Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Formula for Member and Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

This blog post is in response to the October 2014 ASQ Influential Voices topic, "Recruiting Members and Volunteers Amid a Changing Landscape".

For any professional organization recruiting and retaining members and volunteers is a big challenge. However, this challenge is no different than organizations recruiting and retaining employees. Therefore, we can take a cue from the Human Resources (HR) area on how to effectively recruit and retain members and volunteers.

For the HR side let us explore an employee engagement model ("Managing Human Capital")* - Recruitment  + Participation + Recognition + Development --> Retention (RPRDR). Let us expand the RPRDR model as follows:

  • Recruitment  -  Hire for attitude and positive spirit (see Gallup's book "First Break                                 All the Rules")** - Talent, Expectations, Strength's Focus, and                                     Right Fit
  • Participation -  Need Orientation, Mentoring, Teamwork Opportunities, and                                           Meeting Management 
  • Recognition  -  Motivate employees through Recognition and Suggestion processes.                             Use Theory of Strengths (Focus on Strengths and Manage                                             Weaknesses)
  • Development - Offer Continuous Education & Training, Coaching, and Performance                             feedback
  • Retention       - Practice A to Z of "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em" #
* Manu K. Vora (2005). Managing Human Capital, Book Chapter, Six Sigma for Transactions and Service, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
** Buckingham & C. Coffman (1999). First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, M.  Simon & Schster, New York, NY. 
#  B. Kaye & S. Jordan-Evans (2002). Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay, , Brrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA.  
Now let us look at a similar Member/Volunteer Engagement Model - Recruitment + Participation + Recognition + Development --> Retention (RPRDR):

  • Recruitment   - Recruit with a Value Proposition (Professional and Personal)
  • Participation  - Create opportunities to serve on Committees, Conferences, etc.
  • Recognition   - Build aspiration - Advance Regular member to Senior member                                       to Fellow; Nominate worthy candidates for Society Awards
  • Development - Offer Certification Training courses, Customized workshops, and                                   Coaching
  • Retention       - Retain members and volunteers by delivering promised Value
Let me share my personal experience deploying RPRDR model in ASQ Chicago Section, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and sharing best practices from ASQ India.

Recruitment - 

1). From 1990-1995 I was able to recruit 350 new members at AT&T Bell Labs by offering ASQ Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) refresher courses at the Naperville, Illinois location. The Value Proposition was to expose employees to quality discipline through refresher classes and provide opportunity for professional certification.

2). From 1988-1997, for 10 consecutive years, we organized National Quality Month Simulcast for AT&T Bell Labs Naperville location to share best-in-class practice for the company. This free values-added service attracted management attention and resulted in ASQ new members.

3). From 1993 I am proud to share ASQ value-added services to my graduate students at various business schools globally. As a result I have recruited many student members globally.

Participation - 

1). At ASQ Chicago Section during 1994-1995, serving as the Section Chair, we had around 30 different committees. As a result, we were able to engage many member leaders to serve on different committees.

2). In 1997, the five ASQ Section leaders (Chicago, Fox Valley, Heart of Illinois, Illiana, and Northeastern Illinois) came together to establish Northern Illinois Quality Conference (NIQC). Between 1998 to 2012, for 15 consecutive years, this high value annual conference provided various opportunities for member leaders to volunteer and actively participate in this regional conference.

3). In 1996 when ASQ celebrated 50 years of its formation, as a Chair of the Site Committee, we were able to engage 300 members for the Site Committee.

Recognition - 

Let us remember that Recognition is the Only Paycheck Volunteers get!

1). At ASQ Chicago Section we had set up a simple process to advance Regular to Senior member during monthly technical meetings. Forms were kept on hand and distributed to potential senior members. Likewise, a new Advancement to Fellow committee was established. Serving on this committee, we proactively sought out highly qualified candidates and coached them in their Fellow Nomination Process. I am happy to share that since 1990 we have advanced around 15 members to Fellow membership from the Section.

2). Since 2002, I have a pleasure to serve as a Fellow Process Coach. Overall, very happy to have touched around 70 successful new Fellows from the ASQ Board, Committees, and International members. 

3). Since 2010, I have a pleasure to coach 6 new Fellows and 3 under consideration from ASQ India. 

4). Personally nominated worthy candidates globally for ASQ Awards over the last 25 years.

Development -

1). From 1993-1999, serving as the Chief Judge at Illinois Team Excellence Award (ITEA) Program we were able to offer special training to ASQ member leaders recruited as Judges from various Chicago area Sections. We followed Motorola's Total Customer Satisfaction philosophy for the ITEA Program. 

2). In December 2013, we initiated a Leadership Excellence Series (LES) for ASQ India Local Member Communities (LMCs) leadership team and ASQ India members. The focus of LES is to share quality management principles and soft skills to enhance leadership of member leaders and members. It is an honor to serve as a faculty to conduct these free knowledge transfer via Webinar on a monthly basis.

3). In August 2014, IIT (BHU), IIT BHU Global Alumni Association, ASQ India, and my company Business Excellence, Inc. embarked on a Leadership Excellence Series (LES). 
The objective of the LES is to impart soft skills and quality discipline to students and the campus community of IIT (BHU), Varanasi, India.
See the few links at: 

4). I have a honor to coach and mentor number of ASQ members globally in quality management discipline through teaching, writing, and in one-on-one meetings at various conferences globally.

Retention -

1). When one advances from ASQ Regular member to Senior member, and eventually to Fellow member, they stay with ASQ for a long time as they realize value of ASQ membership.

2). When an ASQ member becomes certified, they stay much longer with ASQ.

3). When an ASQ member adds better value at their workplace, they remain with ASQ for a longer time as they are eager to acquire new learning from ASQ and implement that learning at their workplace.

In summary, if we proactively recruit members and volunteers on a value proposition basis, we need to fulfill that promise by creating participation opportunity, and then recognize and develop them for better retention in ASQ.

I look forward to learn about your success with member and volunteer recruitment and retention.   


  1. After reading this, I am humbled by your examples and honored to be included among you in the peer groups of ASQ Fellow and ASQ Influential Voice. Your service to the profession provides a tremendous benchmark and example for others. I will share this post with others seeking tangible evidence of how to effectively build a base of engaged ASQ volunteers and long-term members.

  2. Daniel, thanks for your kind words.

    It is my honor to serve. We all are trying to spread a positive message of quality worldwide to benefit the humanity.


  3. Its very informative and i am sure it will help many other people like the way it helps me. Thanks for the information.CEO coaching India | Executive coaching India| Leadership coach India