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Newsletter Article [Membership] [11/01/11]
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Kay Wilson, SPHR - Membership Director

A webinar for all chapters is held on a regular basis throughout the year.  The more recent webinar was held on September 14 in which there were lively discussions.  There discussion surrounded the potential issues, possible solutions and terrific suggestions for what we can do to alleviate some of the recruiting and retention challenges that the chapters are facing across the state.  Although the discussion was based on the numbers from July, the figures current through the end of September are out and bear scrutiny.  The recent data is:


As the chart shows, eleven chapters should be celebrating because they reached either Star status (0 – 2.99% growth) or Super Star status (>3% growth)!   There are only 5 chapters with greater than a 15 point deficit, and as our webinar discussion pointed out, in many, many cases, there are simple reporting errors and/or omissions that could clear up confusion right away.  For example, the chapters listed in BOLD have not yet submitted numbers as requested, and they are all 5 in the negative—something that could very well be rectified by a roster submission! 

Additionally, the back and forth between the chapter leaders on the call provided some terrific insight and ideas as to how to help boost our recruitment and retention efforts.  If I didn’t get the proper chapter named for the idea, my apologies, but the highlights are found below:

  • Jacksonville has appointed a Director At-Large who works directly with the Membership Chair to circulate at meetings specifically to look for guests and to act as an ambassador for that person to the group.  Additionally, they set up a table at their meetings for chapter information for both members and guests to highlight upcoming events and new members. 
  • South Brevard can attest to the efficacy of reporting in a timely manner—they have a 28.41% increase simply by submitting their new SHRM members as they get them—no one gets lost or left out.  Simply send that new member information to Crystal as soon as you get it. 
  • Sarasota Manatee has a specific outreach to SHRM members in their meetings, highlighting the benefits of SHRM membership and focusing in on LMO’s (local members only). 
  • Central Florida HRA in Orlando has instituted a “warm outreach” to the at-large members.  Once they have sent out the mailer to the at-large list they received from Crystal, they follow up with a phone call and personal invitation from a member, offering to meet them for a chapter meeting as their invited guest. 
  • Focus on specific new members at each meeting.  Highlight the value added of networking opportunities.
  • Treasure Coast makes a point of having ALL board members introduce themselves to the new members.  In addition, the board members also have chapter business cards that include the chapter meeting place, time, etc. information on the reverse to distribute at outside functions and their regular everyday interactions.

Some of the specific challenges that chapters mentioned they were facing, and the suggestions offered include: 

  • The need for fresh ideas for recruiting and retention.  Suggested:  Moving meetings to different times, offering a wider expo, reaching to other group resources for ideas (ASTD, etc.).  Try teaching resources.
  • The need to push for younger members, as “everyone looks like me”.  Suggested:  reaching out to area colleges, or specifically, HR professors to make connections and meet with student chapters. 
  • The administrative side of the chapter work is tedious.  Suggested:  perhaps your chapter could install a board member as a data entry person.  This would appeal greatly to someone who wants to be involved but is not an outgoing, or a number cruncher who doesn’t want to be in sales, shaking hands and recruiting. 
  • Not all of us are experts on SHRM.  Suggested:  play the SHRM power point presentation on a laptop during the meeting networking time.  It’s available at the VLRC at
  • It’s so expensive to come to the meetings.  Suggested:  some chapters offer meeting-only rates or meeting-plus-meal rates.  There could be choices with the economy forcing choices. 

Questions offered for discussion:

  • “Is there a SHRM retiree rate?”

In short, YES!  If a retiree has been a continuous member of SHRM for ten years and wants to continue their membership after retiring, the rate is $55.00 annually. 

  • “Why are my members leaving?”

Not only are exit interviews a must in your business, they are also an effective tool for your chapter.  They can help you to identify areas that need attention, places where you can re-focus your efforts, and track other things that can affect your membership.  Several chapters have submitted their exit interview to me, and together we can create an exit interview that we would like to set up electronically to go state-wide!  We have the means now to do that, and watch for upcoming information on that process and how you can help.

It takes much effort to get new members that it seems a waste to wait until they’re leaving to find out what they think.  Use a survey tool to find out what the current membership thinks.  Encourage participation by offering a special prize for those who participate.  Survey Monkey, for example, has a last page that can be printed out to show they responded, but does not show individual responses. 

  • “What can I leave the profession?”

One of the chapters made a challenge to the others of us on the call as to how we can leave a legacy program for the future.  In other words, what can we do now, specifically, to answer the question, “What can I leave to the profession?”    They try to focus on that with every meeting and project—keeping their eye on the objective of leaving a perpetual mark on the industry.  It doesn’t have to be a grandiose or extravagant attempt, but rather an enduring effort to keep our passion alive and pass it on.  Certainly makes you think.

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