Last time we were together, we discussed the disconnect between Baby Boomer centric Associations and Gen X and Gen Y membership recruits. Mainly, X and Y are not joining Baby Boomer centric associations.
All is not lost, however. When it comes to relating to X and Y, we don’t have to abandon ship. X and Y do bring significant value to associations:
- Gen X and Gen Y offer flexibility and the willingness to try new things. They are usually amenable to taking on different responsibilities – whether it’s part of their job duties or not – in order to gain the experience that will help them advance their careers.
- Because they are largely a tech-savvy group, Generation X and Y are able to offer ways to do things faster and more stream-lined.
- These generations know their way around technology. They know all the shortcuts and the ways to communicate with others. They can help keep on top of social media trends and they can get the word out to others.
- They are good at personal branding, which can then flow into association branding. Their personal branding can benefit us and our mission.
- Gen Y is very community oriented, have strong desires to help others – obviously a great benefit to associations.
- Millennials also want to gain experience to put on their résumé. We can provide them experience and skills that are transferrable to the workplace
- Gen Y especially – they like groups. They will bring their friends!!
WELL, WHAT DO YOU KNOW? X AND Y BRING VALUE TO THE TABLE AFTER ALL.
But, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. There may be strings attached to these value propositions, such as:
- X and Y are looking for empowerment to take on bigger roles and to make decisions or at least be part of the decision-making process.
- X and Y will job-hop. They don’t feel the sense of loyalty that the Baby Boomers felt towards their employers, rather, they’re looking out for themselves, and if that means changing jobs every two years, then so be it.
- This group is more of an instant gratification crowd, so moving up the career ladder needs to be sooner vs. later with them. There seems to be a growing sense of entitlement, especially among Gen Y. Are their expectations realistic? Of course not. But unless an association’s CEO is Ponce de Leon and recruit Baby Boomers for the rest of eternity, the association has to come to terms with it.
The key point for associations is to embrace and not resist the change that is coming. Associations smart enough to recognize and capitalize on the value proposition of X and Y will be the associations that grow and thrive. Easier said than done, sure. But it sure beats the alternative.