The Benefits of Professional OrganizationsPosted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 by Kristen Leathers-Gratton
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This week, we sat down with Cindy Martens, SPHR-SCP, Manager of Recruiting and Retention to discuss professional organization involvement at Affinis. In our interview, she shares a little about the benefits of these groups and how to make the most out of your membership.
Involvement in professional organizations is valued at Affinis. Can you tell us a little about some of the benefits you think these groups bring?
Initially, many are involved in order to renew licenses or certifications they have obtained in their profession; however, the benefits reach beyond just that. Networking with other professionals in your industry can lead to new ideas, market exposure for your company, and teaming opportunities with other firms. At Affinis, some of us are a “department of one,” so professional organizations allow us to have peers with whom we can benchmark.
How does Affinis encourage co-worker involvement in professional organizations?
Affinis pays for membership and meeting/lunch expenses. They also encourage involvement beyond monthly meetings. Co-workers are often officers and serve on committees.
How do co-workers get connected with these groups? For example, do they find them on their own, or are their internal resources you share with them?
It’s a little of both. Often supervisors recommend involvement based on their own personal experience. However, some of us are in unique roles and find the organizations on our own.
With which organizations are you involved? What have you learned during your membership?
I’m involved with SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), SHRMJC (Society of Human Resource Management Johnson County) and EPN (Employment Practices Network). From these groups, I’ve met other professionals in human resources and have been able to get ideas and suggestions from them. In our meetings, I’ve continued to learn about “hot topics” in HR and kept current on what others in my profession are doing.
Are there any resources you’d recommend to help new grads find professional development and networking groups?
Professors, advisors and career services at universities are great resources. If you’ve secured employment already, ask co-workers and supervisors for recommendations.
What are some of your tips for making the most out of a membership?
Get involved. Don’t just attend monthly meetings. Sit by someone you don’t know and take the initiative to meet with new connections outside of scheduled meeting times.