What unused gym memberships and connected entrepreneurs have in common
Monday, September 3, 2012/
In my board role as new member integration chair for the Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) in Melbourne, my ultimate goal is to help ensure that new members renew their membership after their first year.
The highest drop off risk for any new member is in year one and this has been measured over 25 years (EO is 25 years old this year!).
To help increase the chance of renewal, there are a number of initiatives I can implement, but in a nutshell my role is to help new members engage in the organisation and make the most of the benefits that EO has to offer.
I am the facilitator, which I am extremely passionate about.
In our global leadership conference in Vancouver this year I learned how various chapters around the globe manage their process.
While some simply crack open a slab of Corona’s and get smashed (great idea in Monterrey), another chapter makes the new member invite everyone around to their house for dinner.
We had a good laugh at some clever initiatives, but ultimately our goals are the same.
Here’s an example of my process. When a new member is accepted, I email them within 24 hours with the subject line “your life and business is about to change” and invite them for breakfast.
Once we get to know each other I help explain the benefits and opportunities and outline our expectations.
By this point, I hope that the new members are pumped and jumping out of their skin to get involved. I can’t speak highly enough about my experience.
My role as ‘the connector’
It’s my role to help connect new members with new and existing members. That might be in person at an event or through email. Making introductions that could last a lifetime.
I organise groups to meet for lunch twice a year helping connect new members with existing members who are outside of their monthly forum group.
I also have a schedule throughout the year to help ensure I stay in touch so I don’t lose momentum.
My goal is to achieve a 90%+ renewal rate, so let’s see how I go.
In your company, when a new staff member commences, does the excitement wear off after day one, week one, month one? What strategies do you implement on a regular basis to help keep the excitement high and how do you win the hearts and minds of your team?
In my company, day one and week one are critical moments and I have blogged about this topic previously. I’ve also written about reinforcing the 5F’s during the first 90 days of employment (Fit, Family, Freedom, Fortune, Fun), but what initiatives do you implement on an ongoing basis?
What’s the secret to staff retention? Is it the free alcohol once a year at the annual Xmas party?
Secret number one: Win the hearts and minds of your staff authentically. Notice the italic word, which is in italics for a reason. In fact, go and re-read the bold bit again.
How, I hear you ask?
There’s no secret way. Every company is unique based on their own set of values. I have studied, watched, observed, practised, tried and failed different techniques and while I am very much still a student of the game, here is an example of 10 initiatives that work for me:
- One-on-one weekly coaching and mentoring sessions.
- Provide opportunities for your team to connect and build relationships with each other.
- Be selfless. For example, I am passionate about helping others work towards achieving their career and personal goals and dreams.
- Celebrate successes collectively on a daily or weekly basis.
- Highlight demonstrated values of your company and culture.
- Coordinate monthly and quarterly events off site in a social context – breakfasts, lunches or fun interactive activities.
- Provide constructive criticism as talented staff will want to learn to improve. I use the sandwich approach, a basic coaching technique: ‘positive – negative – positive’.
- Recognition. Highlight positive behaviours regularly and in front of other staff at every opportunity.
- Add a personal touch. I like to recognise birthdays and anniversaries of staff along with their partner’s and children’s along with other key milestones.
- Connect. Connect. Connect. As the leader, you should have the greatest network. Use your network to help connect your team wherever possible – whether professionally or personally.
To implement all these initiatives takes practice and a number of learned skills which all leaders should aim to develop over time. One of the things I love doing is sharing my wisdom with those who want to become better leaders.