For most chapters, new member education is viewed as a pivotal point in the member experience. Unfortunately, for some groups, their members tend to view it as a vetting process rather than what it is intended to be: an onboarding process. If your chapter is one of those groups, where do you thinking the vetting of a potential member should occur? If your response is recruitment, then you are right. Let’s look at this from a hiring (human resources) perspective. If I were to hire someone (i.e. extend a bid to someone), just to find out two weeks later I want to fire them (remove them from the new member class), do you think I would have my job for very long in human resources? Probably not. In recruitment we like to say that “we don’t make Pikes, we find Pikes,” so if you are going to extend a bid to someone, you should believe that they are a Pike. Then, it’s now the chapter and new member educator’s responsibility to onboard the newest members of the chapter, the new members.
Now, let’s define the term onboarding. By definition, onboarding is the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization or familiarizing a new customer or client with one's products or services. That is all your new member education program should aim to accomplish. Your job is to integrate your newest members into the Fraternity as seamlessly as possible. Some of the most successful organizations onboard new employees (new members) quickly and efficiently so that they can go ahead and get involved in the organizations day-to-day operations and begin contributing to the overall success of the organization.
Onboarding should be the goal of your chapter’s new member education - nothing more, nothing less. Some of Pi Kappa Alpha’s best chapters view it this way and that is why they have more engaged and involved members, therefore translating into having a better chapter and overall fraternity experience. Remember, the onboarding time frame (new member education) is such a small component in the member experience. You have the entirety of your time in the chapter to get developed through the True PIKE Experience, so don’t get caught up in the idea that they have to know everything at the end of their new member education period.
To ensure that your onboarding program is up to par, be sure to check out the New Member Education handbook and the onboarding curriculum located in the myPIKE Resource Center. It reflects a quick and modern onboarding process. Also, be sure to check the complements to this blog post, Eight-Week vs. Four-Week New Member Education Programs and The Idea of Being One.
Devon T. TeixeiraDirector of Membership Development