3 Ways to Reduce Stress for Your Association Staff 

Is your team stressed out? It could have a negative impact on member relations

By The Protech Team     

There’s a line from a recent Associations Now article that shouldn’t be overlooked by association executives: “You may think your team can move mountains, but perhaps you shouldn’t force them to move mountains every day of the week.” 

As hundreds, if not thousands, of members rely on your team every single day, remember that line from Ernie Smith at Associations Now. All of those automated email campaigns, website complications, event registrations, new pieces of content, donor relationship management and much, much more will start to take a toll on your team. And if your team feels their stress starting to mount, their ability to assist members will suffer. 

Having helped dozens of associations overcome the occasionally stress-inducing project that is enterprise software implementation, we wanted to share a few suggestions to help your team limit stress and, ultimately, maximize productivity. 

Focus on Impact 

Positive member interactions power your association. When those happen  especially when an employee goes above and beyond to create a great member experience — your team should take a step back and take a moment to celebrate. 

In high-stress offices, we often see victories not as wins, but as another checkbox to cross off on our never-ending to-do lists. Accomplishments, as small as onboarding a new member or as big as successfully completing another annual meeting, are worth celebrating. Celebrating those victories brings meaning back to the daily grind. 

That sense of meaning, it turns out, is what 83 percent of employees crave, according to PwC. So don’t let the days go by without acknowledging the daily impact your staff has on the lives of members. It’ll make the work worth it, thus eliminating some of the negative feelings associated with hard work that tend to manifest themselves as stress. 

Eliminate Barriers to a Stress-free Workplace 

As you change culture by activity working to help employees find meaning in their work, now’s the time to tackle the low-hanging fruit. 

The American Psychological Association lists the following among common workplace stressors: 

  • Excessive workloads 
  • Work that isn’t engaging or challenging 
  • Low salaries 
  • Few opportunities for growth and advancement 

None of those stressors are easily solvable, but they can be addressed over time.  

Excessive workloads can be eased, for instance, by finding software that automates core business processes. Those automated workflows also free up association staff to work on projects that are more engaging. 

Depending on your association’s revenue, rising salaries may be out of the question, but you could try sending the team to educational conferences or local workshops to give them opportunities to grow their skill set. 

Remove the Stress of Major Change Initiatives 

Change is never easy, but imagine how challenging those change initiatives are for your more stressed employees. These staff members aren’t too keen on learning your new marketing automation platform or adopting your next employee culture initiative. To make matters worse, a “change-stressed” employee is 5 percent less productive than one who isn’t.  

One of the easiest ways to remove the stress of a change initiative is to be open and honest with your staff, setting realistic expectations about the project timeline from the get-go. Or, try finding tools and resources that will make your team’s job easier. 

By following these three suggestions, you’ll take some of the stress-induced disruption out of your workplace so your team can spend more time building relationships with members. If declining member engagement is what’s stressing you out, find out what six associations did to improve their member outreach in our e-book, “Association Experts Share the Hidden Truths to Member Engagement.”