By Edward P. Salek, Executive Director and CAE
Spelling value with an E
Engaging yourself with STLE's value proposition is easier than you think.
ASSOCIATION-MANAGEMENT RESEARCH HAS FOCUSED lately on what’s known as membership engagement. Association managers make this a top priority because we know participation and satisfaction are highly correlated. The concept is simple: People who know an organization are much more likely to find value in it and join or retain membership.
Attending an in-person event is traditionally viewed as the most powerful way to create member engagement. In STLE’s case, examples include our 70th Annual Meeting & Exhibition this May in Dallas, the Tribology Frontiers Conference in October in Denver or perhaps a local section meeting.
While these are all great ways to connect with STLE, a majority of our community find it difficult to attend live events. Geography is an issue for many, because 25 percent of STLE members and 38 percent of member prospects live outside the U.S.
This is coupled with significant barriers our audience faces in their professional and personal lives. According to STLE’s most recent member-needs survey, nearly 60 percent of participants have problems finding time to participate in technical societies, restrictions on conference travel and issues justifying the benefits derived from participation.
Despite these concerns, STLE’s corporate and individual membership has grown the past few years. Alternative forms of engagement are helping us achieve this growth.
One successful tool is the STLE YouTube channel, accessible by clicking the familiar icon on www.stle.org. The channel hosts 50 short videos that allow a viewer to hear fellow members talking about STLE activities. Topics cut across five major areas:
• Personal reflections on the value of STLE from senior leaders and staff members
• Summaries of research into industry trends and opportunities
• Interviews with recent winners of our Student Poster Competition (a great engagement tool for students)
• Certification committee leaders discussing the benefits of STLE’s three professional credentials
• Recaps of annual meeting activity and benefits from the perspective of technical presenters, education courses and exhibitors.
Another useful engagement tool is a collection of six Webinars created by STLE staff members available for free at www.stle.org. These presentations are guides for anyone seeking ways to access technical information, select an online course to help prepare for certification or network through social media communities like STLE’s LinkedIn group.
Once you are connected to the organization, a deep and wide bundle of specific membership services enables us to deliver on the learn and achieve parts of the value proposition. Research tells us that members have four priorities in terms of support from STLE:
• Keeping current on technology changes
• Evaluating the quality of technical information from various sources
• Finding relevant technical/scientific resources
• Deciding among the many options for information.
Strategy in this area is anchored each month by TLT magazine, which earns a 92 percent positive rating from readers. In 2015 STLE is making TLT content even more valuable with a series of single-topic best practices reprints.
The newest addition to the series targets those who manufacture, sell or advise customers on the safe and effective use of metalworking fluids in industrial applications. The 48-page digital compilation offers eight articles sure to upgrade your technical knowledge, advance your career and help you better serve your employers and customers.
You can download Metalworking Fluids for free at www.stle.org, making it easy to access anytime or to recommend to colleagues.
Don’t let traditional barriers stop you from accessing the benefits of membership. Digital technology opens up the Connect, Learn, Achieve value proposition to a global community in search of reliable technical information from a trusted source.