From staff search to strategic planning, take advantage of expanding services for state and local associations.
If you didn’t have a chance to meet Kevin Watkins, the National Association of REALTORS®’ new director of strategic association management, at AEI or the Midyear Legislative meetings, schedule a 30-minute one-on-one consultation session at this year’s REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Chicago. Watkins has a wealth of human resources and association management experience and expertise to share, and he’s also developing new programs.
REALTOR® AE sat down with NAR’s newest addition to the association services staff to talk about what he and his department can offer you in 2017.
What new or enhanced programs for associations should AE take advantage of this year?
We’re focusing on three major initiatives this year for associations: our workforce planning program, our staff recruitment services, and our strategic planning consulting.
Workforce planning helps associations take a critical look at whether or not it’s time to change their staff structure. Many associations have had the same staff structure for years, even though it no longer aligns with their business or strategic plan.
We go in to associations and audit the current staff environment and offer suggestions on restructuring and new job descriptions. The goal is to make sure that they’re positioned to grow with the right number of staff and people in the right roles. We also look at how associations can develop competitive compensation and benefit plans to attract and keep the best employees. We work not only with the association executive but also with the executive committee to ensure that their vision of the association can be appropriately staffed.
The second big program we’d like associations to take advantage of is staff recruitment. The labor market now in the U.S. is tight, and with unemployment being so low there are not a lot of candidates out there that are actively seeking employment, so hiring is becoming more difficult and time-consuming for associations. We can help lead staff recruitment efforts with a process that covers the full cycle from writing position specifications to job marketing through to screening, interview coordination, and the negotiation process itself.
The third major service for associations is, of course, our strategic planning. We’ve helped dozens of associations of all sizes not only develop a strategic plan but build a process for ensuring that their plan is implemented and maintained over time.
What’s on the horizon for new association services?
We’re rolling out a revised compensation and analysis review program for AEs and staff. We recommend that associations review their compensation structure every other year to make sure they’re competitive and that their federal Fair Labor Standards Act classifications are current and in compliance with federal law. We’ve revised and enhanced this entire process.
Next on our list is developing a confidential talent pool for REALTOR® association positions nationwide. As we do more CEO and staff searches for associations, we want to have a pool of talented people to consider. We encourage AEs and association staff who are ready for the next step in their careers to engage with us so that when we get new searches, we can engage with them.
Later this year, we’ll be doing surveys to find out the types of HR and association management training opportunities AEs would like. We’re envisioning an on-demand training library online.
What services do you offer for single-staff associations?
I’ve been very involved with single-staff associations when it comes to training their board of directors, especially training on how the board and leadership and AE should work together, including roles and procedures. We can help one-staff-person associations explore revenue opportunities so that they can expand their staffing in the future if that’s applicable. We can also help with strategic planning and working to make sure the plan is realistic and doable with the resources available.