Joining Professional Organizations – Is There Value & Worth The Cost?
There are a number of professional organizations tailored for your specific career choice. Is there value in joining? Is it worth the annual cost? My simple answer to these two questions is an absolute yes.
For the past four years, I have been employed with a non-profit organization and my role has been a multi-faceted one. It includes but has not been limited to the following: accounting, budgeting, human resources and office management - just to name a few.
With the ever changing industry of human resource management, I found it important to become a part of the local (Human Resource Management Network) and national (Society of Human Resource Management) organizations. This has proven to be a great return on investment both personally and professionally.
Five Valuable Aspects of Membership
Five valuable aspects of joining a professional organization are employment opportunities, mentorship, networking, professional development and scholarships.
Let's take a brief look at the value that each component can bring to you, your organization or both collectively.
With the unpredictable changes that occur in business staffing needs, there may be employment opportunities that come up quickly and you are able to connect with those individuals directly.
Whether you are looking for employment due to an unfortunate layoff or your organization is seeking employees, it is an advantage to being a part of the membership that can serve as a great lead in both instances.
This aspect of a professional organization is vitally important specifically for young professionals. For example, I am a member of our local Human Resource chapter and one of our initiatives includes a partnership with the local university. We participate in Resume Review Night, which is helpful for the graduating seniors who are heading out into the workforce.
There is also the chance that serving as a mentor to a young professional can lead to future employment for your organization or becoming a reference for that individual.
I believe that most people can recall at least one person who served as a mentor in his or her life and significantly made a positive impact on them.
"The way of the world is meeting people through other people." - Robert Kerrigan
The importance of networking is not about gathering phone numbers. It is being able to connect with your peers and sharing industry knowledge. There may be an aspect of the profession that you’ve never dealt with previously, so having the opportunity to reach out to another colleague for advice is always a great advantage.
It should be noted that as social media has become more prevalent, networking is not only face-to-face but over outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Conferences, seminars and webinars are available to members at a reduced registration cost or sometimes at no charge. This allows those individuals the opportunity to attend these events and gain valuable professional tools. Some of these tools include, but are not limited to, enhancing decision-making skills, team building, negotiating strategies, and keeping up to date with industry changes.
There are a number of scholarships available for entry-level and mid-level professionals that could assist with either furthering their education (i.e. pursuing a Masters Degree) or obtaining a certification specific to your career goals. When considering the overall cost of pursuing higher education or obtaining a certification, I think the small investment of the annual membership cost is definitely worth it.
The annual membership fee for HR Professionals through SHRM is currently $190.00. There are a number of educational or professional development scholarships that an eligible member is able to apply for through the organization's foundation. In 2016, the SHRM Foundation will award 185 members scholarships valuing $750 each to assist with the funding towards achieving his or her professional certification.
Join Now - It's Worth It
Keeping all of these aspects in mind should motivate you to at least look into and seriously consider joining a professional organization. Personally speaking, I have found it to be very fulfilling personally and professionally to be a member of my local and national HR professional organizations. The individual growth and return on investment that can be contributed to your respective organization is well worth the annual investment.