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Is Your Association Helping Millennials Further Their Careers?

Is Your Association Helping Millennials Further Their Careers?

Recruiting and retaining members is fundamental to the success of any association, but it’s often easier said than done. One reason for this is there’s often a disparity in what associations think members want from their organization and what members actually value. Another reason is you have to capture members early on in their careers. In fact, 62 percent of all members join an association within the first five years of their careers and become increasingly difficult to recruit as they advance in their chosen fields.

Millennials represent a significant portion of today’s labor pool at about 35%, meaning this generation is the largest in the workforce. As a result, your organization’s continued growth relies on millennials’ support through ongoing membership and involvement.

To reach this audience and engage in successful recruiting, your association must resolve disconnects by understanding what millennials value most. Armed with this knowledge, you’re better prepared to tailor your programs and services to provide what they want and need. Your career development services are a great place to start.

Let’s look at how your association could be helping Millennial members further their careers.

What Do Millennials Care About?

According to the recent Member Education and Career Development Report conducted by Community Brands, continuing education and certifications rank high as valuable member benefits across all generations. Millennials, in particular, value opportunities for career advancement. It’s up to the association to demonstrate to these younger prospects how joining their organization will help them grow in their careers.

The latest research on millennials in the workplace indicates they prize the following:

  • Technology: Millennials are a digitally native generation, meaning they grew up with more access to new technology than previous ones. Because they are comfortable with innovation, it’s important to them to work for employers who adopt new technologies.
  • Skill acquisition: Broadening their skills is vital to career progression for millennials. They highly value continuous education with on-the-job learning and enrichment opportunities.
  • Consistent feedback: Many millennials embrace more frequent, casual conversations than a formal annual review process. Receiving the information regularly allows them to learn as they go and make adjustments sooner.


What Do Millennials Look for in a Career?

When it comes to professional development for millennials, they’re wise enough to realize the key to taking advantage of growth opportunities lies in enhancing their skills and experience.

Learning new skills and mentoring programs/professional advice rank as “very important to millennials, according to the study. The three top motivators that play a role in members’ reasons to participate in professional training are: keeping up to date with new best practices and new innovative approaches, becoming more competent in their jobs, and earning or keeping up with certifications. 

In addition, millennials seek out employers that are straightforward about growth opportunities and career progression. They want positions with businesses that provide a clear career pathway and the resources for achieving promotions and milestones. Companies must demonstrate a valuable investment in career development for millennials to best attract and retain talent from this labor pool segment.

Millennial training

Millennials ranked these member benefits in order of importance that they think their association should provide.


How Can You Support Millennials’ Career Progression?

The primary way your association can support career progression for millennials is through robust member benefits, including:

  • Training opportunities: Maintain a comprehensive resource library with industry-specific materials, on-demand learning, and advanced delivery methods.
  • Personalized career journeys: Tailor training to current or desirable roles based on member circumstances.
  • An active job board: Provide opportunities for members to connect with prospective employers.
  • Consistent, relevant communication: Keep them informed with industry trends, best practices, and timely job alerts.
  • Current technology: Improve the user experience by adopting and encouraging innovation.

When it comes to discovering new job postings from their professional membership organization and within their professional networks, Millennials expect their associations to keep up with technology. Overall, most members prefer dedicated emails, monthly newsletters, and email recommendations specific to them based on past activity. Member behaviors are showing a desire for targeted, relevant messaging around what they are most interested in. 

Millennials like the idea of being able to connect their continuing education directly to available jobs or employers. They embrace social sharing, digital badges and posting tactics that allow them to highlight their continuing education on places like job boards, LinkedIn and other professional and social profiles. 

Millennials additionally prioritize continuing education opportunities as benefits they seek and need. Members prefer personalized learning paths that are self-constructed or recommended and use various modes of learning to best fit with their lifestyle. When asked about their interest in recommended learning paths, members report a desire for recommendations based largely on required job skills, certification opportunities, career stage and past interest in particular topics.  

Millennial Learning Paths


How Can a Job Board Engage New Members?

One way to demonstrate how an association can deliver on the benefits above is through an association job board. A career center with job alerts, personalized searches, and recommendations, plus the ability for members to import their resumes from LinkedIn and log in through existing social accounts, such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, will go a long way in driving member acquisition and boosting engagement.

Additional strategies for engaging new members include:

  • A solid onboarding process: Create member value through a series of onboarding emails to highlight different aspects of the job board and how to use them. For example, guide users through creating their member profiles and adding resumes from other relevant networking platforms.
  • Interaction: Encourage questions, respond to comments, and treat members like a valuable part of the association.
  • Proactive communication: Share the best user stories and maintain an active social media presence for celebrating successes together.
  • Exclusive communities: Develop an area specifically dedicated to new members and encourage them to consult those resources to reinforce the value of membership and the job board.

An association can go even further to explicitly drive membership by using prime real estate on the job board to promote it; for example, intelligently placed call-to-actions encouraging site visitors to join the association that link directly back to the association member benefits page.

Once at the association page, they can simply follow the association’s process for joining. In this way, the job board not only functions as a valuable member benefit to all generations in search of relevant job postings, but it also increases the opportunity for member acquisition and ultimately revenue. Furthermore, strategically promoting membership registration will help these prospective members keep your association top-of-mind as they search for career opportunities. Being presented with reminders about becoming a member can only increase the chances of them acting on it. These consistent reminders also help reinforce your brand.


Deliver the Very Best in Millennial Career Resources With Community Brands

For over 20 years, we’ve helped associations like yours grow membership, drive revenue, and connect users with training and employment opportunities. Our technology fully integrates with learning management programs for a total career center solution. Discover ways to bring maximum value to association membership today — contact a YM Careers team member online for more information or request your no-obligation demo.

Learn more about how to engage and retain Millennials

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