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The Merits of Member Engagement Research

Back view of business woman making video call and showing thumb up to laptop on the online briefing while sit on sofa at home.

Self-regulated organizations, also thought of as governance vehicles for professions, industries, trades, and other associations, face tremendous responsibilities on three fronts – protecting the public, delivering value to its members by helping them improve the quality of their work, and taking action to advance the profession.  

As the self-regulator works to achieve excellence in these three areas, the external environment in which they operate continues to evolve, presenting a magnitude of new challenges. Changes within the regulatory environment, navigating the impacts of COVID-19, incorporating technology into professional practice, and achieving an inclusionary workplace are some of the imperatives on all regulator’s agendas.  

To effectively navigate these challenges, input from members and registrants, key stakeholders, and even the public will be necessary. Pivotal Research is here to discuss member engagement strategies, and more specifically, how member engagement research can help your organization unlock valuable insights from members and translate them into concrete benefits for effective governance. 

Organizations consistently name-drop “engagement,” without properly defining or measuring the level of engagement among members. Similarly, although many leaders rank engagement as a strategic priority, organization actions regarding engagement do not always support that level of importance.  

What is Member Engagement Research? 

Member engagement research seeks critical input from organization’s members through a systematic research methodology, that can include quantitative, scientifically valid surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. Pivotal Research acts a third-party facilitator in this research, and we ensure that the right questions are asked in the correct way to maximize engagement and response rate.  

We have leveraged this type of research to help organizations engage their members on a variety of topics and initiatives, including feedback on draft practice standards, codes of ethics, quality assurance, regulatory reform, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within the practice, and perceptions of the self-regulator’s degree of transparency and accountability. Engagement research strategies can be crafted by identifying strategic priorities and working backwards to understand how and where members’ feedback can be best utilized.  

The 5 Ways Member Engagement Research Benefit Your Organization 

Inclusive Governance – Engaging the diverse voices of members through a bottoms-up approach bridges the gap between regulations and member’s daily practice or activities. As such, standards of practices, regulatory requirements, and professional guidelines reflect the lived experiences of members. 

  • Outcome: Inclusive and more effective governance  

Clearer Value Proposition – Asking members about their perceptions of the self-regulator can help articulate the organization’s value proposition and identify areas where they may not be delivering on their mandate. 

  • Outcome: The opportunity to align actions with critical mandates  

Higher Adoption Rate of Reform Initiatives – Engaging members in reform and change initiatives fosters buy-in with broader strategic goals, because members have a say in what impacts their daily work. Instead of being passive followers of self-regulator-led initiatives, members feel that their presence is important and valued, creating alignment under common goals established by the regulator and members.  

  • Outcome: Increased adherence to self-regulators’ initiatives 

Targeted and Responsive Services – Collecting feedback from members, encouraging their participation, and seeking input allows the regulator to deliver targeted and responsive services to its membership, including optimized communications, professional development workshops, and annual conferences, among other value add services regulatory bodies deliver to stakeholders.  

  • Outcome: Members perceive high degree of value in their affiliation to the regulatory body  

Positive Public Perception – Engaging registrants on results in increased acceptance and active support of critical aspects of professional practice and quality assurance, which in turn translates to an elevated professional and service delivery experience to the public.  

  • Outcome: Positive public perceptions of the profession 

What You Can Do

Take a minute to reflect – do you feel that your members are actively engaged in the actions of your organization? Do they engage with the materials you provide? Or do they click ‘delete’ as soon as they see an email from your organization? Most importantly, are you seeking and placing value on perspectives and feedback? 

Reach out to our industry specialists to help you build a successful member engagement research initiative. 

Doha Melhem
Director of Consulting, Pivotal Research Inc.

dmelhem@pivotalresearch.ca

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