One challenge CMC-Canada faces has proven more fundamental than others. Many associations are seeking to understand the reluctance of younger professionals to join and contribute to their variety of groups and activities. Theories range from the banal to the more radical :
- Online communities have trumped face to face interaction.
- We are well on the way to being and seeing the world as consumers rather than citizens (with the obligations of social responsibility and citizen engagement that come with it).
- The consequence of the current conditions facing young people within an emerging culture of privatization, insecurity, and commodification (creating a sense of powerlessness).
- General cynicism towards all institutiions (broken promises, ethical breaches, scandals readily accessible on news cycles and permanently archived on the web).
While CMC-Canada doesn’t advocate a particular point of view, it is clear that something has changed. Recruitment, involvement, and engagement are all significant challenges for any organization seeking to grow and evolve. Several decades ago, membership was a mandatory requirement of employment if you happened to be employed in a large consultancy. Members now join because they see value for their growth as professionals.
Our challenge is to demonstrate that membership comes with the opportunity to influence and shape the future of a valued partner.
While many of these broader issues are outside of our purview, we can make a difference. Here are some of the benefits of joining CMC-Canada:
• Professional Networking: Online Community: Website, Facebook, LinkedIn; Social Events: Pub nights, meet-ups.
• Professional Development: Pre- and Post-Certification Courses; Exclusive Online Industry Content; Special Interest Groups; Mentorship Program; Regular Seminars: (In-person and online).
• Publications: Common Body of Knowledge, Industry Study, Uniform Code of Professional Conduct
Finding their voice
We have many pathways available for younger members to contribute. Each Institute has a Board looking for volunteer members. There are a range of task groups and committees looking for fresh ideas and energy. Volunteers are required to help stage social and training events. Initial involvement at a local level provides the experience and know-how sought out on national committees and Boards, committees and task groups. There are numerous opportunities to voice an opinion, shape a response or policy or to offer ways to improve.
This level of involvement may not be possible for some. Blogs, discussions, posting of relevant articles etc are fertile grounds for discourse and shaping of opinions. Our members-only online community provides an excellent forum for young professionals to establish their brand and contribute to industry-related discussions.
What more can we do?
We can all do more if there is dialogue, involvement, and leadership. What we have done is create the opportunity for young professionals to invest in personal, intellectual development and create a strong case for future success by showing a dedication to professionalism and high standards.
Real change will only be possible if we expand the number of younger professionals in our communities across the country. To encourage joining and experiencing CMC-Canada, we are offering an attractive entry rate to allow for greater understanding of the industry, the CMC Designation, and the benefits of membership. The offer is a special one-time offer of a reduced membership rate for first time members under the age of 40 and a further reduction for the oral exam leading to certification.
It is a first step but we need to do more. A turnover of membership is a natural process of demographic evolution! Greater influence and power in CMC-Canada is accessible to our younger members. Augmenting our ranks with greater numbers of younger professionals will create demands for new services, expansion of capabilities, adjustment of our offerings, and ultimately the refinement and shaping of the role of CMC-Canada. The opportunity to create a relevant and exciting association is being handed over to a new generation of consultants. It is up to us to inform them of the value of community and to invite them in.
What do you think?
We would love to hear your thoughts on how we can provide value to young professionals in the consulting industry