The Importance of Member Engagement in the “New Normal”

By David B. Higgins, CAE

My…what can change in just a few months. “Unprecedented”, “Unnerving”, and “Uncertain” are now common words used in the news, at work and at home.  It may seem like ages ago when the state of the association community was a hustling, bustling enterprise of events, continuing education, exhibitors, resources, information, networking and social activity; with a board’s laser focus on vision, mission, and strategy. Being in step with our members, volunteers, board and associate providers was our natural and routine state of being. Then without warning, the bottom fell out. To those willing to admit their true thoughts, it just might seem that all of this just came to a screeching halt. Or did it? Continue reading “The Importance of Member Engagement in the “New Normal””

Working From Home: AKA, How to Keep Your Cat out of your Zoom Meeting

Ahhh, working from home.  It sounds so dreamy, and it’s portrayed on TV as the most easily executable task there ever was.  Picture it:  the kids are off to school.  The kitchen is sparkling clean from the previous night’s family dinner, where afterwards you enjoyed a nice card game as a family. Your house is clean, smells like freshly baked cookies while you sit in your favorite comfortable chair, sipping coffee out of a nice mug that has a sentiment on it like “Mom of the Year” or “Best Dad Ever”.  What a dream, right?

Except… that is not how it worked out for ANY of us in real life.  Suddenly, we were in the middle of a pandemic.  We began prepping at Partners, just “in case” we were suddenly working from home.  Technology was checked for all employees to determine what tasks each staff member would still be able to perform with their current remote setups at home.   Lists were made of things we would need to have with us, in order to keep a smooth flow going for all Partners’ clients.

Fast forward to the second week of March 2020 – the schools in our county go on Spring Break, never to have another day of school for the 2020 school year.  We are suddenly in quarantine, and all of our “just in case” plans are now “make it happen” plans, and we are all working from home.   We all agreed: working from home is just not as glamorous as it looks on TV.

Staff meetings and client team meetings are now happening via Zoom.  Half of us have sound, no video.  The other half of us have video and no sound.  We are all looking like something the cat drug in with un-brushed hair, trying to help each other with our tech struggles over the phone.  The good news?  We all worked through it together.  In addition, we are all now Zoom experts serving the company well, as we are still not traveling currently for company or client events.

I feel comfortable sharing some of the most important takeaways I gained from our journey:

  • Stay on your routine. Set your alarms, and “go to work” like it is any other day.  Not doing this will ensure complete chaos.  Trust me on this one.
  • Schedule breaks to execute your tasks that are NOT work related. If you jump up 30 times a day to do “just that one thing”, you will lose your train of thought every single time.
  • Stay connected to your coworkers – even a simple text or phone call will remind you that you are all a team.
  • Remember the physical background of your home office and execute Zoom meetings without your cat in the room!

We have been so fortunate here at Partners to have amazing management who have guided us through this pandemic with astounding patience.  We may still be in a strange spot, but we are certainly all prepared for the future.

Ricki Romig

 

Spreading Holiday Cheer

By: Danielle Jessup, CMP

Holidays are a great time to show others that you care.  Whether you manage an organization of 40 members or 4,000 members, it is important to remember them during the holiday season.  We live in a world where people communicate in characters through text and emails, which are instantaneous.  Weekly, if not daily, your members are receiving emails from the association, asking them for assistance, sponsorships, etc.  To receive a note in your mailbox that doesn’t ask for anything, but instead thanks them for their hard work throughout the year and wishing them and their families a happy holiday, is a refreshing surprise.  Continue reading “Spreading Holiday Cheer”