Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Key to Recruiting the Next Generation... It's Very Clear

You know... funny thing about how data jumps right in your face and says, "It's so apparent what the answer is to a question." For years associations have been squirming to find a solution or path to have a deep value proposition to recruiting the next set of volunteer leaders and members. People have said they aren't joiners. Well if you don't relate to them, YES that could be true. People have said they won't pay dues. Well if you don't have value, YES that could be true.

However, if you look at some crucial data, it is crystal clear WHERE the value and benefit of an association is for the younger generation. Try and follow me here...

Everyone keeps talking about how the younger generation will have like 10 jobs before they are 35. I keep asking myself... "Where are those jobs going to come from?" If you look at the demographic of our population, here is how they breakdown according to a nationally known demographer, Kenneth Gronbach:

- 78,000,000 - Baby Boomers (Born 1945 - 1965)
- 69,000,000 - Gen X (Borm 1966 - 1985)
- 100,000,000 - Gen Y (Born 1986 - 2010)

The coming generation of young people is massive. Here is the hook when you understand the numbers.  Baby boomers worked in the same job for 30 years and retired.  They didn't job hop because they were more loyal than other generations.  They didn't job hop because there weren't any great paying jobs laying around because their generation was so large.  There were plenty of executive candidates for most every job.

Fast forward to Gen X. I can remember in the 90's seeing articles on how companies were giving ski vacations, flex time off and all kinds of other benefits to attract top talent.  Why do you think they had to do this?  Look at the numbers. There are 9,000,000 few people meaning there were more executive jobs than there were qualified candidates. Employers had to give away benefits to attract the best.

Now here comes Gen Y.  100,000,000 of them. I'm telling you they will not be job hoppers because there won't be enough top jobs to fill.  There will be many more candidates for management and executive positions than there are jobs.  I've told all my kids in their early 20's to find a great job with a good company and ride that wave to retirement.  Supply of management is going to be plentiful and you will not get to jump from ship to ship.

Here is the hook.  If you are a young person and you are let go of your job through reorganization or
any other reason, don't you want to have three to four companies on speed dial that have told you, "If you ever decide to leave, come talk to us." When young people are in the interview process for a management or executive position, don't you think they need to set themselves apart from the competition by demonstrating on their resume they are an active participant in the industry? Of course.

This provides the golden hook for every association, especial professional societies.  Over the next twenty years, young people are going to want to have a connected network of people who "want to hire them if they were ever available" as well as "a list of training and industry projects they have been involved with" to let the employer know, I'm great, I excel and I'm good for your company.

If you have ever been let go from a job, you know how frustrating it is to find a new job. You spend months sending out resumes and collecting unemployment longer than you want. Your anxiety levels rise to all time stress levels. It seems all your friends who landed jobs... Knew Someone!

Well where did they meet that someone? In a network from within their industry.  Two things things young people will need when they find themselves without a job:

- A network who knows their qualifications without a resume because they are involved
- A list of engagement in the industry to separate them from the competition

I recently shared this philosophy with a recent association during my presentation and I looked over and the President had a big smile on his face. I asked him later what the smile was and he said, "I just figured out out new slogan for the next generation.  Why join our association? The time to build your network of people is not when you are fired." I thought that was quick thinking.

You choose to do what you want with the data as an association.  But I'm here to tell you, if you have ever been let go from a job and wondered what your next steps should be.  You get to choose to send out 250 resumes a week for 6 months or make 3 phone calls and have a position by week's end from someone you are connected with through the association who already knows your value as an executive.

I don't know about you but I see opportunity and strategy for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom:

    Excellent information. I picked up quite a bit from this. Enjoyed reading it very much.

    Bill Pawlucy, CAE, MPA, IOM, MBNQA