Communicating the Benefits of Employee Association Membership to Employers

Communicating the Benefits of Employee Association Membership to Employers

Although the economy has improved steadily since 2007-2008, a recent report from the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that average salary increases and bonuses remain stagnant and are still at least a full percentage point lower than they were before the recession. The report also indicates that employee retention continues to be a top priority among human resource offices, with only a small percentage looking to hire additional employees.

Employees are increasingly looking for other workplace perks in order to offset these trends. Eager to hire and retain top talent, employers are more willing to provide benefits like flexible schedules, the ability to telecommute, transportation reimbursement, more vacation time and, of course, opportunities for professional development.

A report by the Association for Talent Development confirms that employers are steadily increasing both learning expenditures and learning hours per employee. These efforts not only improve employee productivity and skills, but also encourage organization and industry loyalty among workers.

Despite all this, employers may still hesitate to pay employee association membership dues and conference costs. An employee can increase his or her chances of having such requests approved by formally articulating how association membership and conference attendance improve the bottom line. Will networking opportunities enable an employee to close a sale or make a specific connection? Will the employee return to his or her office armed with best practices and practical solutions to share with the team? Can the employee present his or her findings in a training or seminar for other employees? Employees can further increase their chances by arguing that their organization’s presence signifies leadership within, and enthusiasm for, a given industry.

Associations, too, have a vested interest in helping members make the case for employer-paid dues. According to Associations Now, the Center for Association Leadership recently found that about 25 percent of employees would choose not to personally renew their membership dues if their employer stopped paying them, a percentage many experts feel is too conservative. Associations, therefore, should seek member feedback and carefully consider suggestions in terms of what programming and benefits are most helpful and sought-after. Although employer investment in professional development is growing, are associations prepared for that trend to change?

The timing is right for employees and associations to leverage these trends and seek employer support for association memberships. Careful employee consideration and planning, coupled with an association’s robust benefits program and an employer’s emphasis on professional development, should lead to a win-win situation for all involved.






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