Your members’ needs and expectations evolve as they move through their careers. Having the right technology in place helps you understand and engage with your members through each stage of their journeys.
When you think about your members’ experiences with your association, you likely think about acquisition, onboarding, engagement, and renewal. But when thinking about the complete member journey, it’s important to also consider your members’ needs and expectations as they move through their careers.
According to Community Brands research, members feel that career advancement and job opportunities are among the most important benefits of joining an association. A key part of supporting your members’ journeys is making sure you have the right career center and learning management technologies in place to enhance and increase the value your organization provides its members through each phase of their careers – from student and early career to retirement.
What Is a Career Path?
A career path is a clear-cut blueprint for job progression detailing the education and skills required to advance. This roadmap looks slightly different for each individual and each company.
Larger organizations may group jobs by function or department, and advancement may include lateral moves. They typically have well-designed training and development paths for employees to follow. Other companies may have a flatter or more fluid structure, and progression may be less clear.
Members in both groups rely on your association’s technology to help them map out their career paths and access the education they need to do so.
What Do Members Look for When Developing a Career Path?
A straightforward career path ensures businesses attract and retain top talent, and members seeking advancement need tools and resources to help them achieve their goals. Some cornerstones members use to develop their career pathways include:
- Partnerships within the industry that connect them to employers and mentors.
- On-demand, accelerated, or credentialed learning opportunities.
- People-skills enhancement programs, such as those emphasizing communication or teamwork.
Because member circumstances and career stages vary, a successful career center and its technology must focus on two primary factors — comprehensive member support and dynamic learning environments.
After members explore career options in their given industry and develop their progression path, they may look to your association for assistance. Your career center and technology can provide comprehensive support to your members by:
- Helping them identify current skills: Provide ways to evaluate practical and soft skills and align them to job qualifications and responsibilities.
- Helping them locate employment: Maintain an active job board, sponsor job fairs and networking events, and create multiple opportunities for members to connect with potential employers.
- Helping them develop new skills: Design a mentor program to partner younger members with experienced industry veterans. Offer regular or on-demand education with a robust library of current materials.
- Helping them gain credentials and licenses: Understand the steps and education required for industry-specific certifications and structure a program to help members achieve them. Consider sponsoring study sessions, teaching a crash course, or proctoring licensing exams.
Dynamic Learning Environments
While some education may occur on the job, there are multiple methods for developing member skills. Providing a dynamic learning environment is one approach. Your career center technology should include:
- Various training resources: The early-career member has different needs than a more experienced industry employee. Maintain up-to-date learning materials covering skill sets needed at different career stages.
- Various delivery methods: No two people learn alike. Create robust programs that work with your members’ preferred ways of learning — videos, in-person classes, texts, audiobooks, and more.
- Various engagement opportunities: A sense of community fosters more meaningful learning. Ensure members pursuing similar coursework have opportunities to interact with each other.
Under ideal conditions, members customize their ongoing education plan to align their career path with accessible resources. This personalization offers more control over training choices and delivery — putting the member in charge fosters accountability, creates higher levels of engagement, and produces a more meaningful learning experience.
What to Look for in Career Center Technology
Your career center should be a source of engagement and help for your members. Look for technology that supports 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.
Your career center platform also should allow you to support members at various career stages.
Automatically send jobs to interested, relevant job seekers via email when they’re posted, and allow your members to quickly apply to jobs from their mobile device.
Increase engagement and job views by recommending opportunities to job seekers, based on their prior searches.
Offer hiring managers sophisticated options that maximize exposure of their job postings to improve their return on investment.
What to Look for in a Learning Management System (LMS)
Members choose their association as the “go-to” source for training and education. In fact, according to Community Brands research, 85 percent of members look to associations for professional development opportunities.
Virtual learning experiences are gaining in popularity. Members want convenient digital experiences that fit into their busy, mobile-enabled lives.
Here are three things to look for in an LMS to support your member journey:
Flexibility — Look for a system that allows you to grow your online learning program over time to meet your members’ needs. For example, you may want to offer only on-demand learning now, but as your program evolves, you may want to offer livestreaming of your in-person events.
Interactivity — One of the key elements that makes your on-site events appealing is interactivity: talking with other attendees, asking questions, making comments. Interactivity can be brought to virtual experiences, as well. Look for a system that supports networking and interaction opportunities in your online learning experience.
Ease of use — Be sure the system you select streamlines and simplifies manual tasks to free your learning staff’s time, so they can focus more on delivering the right content to your members when they need it. At the same time, it’s important to allow your members to easily find content. Be sure your LMS allows staff members to easily tag and categorize content, so your members can quickly find the specific content they’re seeking.
Connect Your Career Center and Your LMS for a More Complete Member Experience
To create an easy, seamless, and complete experience for your members, your LMS should integrate with your career center.
Just imagine the following scenarios:
Your job board visitors see relevant jobs and popular, relevant, or recommended courses offered by your association that will help them become qualified for those jobs.
Non-members visiting your job board receive recommendations for courses and continuing education tied directly back to your association learning offerings, providing additional opportunity for new learner and member acquisition.
Members and non-members browsing your LMS course menu are presented with actual and relevant job opportunities they would be qualified for if they took suggested courses or learning paths through your organization.
Upon exiting courses or receiving certifications, learners are presented with job opportunities they are now qualified for as a result of their new competencies or credentials.
With the right technology solutions, you no longer have to imagine these scenarios. Community Brands offers career center and LMS solutions as part of our integrated software suite for associations. That means they work better together to help you support the complete member journey.