staff-engagement

How to Hire Right for Engagement

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The most sustainable nonprofits have talented teams. Have you considered that your staff must be engaged before they can effectively engage members? Staff engagement starts during the hiring process. Associations with successful engagement programs say it has changed the way they hire. Even when you have all the right people in place, it is important to continuously engage your staff just as you would your members to get the best outcomes. Here are some staff engagement ideas featured in Entrepreneur from Dwight Merriman (founder of several successful startups):

  1. Ensure that those you hire understand your mission at the outset — those that understand the mission will be a better fit for the long haul
  2. Foster collaboration between staff — open huddles and team meetings encourage collaboration and engagement
  3. Educate staff regularly – when people feel they are growing and learning they stay connected
  4. Be transparent to build trust – communicating the good, the bad, and the ugly encourages open communication and engagement

Staff engagement stays top of mind at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. It’s a big part of the overall engagement strategy. Kathy Cannon heads up their engagement efforts and she fosters engagement with her team by facilitating a staff huddle twice a day to talk about training topics and highlight engagement achievements at the branch. The team also devotes 10 minutes to “Connections” (discussing connections with members) at their bi-weekly staff meetings and they regularly involve branches that are seeing the most success in team trainings to spread good habits across the association. The team there has a laser focus on quality interactions. Thanks to a strategic engagement plan and consistent tracking, the team doubled interactions logged from 3% of all check-ins to nearly 6% of all check-ins (that represents an increase of nearly 3,000  interactions per month!)

This is an excerpt from our recent Engagement Insights Report. You can view or download the full report on the Insights Report page.

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How to Get Your Leadership Team Behind Your Engagement Initiatives – Recommendations from the Akron Area YMCA

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Organizational Health, Volunteers, Webcasts | 2 Comments
We recently had an engagement webcast featuring Ken Hoyt, Technology Director at the Akron Area YMCA. Hoyt had a lot of great advice on staff engagement but some things that really stood out were his tips to get the C-level team excited and involved in the engagement initiatives at his association.
According to Hoyt, “We’ve set strategic goals around retention. Knowing that how we engage our members and how we involve our staff in that is a key piece. We are getting absolute support from the top.”
Are you looking to get your leadership team more invested in your engagement programs? Or, are you just looking for ways to prove the value of the things you are already doing? If either of these are the case, these tips from the Akron Area YMCA may prove useful to you.
How to galvanize the leadership-level in staff engagement:
 
  1. Look at measurable data – Hoyt’s first tip is to take a hard look at your data and ask yourself, “Where are we today? Where do we want to be and why is it important? Most people understand the value of having a broader membership base and retaining members is a lot easier than recruiting new members.”
  2. Break down retention goals – “If you are looking at retaining 1%, 2% or 3% more members, how many members is that? Once you have that figured out you can start tying those numbers to financial benefits,” explains Hoyt. All those things help justify engagement initiatives to the leadership team.
  3. Take it back to the mission – “Many people are surprised when you take those membership goals and connect it to the increase in number of lives you can touch every day,” says Hoyt.
Try these tips to encourage your executive-level staff to be more excited and involved in engagement initiatives. If you’d like to hear more information from the webinar, you can access the recorded version and if you’d like to hear more about Daxko Engage, you can always contact us.
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Engagement, It Starts at the Top

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In most corporations, senior leaders are the visible face of the organization. But, that isn’t always the case for members at health and wellness associations. Many times the only contact members of those facilities have is with front-line and wellness staff. That’s why it is vital that senior leaders take the time to define and champion the engagement strategy throughout the organization.

Senior leaders and board members are charged with setting the strategic direction and cultural goals for most associations to steer non-profits in the right direction and achieve their vision. We’ve all heard that positive attitudes and actions are contagious and can build a culture of engagement that involves and inspires all employees. According to Dan Dummermuth, CEO at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, “I think a lot of it is the sheer volume of people coming through our doors. What happens a lot of time on the engagement side of things is the capacity of the staff is tested. We already ask staff to do so much, and taking a systematic approach to engaging members is one more thing. So as leaders we have to take a hard look at that. If engagement is going to be a priority, if we really want to help people–and grow revenue by adding members and stem attrition by keeping members– we have to make engaging them a priority. Sometimes we may have people in the wrong roles, or lack adequate training to make engagement successful. So that’s something to evaluate too.”

3 Ways to Measure Staff Engagement

  1. Anonymous surveys – Be sure to stress that employees should be open with their feedback to allow real change to take place
  2. Team Huddles – Organizations with successful engagement strategies often huddles each day to share what was successful and what was not so successful with member engagement. This is also a great way for staff to keep an open line of communication with their team leads
  3. Be present – If leaders make a point to be visible and approachable it sets a tone for the whole organization. Making culture a focus is easier when senior leaders can be seen by everyone in the organization

Senior leaders are responsible for setting the tone for the organization and defining appropriate goals. Setting the tone for all interactions with all levels of staff helps set the tone with how your staff will engage with your members.

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Top Takeaways: Tips for Engaging New Members Webcast

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Daxko recently hosted an engagement webcast featuring Cassi McDowell, Engagement Specialist at the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and Christin Baker, Daxko Engage Adoption Specialist. We’re here sharing the top takeaways from the webcast, as well as resources to help you keep your new members engaged.

When polled:

  • 41% of attendees said that their own organizations had not established a culture of engagement but that it was coming soon
  • 36% said the already had a culture of engagement and
  • 22% said they did not have a culture of engagement

Now, on to our takeaways.

Utilize technology to create deeper connections.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.09.27 AMThe Cincinnati Y recently began using Daxko Engage to track member engagement. They used to write paper notes about new member interests, but these were difficult to keep track of. With Daxko Engage, staff have the ability to track member interests on member profile pages, allowing staff who engage with members to have a deeper, more targeted conversation.

Note: No matter what product or tool you use, you can it’s important to keep track of conversations with members to better understand their needs and goals. Non-Daxko Engage users could utilize a well-planned spreadsheet to track member goals.

Daxko Engage users also have the ability to create follow-up tasks for other staff members. For example, if a member mentioned an interest in youth soccer for their child, the staff can have the appropriate person follow-up and encourage them to register.

Create targeted initiatives to take new members on a journey.

The Cincinnati Y also utilizes Daxko Engage to execute a targeted new member program. McDowell explained that it’s like the new member is taking a journey with their Y. The Cincinnati Y’s program is six weeks and begins with a welcome email, then a phone call one week later, followed by several additional touch points. The last email is a mission email that explains the Y’s annual campaign. McDowell said the mission email at the end is an important step because it explains how the Y is different from other health and wellness organizations. “It’s so important to help members know and understand the Y’s nonprofit status,” McDowell explains. The mission email is informational and comes from a member of the development staff that can follow up with the member if necessary.

Don’t forget about other new member timeframes.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati experiences two busy new member seasons. The first happens as expected in January where people are rushing to join and set goals. McDowell’s branch has three pools and outdoor amenities galore so they experience an influx of new members for the summer season. These memberships, she explained, have less of a rushed feeling to them. These members join to experience their Y for the summer but they may stay all year if they become engaged. Think of all types of new members when creating new member initiatives. You may want to even think about adding a special touchpoint for different types of memberships.

The new member engagement efforts at the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati are paying off. The Powel Crosley Jr. branch (McDowell’s branch) has achieved a 4% increase in retention of family, adult, and young adult member units since launching Daxko Engage.

This webinar was part one of an ongoing thought leadership series: Establishing a Culture of Engagement. While Daxko will be hosting the series, the focus will be on highlighting progressive member-based nonprofits with the people, processes, and technology in place to better engage their members.