Joining any organization can be difficult. Remember your first days as a new employee? You probably felt a bit overwhelmed, and you might even have reconsidered your decision. New IEEE members often feel the same way. They are initially excited about how much IEEE has to offer, but they might not know how to take advantage of all the benefits and opportunities.
When you sign on with a new company, having a friendly co-worker show you the ropes can make all the difference. IEEE hopes to provide something similar with a process designed to explain benefits and opportunities to new members. IEEE is deploying the multifaceted initiative, the First-Year Member Experience, to help guide members to the resources and activities that best match their needs. The initiative includes printed guides and a dedicated Web site describing how to establish various services, welcoming courtesy calls from IEEE representatives, assistance from local volunteer leaders, and an orientation session delivered as an interactive webcast with staff members from the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) group.
“The First-Year Member Experience is a critical step in a process to help members find a professional home and enhance their experience with IEEE—which could benefit their personal and professional lives,” says Life Senior Member William B. Ratcliff, who served on the 2009 Member and Geographic Activities Board. “IEEE offers many opportunities as well as services tailored to specific needs. Helping a new member navigate IEEE enables them to experience the organization in an optimal manner.”
Now included with every new membership card is a Quick Start Guide that describes, among other things, how to set up an IEEE Web account, which all members must have to access online services. New members also can find instructions for logging onto myIEEE, a personalized portal that consolidates their IEEE benefits and subscriptions. Once there, they can access memberNet, the membership directory.
IEEE launched a Web site in January as a one-stop resource for new members. It contains guidance and links that help expedite membership activation.
In the event new members do not read the printed version of the welcome guide, IEEE Contact Center representatives call new members to go over the benefits in more detail and to answer questions. In addition, some section and region volunteers contact first-year members to alert them to upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
“Having volunteers engage new members in their local activities is a good way for members to learn about a rather complex organization,” says Senior Member Gerhard Hancke, past chair of the Member Engagement and Life Cycle Committee and now chairing the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee.
“The volunteers need to engage the new member by sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge, and by welcoming them into their professional home,” Ratcliff adds.
New members are invited to a one-hour orientation held every month during a live webcast presented by staff members from the MGA group, which is responsible for member services. The interactive session gives attendees the opportunity to hear why others joined, and it covers IEEE’s electronic services in depth. The presenters go over other ways to participate, such as by becoming an author or speaker, and they describe avenues for influencing the engineering profession, like voting in the annual IEEE election and getting involved with the local section’s volunteer leadership.