific preferences in the way they wish to consume information and services.
The advent of social media means new opportunities that transform the way communities are forming and communicating. To maintain our traditional strength as community builders, associations must create virtual connections while continuing to offer in-person experiences. If your organization doesn’t establish a social media presence, you may find that these communities will form unofficially without you. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media are powerful tools to enhance your current community. You also can use social networking to strengthen and extend the life of your association’s content, such as a meeting, publication or symposium.
With the economic crisis, many baby boomers are staying in the workforce to mitigate retirement fund losses. Meanwhile, the Generation X population and millennials have joined the labor pool, resulting in a multigenerational workforce. Many senior managers of the boomer generation will retire over the next 10 to 15 years, and this decrease in older workers will require that people accept more responsibility at a younger age. And with multiple generations in the workforce, we face the challenge of reconciling a range of value propositions, work-life balance expectations, professional development needs and more.
The workforce will also become more ethnically diverse, so managing and encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace is important for future success. Creating a pathway to management and cultivating future leaders, staff and volunteer, must become a key part of your association’s culture to stay relevant in a changing demographic landscape.
These shifts are happening in real time, and it’s important that we, as association leaders, keep informed of these trends and embrace change rather than resist it.
Details: Graham, email@example.com.