A new study sheds light on why some (including myself) love working in the association field. It's the personal contact with our members.
The American Psychological Association told USA Today that jobs with constant pressure, monotony or danger aren't necessarily the ones most likely to drive employees out the door. The least productive and most unhappy workers are those that feel threatened, frustrated by a lack of resources to do their job well and have no sense of how it benefits others, according to recent studies by the APA.
Associations can definitely make you feel the stress of trying to accomplish much with little resources. But even in stressful jobs, bosses can motivate workers to give their best.
"You need to know your work is making a difference, and for whom," says Adam Grant of the University of Michigan. Personal contact with beneficiaries seems to make people happier and boost performance. (For example, cafeteria line workers are significantly happier than those who work in the back kitchen.) Line workers get to see happy customers who are missed by those in the back.
Interestingly, we have been trying to combat the same thing at our association. We have some staff who are "high-touch" - see our members all the time, talk to our members all the time, interact with our members all the time - and then we have others who do more back-end work. We are working on ways to share the love, so to speak.
Have any other associations been addressing this issue?