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The Importance of Industry Associations

I sit on the board of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS), and elections are coming up ... so I thought I'd write about industry associations, why they are important and why people should get involved?

Most associations struggle to retain membership, rely heavily upon too few volunteers and struggle with meeting all of the diverse needs of their members. Yet, without a voice for an industry, any company is at the mercy of various levels of government and may face competitors with less ethical standards!

I got involved with ACSESS to make a difference, to help effect change in an industry that I felt needed to change in order to "step up" to the fantastic opportunity offered by a workforce that is facing growing shortages, driven by demographic changes. I am one of many volunteers that has seen the continued evolution of our industry. We have high ethical standards imposed on all members, overseen by an ethics committee. We have a very strong lobby capability that has effected changes in many different levels of government on behalf of our industry. We provide education and advice to our members, including a certification program, a National conference and ongoing seminars. These volunteers contribute a ton to our industry and have created a strong association that brings true value to everyone operating in our industry ... members and non-members!

I, along with many other volunteers, devote time and energy to the cause of a better industry through a strong industry association. How can others sit back and just reap the benefits? How can they begrudge the few dollars of membership when others work so hard on their behalf?

My view is that industry association membership should be a given .... get involved, the rewards are plenty and everyone benefits.