Many associations pride themselves on their ability to provide industry benchmarks, highly respectable certification programs, and specialized online courses to advance the careers of their members. Though these programs are incredibly valuable, there’s one area many associations are missing out on: soft skills development.
In our recent Member Professional Development Study, 60 percent of respondents shared that content is the biggest driving factor for selecting a continuing education course, with 30 percent wanting content that helps hone skills in leadership and management.
Here are four ways to expand your soft skills development offerings:
Content Creation: Create resources your members can easily access and use. For example, craft PDFs with tips on how to negotiate, communicate, resolve conflict, and develop strong time management skills. These downloadable assets can be printed by members and used as a reminder to continually improve their soft skills, which in turn can help them stand out among their peers.
Micro-Certification Programs: Creating micro-certifications specific for soft skills is a great revenue source. These certifications can be targeted to members early in their careers and members trying to advance their careers. Members earn a micro-certification in a given soft skill by participating in a bundle of short courses.
Peer-to-Peer Mentor Programs: One of the best ways to build leadership experience is to provide it. By offering a peer-to-peer membership program, vetted members can connect with and lead student members and others new to the industry. Through this program, peers can connect on a quarterly basis and share experiences, advice, and connect through similar interests within the industry. Though this may not be feasible for many associations, it is worth considering to provide the hands-on experience many Millennials crave.
Super Member Thought Leaders: Identifying Super Members is a great way to raise engagement within your association. There are many individuals who are itching for the opportunity to share their knowledge on a public platform. Having members guest blog for your website or newsletter is a great incentive to keep your peers engaged and acknowledge the expertise held within your association’s membership. Not only does this help you create additional content, but it also builds credibility for your members looking to take their leadership to the next step.
Prioritizing soft skills development will keep members engaged and provide new opportunities for your organization to grow. Have additional tips you’d like to share? Be sure to reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.