by Matt Mattson
When is recruitment on your campus?
…wait …wait …wait for it… [DRAMATIC PAUSE]
O.K., how did you answer that question?
Did you give a list of dates? Did you say “the fall” or “the spring”? Did you start explaining your deferred/delayed recruitment process? Did you say it starts with when “online sign-up” opens? Did you explain the difference between formal recruitment and C.O.B./C.O.R.? Did you start searching for your calendar? Did you say, “Uh, I don’t know”? Did you start explaining the rules set up by “the university” or your Greek Council? Did you feel like you had to ask your chapter president or recruitment chair?
Did you say “Recruitment is 24/7/365″?
Did you say “Now”?
Did you realize that the question is sort of ridiculous to begin with?
If you agree with us that recruitment is NOT about convincing enough people to join your organization, but instead recruitment IS about giving the life-changing gift of your organizazition away to people who deserve it… then you probably think that the question, “WHEN IS RECRUITMENT?” is pretty ridiculuous.
If recruitment is about changing someone’s life for the better by giving them the gift of your organization, then recruitment should happen whenever that opportunity arises. Whenever you and your organization know someone well enough to know that a) they measurably, objectively, and demonstrably represent your organization’s values, and b) if you offer them membership, their life and your group will forever be changed for the better — whenever that happens, GIVE THE GIFT.
Don’t wait for the 1 week out of the year when you think it is allowed. Do it. Make it happen. Now.
The highest performing groups we work with are open to…
What is the “simple beauty of recruitment”?
It is simple: a person wants to join a values-based, cause-oriented group it believes in + a group wants a person to join them because they believe in him/her, and they believe that that person can help them make the world a better place through the power of the group.
It is beautiful: a person’s life is changed forever + a group receives the gifts that a unique new member has to offer.
Should anything stand in the way of that? Ever?
So, when is recruitment on your campus?
Fraternity/sorority recruitment and research are not often mentioned in the same breath. To be honest, I’m not sure why that is. When completing my Master’s degree, my thesis was related to recruitment which is what originally connected me to Phired Up a long time ago. But then (and now) there weren’t many other solid research papers available on anything close to topics like these:
I’ve got a lot more too… As I work to launch Phired Up’s new Research and Assessment Board, these are the types of questions I’d like to work with other researchers in the field to answer.
Now, since I know not everyone who reads this blog is a researcher, let me provide some basic background on the way people like me think… This might also inspire you to think differently about research, recruitment, and the role of research in organizational growth.
“Research” Ugh, even the word sounds boring and scary. I first learned that I would have to do real research as a graduate student at Eastern Illinois University. I was already spending sleepless nights as an associate resident director and fraternity/sorority paraprofessional before I even set foot in the classroom. Dr. James Wallace, Associate Professor in the Counseling and Student Development Department, led my first class. He informed us that we would 1) Become “lifelong learners” and 2) Be required to do a thesis. I thought to myself “I am done learning after grad school and I’ll be darned if I complete that thesis, surely there is a way out of it.”
I soon learned that there was no negotiating the thesis and, through that process, lifelong learning became inevitable. I soon came to deeply value curiosity and found that research was the answer to my mandatory pursuit of lifelong learning. The moment we stop learning, stop being curious, or start thinking we know everything is the moment we stop living our best lives. Research is the primary way we learn and grow. Research is routed in everything we do-we just don’t always know it.
Can you remember the moment that you decided to join your fraternity or sorority? What was the process you used to select the organization that you now call home? I bet it would be fair to say you did a little research:
You first defined the problem or objective- Should you join a fraternity or sorority?
1. You observed- you watched what groups were doing on campus and observed their roster of membership
2. You sought to learn from others- maybe you asked questions to an affiliated friend, relative, or parent
3. You practiced-you probably thought about things to talk about with members, what to wear, when you met them, and what questions to ask of them.
4. You selected the group(s) you wanted to join that also wanted you and stated the process of getting to know what it would be like to be a member
5. You collected data- maybe members answered questions for you, maybe you learned more about what it was like to live in the house, maybe your significant other offered their opinion to you.
6. You made your selection based on what you learned and, I hope, are now living happily ever after in fraternal bliss.
That’s research! Here are the steps and they are so simple:
1. Define the problem- get curious about something you want to explore
2. Review the Literature- find out what other researchers are doing on the topic
3. Select Methods- What is the best way you will get answers to quench your curiosity?
4. Select Participants- Who will you study and why did you choose that group over any other?
5. Collect Data and Analyze It- How will you analyze results? Do you need to ask more questions?
6. Apply Results- What changes do you need to make based on your new data?
Here is another way to look at it: You are a Chapter President and can not seem to get seniors to come to things anymore (Define Problem). You find out from other Presidents on campus that this is a wide spread problem (Review Literature) you decide to conduct a focus group with seniors about what is really going on and want to ask them why they are not engaged and how to engage them more (Select Methods.) You invite all of them to attend the focus group (Select Participants.) You have the focus group and learn that a major common theme is that seniors just do not feel wanted or needed anymore (Collect Data and Analyze It). You then choose to create a senior engagement committee that is responsible for celebrating and utilizing seniors (Apply Results.)
As I wrote a thesis and subsequent dissertation I learned that research was the primary way I could make an impact on situations, organizations, and my own pursuit of life long learning. Life long learning is about having the courage to be curious. Curiosity is a cornerstone of Social Excellence. Are you smart enough and courageous enough to ask important questions? I guarantee that doing so will solve problems and influence people.
I am honored to be a part of Phired Up’s research initiatives and look forward to exploring important questions with each of you. I believe that research is THE way that we will validate the fraternal movement. I encourage each of you to take on this challenge: Email email@example.com your answer to this question: In terms of fraternities and sororities- what are you curious about? In return, I will help you find a path to study that question and together we will get Phired Up about it, I promise.
Yours in curiosity,
[Guest Post by Nick Gilly, Director of Extension for Chi Psi Fraternity]
I run a lot, but have not spent much time in the gym lately. The other day my roommate was out for the evening so, instead of going for my usual run, I opted to test out the P90X workout system that he and a few other friends had been using. I assumed it would be easy for me; I consider myself a pretty fit person. I was sorely mistaken. Half way through the first workout I wanted to quit; however, the man on screen, Tony Horton, would not allow it. Without even being present, he and his team pushed me through the entire workout. Three days later I’m still painfully sore, but am also excited to continue with the program. Why? I can tell that it works. I also noticed along the way a lot of similarities between exercise programs and recruitment programs. Your skills as a recruitment leader are like muscles: to grow them, you must work them. Dynamic Recruitment, then, represents to recruitment what P90X is to exercise regimens.
Tony Horton is a dynamic leader on the exercise floor. He leads by example, always putting in the effort to lift more weight and do more repetitions than the people around him. He does not, however, simply focus on his own routine and assume that everyone else behind him is following along and working as hard. He challenges each team member to set individual goals for themselves for every workout. He works with them to meet or exceed their goals. Once each team member achieves those goals, he challenges them to set higher ones. A great recruiter, or any other chapter leader, challenges the members around him the same way. They have to take the first step to participate, but once they are in you, as a leader, can push them and help to hone their abilities.
There is a constant stream of new products and infomercials in the media offering a quick solution to physical fitness that “will give you the body you’ve always dreamed of in only 3 minutes a day!” These products come and go, however, but P90X has been a top 10 bestselling infomercial product for over 4 years. Why? Because it delivers results! P90X doesn’t offer a cheap fix; Tony acknowledges up front that this is a particularly difficult workout system. Like a great recruiting chapter makes clear the obligations and commitments associated with membership up front, P90X recognizes that it is not for everyone. In fact, the makers even provide a fitness test that prospective users should be able to pass before beginning the program. (Values-Based Selection, anyone?)
There is no cheap and easy fix to consistently excellent recruitment results year after year. It takes work. You cannot expect that sitting on the couch eating potato chips will help you achieve the level of fitness that you desire. Neither will sitting on that same couch waiting for recruits to walk in the door help your organization recruit high quality members into your organization. While sometimes uncomfortable and difficult at first (the first workout is always the hardest), time will make you and you’re your team more comfortable, stronger, and more effective relationship builders and recruiters. Take a lesson from Tony Horton and P90X. Be a leader, take the challenge, and put some sweat into it. Time to bring it.
by Matt Mattson
This is just a quick Dynamic Recruitment tip to help you grow your Names List over the summer. Be sure you’re providing clear opportunities online (and making clear requests) for people you know to refer potential members your way.
Here’s what I mean.
Inter/National Fraternities and Sororities are pretty good at offering easy opportunities to capture recommendations. Here are some examples from Beta Theta Pi, Triangle, FIJI, Alpha Chi Omega, Pi Beta Phi, and Alpha Phi. Interestingly, I searched at least a dozen other organizations (including NPHC and other culturally-oriented groups) and didn’t find a recommendation option on most of the websites I found. This seems like an easy, no-brainer, front-page addition to me.
If you use the GoogleDocs Names List from our Free Resources you can easily build a form to embed on into your website to collect this information. You can also embed that form into E-mails or just send E-mail/Facebook requests with a link directly to the form. Just make it as easy as possible for people to refer potential members your way. This form is easy to build and easy to use. Leverage your network to build your Names List.
Here are five recommendations for requesting online referrals.
by Matt Mattson
At Phired Up we teach organizational leaders to Gather Your Horses and Get to Work. And right now horses are gathering.
Somewhere in Ohio this week about 25 fraternity/sorority professionals (some serious workhorses) are gathering together at something called The Gathering. These professionals (including Phired Up’s own Josh Orendi and Jessica Gendron Williams), according to the host organization, AFLV, “intend to bring about compelling questions, powerful thinking, and revolutionary action to transform and bring relevance to the fraternal movement. We plan to lead and chart an intentional course that inspires all of us to act entrepreneurial in thought, word, and deed. We call upon fraternities and sororities to become the most trusted organizations.”
That’s pretty inspiring stuff.
Later this week Phired Up is gathering its own horses for the company’s annual staff meeting. We will enjoy each other’s company, network with our friends and colleagues, and determine how best to achieve our Reason for Being and Values. We will gather our horses and determine how best to change the world together.
Our good friends over at Campuspeak are having their annual meeting they call The Huddle this week with all of their professional speakers. Another group of workhorses dedicated to the cause of making the world a better place.
That’s a lot of horses gathering this week.
Do you have horses to gather? Should you be getting in on this big round up?
The summer provides a great time for many organizations to gather their best talent, bring together the dedicated few, summon the revolutionary brigade, call in the cavalry and plan for the upcoming year.
But if you do gather, don’t just talk. The thing about horses — real horses — is that they don’t talk (Mr. Ed notwithstanding). They are powerful, graceful, active performers. They do. Talk doesn’t get you much. Action does. Be a horse.
So, gather your horses. Get to work. We are.