Why are Quality Para-Professionals and Professionals not joining ASQ?
David Woods
55 Posts

We all know multiple people who work in a quality role who are not members of ASQ. Have you ever asked them why they are not a member? Or have they 'beat you to the punch' and offered up a reason? What are some of the reasons that you have heard for people in quality roles not joining ASQ? And go……

52 Replies

@David Woods… a few points

  • too expensive
  • pay just to have to pay for more (events, training, etc.)
  • doesn't give value

@David Woods we hace discussed this at the member leader level in LATAM, and there are many issues:

  • Cost is a deterrent. Mainly for recent graduated students who were former Student Chapter members.
  • At least in our region, language barrier is still an issue. We have looked at other Professional Organizations that are providing resources in different languages and we don't.
  • I remember a point being discussed regarding many people just joining ASQ to be able to present a certification (it was a requirement) and then just dropping out not to come back.
  • There are a lot of resources within the ASQ site and forums, but I have found that people here just don't take the time to look them up. We don't know if it's the interface, the way that knowledge is accesible or what.
  • I know companies that do not support their employees with the membership. They do not know about ASQ and since everything is in English, well they just don't bother learning.
  • Many professionals are just stuck in the daily mayhem of their operations. I once heard from a top quality leader in a big company who dropped the corporate membership because his people just didn't use the service.
  • A lot of the topics in the Magazine are aimed at mid size and big corporate companies. They have a lot of people, but a more lot of people works in small business and there are no experiences or resources shared regarding how to deal with implementing quality in those environments. Some of this companies don't even have the basic quality 2.0 or 3.0 systems and practices in place.
  • I believe many companies still think of “quality” in terms of manufacturing and operations and do not see it as something importante in services or support activities within the organizations. The number of people with a “quality title” is very low in comparison to the rest of the organization. But all of them need quality in their works. Maybe it is time market for the whole company rather than just “quality practitioners". Quality is a company issue not some thing of a few selected.

Just some thoughts.


@David Woods My thoughts on it:

  • Training budgets are the first thing to get cut - Since many people use ASQ for professional development training, if the training budget is cut, what's the point of having the membership?
  • Certifications are a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘must have’ for QA jobs these days.
  • Being a part of a professional association doesn't have the networking benefits it used to have. If you're going to get a new job these days, it's very unlikely that it's going to be because someone you met at an ASQ event (or any association) thought of you and sought you out.
  • Membership in all sorts of associations, from professional to community to service organizations, has been in decline for decades for a variety of reasons.
  • The workforce is more distributed, but the ASQ sections are not. I live 2.5 hours from the nearest ASQ section - I'm not going to take the time to attend a section meeting.
  • Companies see conferences as junkets - it's all trade show booths trying to sell something.

I'd love to see this changed, though. If there's ever a workgroup tasked with investigating and improving membership trends, sign me up!

@David Woods I let my membership lapse and the only reason I renewed it was because my company is paying for my membership. When I was in software testing, I religiously attended every monthly meeting. However, now that my position is what we used to call “process police” I'm just not that interested in automated tools to be used for testing. I do hold an auditor certification, which I got through ASQ, but the barriers to renewing are quite high - I don't teach, I don't present at seminars, etc. Also, my local group has talked about going back to in person meetings. Personally, I find the zoom meetings much more convenient. I don't have to worry about getting lost getting to the location, getting lost trying to find the building, getting lost trying to find the entrance, getting lost trying to find the lecture room. Also, I can exit when I'm done without insulting anyone by leaving early. Personally, I'd be interested in more auditor-related meetings.

@David Woods
Dear David,

Your raise an excellent question - one which ASQ has been asking itself for over a quarter century since membership peaked at 130,000 individual members. In reflecting on the consistent trend to lose members, I believe that the dominant reasons are two-fold: (1) poor value proposition and (2) lack of relevance. These reasons are also conjoined. In the recent “member gift” package for this month, ASQ is providing fundamental information on “Yellow Belt” and “Green Belt” and references about “a history of L&SS, innovation techniques, reducing disorder in complex systems, t-testing, 5S, sustainability, risk management, FMEA,” etc. Excuse me, but these are archaic methods that do not advance the knowledge of members - they are reinforcements of traditional quality methods. Each of these has a more comprehensive methodology that should be taught (e.g., ANOVA for t-testing and SDCA instead of 5-S). When ASQ continues to reiterate old methods in new contexts, it misses the opportunity to advance the knowledge of members. ASQ does not follow a research agenda that will advance the Body of Quality Knowledge most of its popular writing restates historical tools rather than pushing applications into evolving domains or aiding in applications targeted to SME firms that lack resources to build effective fundamental quality systems. It seems to many that the purpose of ASQ has shifted from a professional organization to an organization that seeks to self-sustainment without advancing the professional capability of its members. Thus, “members” elect to leave this organization and seek knowledge elsewhere. Lack of relevance and poor value proposition form the basis for most members giving up their ASQ memberships. It is unclear that the current ASQ strategy will alleviate this situation. I, for one, am unconvinced.

Sincerely,

Greg Watson, ASQ Past Chair and Honorary Member

@David Woods
I work in/manage a clinical laboratory. We are all about quality, but honestly I stumbled across ASQ just this year for the first time. I am the only one in my lab designated as a “quality manager," so I don't think there are many of us. I've been working in my industry for over 20 years and belong to other associations. I find ASQ's monthly member gifts useful, and I am getting ready to attend my first ASQ conference. It can be difficult to carve out time to peruse the materials each month. I am still feeling out the society to determine if it's a good fit for me and my field, but I am happy to spread the word to colleagues as I continue to understand the benefits and mission of ASQ.

Jose Perez
8 Posts

@Gregory Watson
Greg,

In a short interview for Quality Digest today, Jim Templin (ASQE CEO) states that research and “elevating the field of Quality" is its mission. Although this change was a reaction to the IRS threat to non-profit status, what else would be needed for it to achieve that mission effectively?

I would take a contrary view. The Sept. 2022 Growth and Retention report for Components indicates that Senior Members have a 92% retention and Fellow Members have 97%. Instead of provoking negativity and discontent, I would ask the long-term members about how and where they have found long-term member value within the Society.

@Jose Perez
Dear Jose,

I know that ASQ advertises itself as a “research-oriented” organization, but they follow an easy path to doing research by survey of opinions rather than by conducting organizational experiments or by probing performance drivers in organizations observing situational data and changing conditions of experiments to understand. Most data reporting is poorly conducted using inappropriate statistics (bar charts and averages tend to prevail, ignoring the lessons of Shewhart and Taguchi about the need for understanding and interpreting the causal situations for variance and looking into the way data distributions inform us about overall effects of the factors of interest). ASQ tends to partner with the “big consulting companies” for its research rather than with its members, many of whom would be delighted to do the work without consulting fees as volunteers in service to their chosen profession. How many ASQ studies are cited in academic research? This is a test of the credibility of research used by leading universities; however, ASQ is not a player in the true research world and the interest of the leading academics has moved away from the topics that ASQ seeks to investigate.

If ASQ truly wishes to become a research organization, then it must gain credibility among a broader academic community for the quality of work that is performed.

Sincerely,

Greg


Most quality professionals are in specialized areas, such as software, healthcare, food, drugs and biologics, medical devices, transportation, etc. Each of these areas has a lot of quality and regulatory standards, which have increased over the years. Many younger organizations are attracting professionals by offering more services and imposing fewer volunteer efforts- sometimes at substantially less cost. As a medical device and pharma person, you have organizations such as RAPS, AAMI, and ISPE for quality and regulatory professionals. ASQ's offerings to the industry are paltry and outdated for the most part. AAMI has bronze individual membership at $100/year that provides
  • Deep discounts on the purchase of AAMI products and event registrations (about 50% off on standards and TIRs)
  • $50 or more off ACI certification exams and recertification fees
  • Access to AAMI Connect discussion groups
  • Free job search and resume posting in the AAMI Career Center
  • Serve on non-standards committees (TMC, Awards, etc.)
  • AAMI NewsWeekly, digital newsletter
  • Online access to AAMI News & BI&T
  • Annual vote for AAMI Board of Directors and bylaws changes
They have over 10,000 members, access to 400 standards and similar resources, and 5600 certified professionals.
ASQ needs to benchmark against these organizations to see why it's failing to achieve its goals and vision.

@David Woods, I have enquired from my friends and colleagues the responses were:

  • The cost (especially for persons in the Caribbean),
  • They do not see the benefits of being a member,
  • Got the job already no need to renew my certification,
  • Poached by another Quality Group based in the UK.

@Daniel Zrymiak we have analyzed the composition of our members in the section, as you say, senior and fellow members continue. But they are a small fraction of our section. We are concerned with all the members, less than 5 years, that leave.

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Many of the senior members are quality professionals in quality management positions or consulting, we believe and promote quality. But everyone else leaves, we have wondered why? And we have made efforts to promote retention without too much success…they leave, abruptly. We have come to the same conclusions that others are posting. We would love to have success stories, but he still have not found them.


Because there are numerous organizations out there now that do six sigma black belt, etc. certifications where you do not need to recertify every so many years. Once you have passed your project (which I don't think they are as strict with the projects, some might not require projects) you are certified for life. Also, I think some of it is costs and many companies and people realize the significance of having an ASQ certification. I know that my company is using a non ASQ company to make people green belts and black belts, but I don't think the quality of the projects are there.

James Dent
4 Posts

@David Woods
From my knowledge, many do not join ASQ because their company no longer reimburses the ASQ dues, nor supports the activities such as conferences, etc. It's all out of the member's own pocket.

I'm from the Philippines and probably other quality professionals are not aware of ASQ. We also have the ASQ local counterpart which is the Philippine Society for Quality. They prefer to join the local community. As for me, I wanted to broaden my network and learn from the quality professionals all over the globe. 😊

@Luis Iturriaga Morales ; your analysis is valid and consistent with that of the Society at large.

From a transactional perspective, once an ASQ Member becomes a Senior (then a Fellow, if nominated), more member benefits are “unlocked”.

Also, if an ASQ member has 2 or more ASQ certifications, the value from Synchronized Renewals compounds every 3 years.

The combined savings and discounts for a Senior or Fellow member of ASQ, with 2 or more renewable certifications, recover and eventually exceed the annual costs of ASQ individual member dues.

If you want to keep members, encourage them to upgrade their membership to Senior level (to be eligible for a free ASQ Journal like Lean Six Sigma Review); and obtain 2 or more of ASQ's renewable professional certifications. Given them praise and recognition when these milestones are reached, and publish their achievements to the local audience for virtuous encouragement and a positive “domino effect”.

In fact, create an expectation among new members to pursue these, and set the new members up for success.

@Luis Iturriaga Morales: Your bulleted list of insights intrigued me.
When I first know about Quality Assurance and at the same time ISO standards, my mentor and Chief of Quality department told me about ASQ but not so much, because my first bachelor was in computer science. Later I pursued a Masters in Quality Management but left any certification for the long term. Even later, I recently moved from my Spanish speaking country to Vancouver and studied another bachelor in Business Administration. I can share some things.

I agree your first two bullets and possibly the most heavy weighted concerns about members. But in your third, you are saying you discussed many people dropping after getting certifications just to get jobs. I remember those words from my mentor and some teachers from Master's: “quality is the pursue of excellence, being the best among others, lead the way”. That means if you are a true believer in Quality, you do in your daily life, not just get a job. Both pathways that I chosen from Information Systems and Quality Management have improvements from time to time, we need to be updated!

In your fourth bullet you said something important: “forums not friendly”. I found as well maybe dated the way these forums are and maybe that is one reason they prefer social networks instead.

Your last bullet reminded my first mentor when he stated there is also Quality Assurance for Services. As a matter of fact, we were working in government services.

I've also read in an old article six sigma was no longer pursued by leading innovating companies and entrepreneurs. Consumer behaviour was one of my courses and I learn that with correct methodologies, we can have unbiased results from trends and tendencies. It is Marketing oriented, but can be applied to any field for a better understanding of members attitudes. It would be a good experience if we can learn from those who drop their membership, the reasons and that would help to clarify the ‘whys’ and to solve with better strategies. Don't you think?

@David Woods we hace discussed this at the member leader level in LATAM, and there are many issues:

  • Cost is a deterrent. Mainly for recent graduated students who were former Student Chapter members.
  • At least in our region, language barrier is still an issue. We have looked at other Professional Organizations that are providing resources in different languages and we don't.
  • I remember a point being discussed regarding many people just joining ASQ to be able to present a certification (it was a requirement) and then just dropping out not to come back.
  • There are a lot of resources within the ASQ site and forums, but I have found that people here just don't take the time to look them up. We don't know if it's the interface, the way that knowledge is accesible or what.
  • I know companies that do not support their employees with the membership. They do not know about ASQ and since everything is in English, well they just don't bother learning.
  • Many professionals are just stuck in the daily mayhem of their operations. I once heard from a top quality leader in a big company who dropped the corporate membership because his people just didn't use the service.
  • A lot of the topics in the Magazine are aimed at mid size and big corporate companies. They have a lot of people, but a more lot of people works in small business and there are no experiences or resources shared regarding how to deal with implementing quality in those environments. Some of this companies don't even have the basic quality 2.0 or 3.0 systems and practices in place.
  • I believe many companies still think of “quality” in terms of manufacturing and operations and do not see it as something importante in services or support activities within the organizations. The number of people with a “quality title” is very low in comparison to the rest of the organization. But all of them need quality in their works. Maybe it is time market for the whole company rather than just “quality practitioners". Quality is a company issue not some thing of a few selected.

Just some thoughts.


David Woods
55 Posts

@Loren Denton Thanks for your input Loren!

David Woods
55 Posts

@Luis Iturriaga Morales Thanks for your input Luis!

David Woods
55 Posts

@William Farrell Thanks for your input William!