What extra's would make an ASQ membership more valuable?

This is a corollary conversation to the ongoing “Why aren't Quality Professionals joining ASQ”. I thought it would be interesting to capture the ideas that would help to improve the ASQ organization.

  • What value are you currently getting from ASQ?
  • What would add value to your ASQ membership?
  • Are there specific things you want to see as part of your ASQ membership?
  • What are you finding in other organizations that ASQ doesn't do?
  • What is it that you want but cannot find in any professional organization?
21 Replies
Meta Brown
23 Posts

@Michael Fank

What people want is jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Jobs with good pay, good benefits, good working conditions. Concentrate on employers.

James Dent
20 Posts

@Michael Fank
From what I see and hear having been a consultant for several companies in several different states since 2016, is that many quality professionals are not interested the certifications, which seems to be the primary service of ASQ. 10-20 years ago, many job ads required an ASQ certification; however, today, most job ads I see list the ASQ certification under “Nice to Have” rather than under “Requirements”. There are also many other organizations offering X-belt 6-Sigma certifications, auditing certifications, etc. at a much lower cost.

@James Dent - Agreed - certs aren't required for many jobs. It's a nice bonus to the resume, but it's not required. And you can get a six-sigma cert from almost anywhere. What are you looking for in your career? Is there something that can be improved or is missing?

@Meta Brown - What do you mean by concentrate on employers? Can you expand some more?

@Michael Fank
ASQ doesn't need “extras” it needs more intrinsic value. If there is no value to having an ASQ cert, why pursue it. Just noting in a survey that certifications can mean a good bump in salary doesn't help. It might be because certified individuals do a better job and hang around longer. I have 5 certs and it never got me any raises or promotions. The information learned does help us do our jobs quicker and maybe smarter, but the employers have a hard time measuring that. Fix that and everyone will see more value in ASQ.

Meta Brown
23 Posts
@Michael Fank

When I say "concentrate on employers," I mean that ASQ should be focusing on promoting itself to employers, rather than individuals.

Why? Because there's no good reason for an individual to care about ASQ offerings -membership, meetings, education, certification - unless those are tied to workplace support and rewards. None of this stuff means anything unless participation is tied to hiring, compensation and work conditions.

I just took a look at Indeed for job postings in Chicago that called for any of my own three certifications. A handful of jobs appeared, in a variety of industries. Some paid less than $60K/year. The high end of range for the best paid job was $120K, none of the others came near that level. So maybe a certification will get you a factory job that pays $80 or 90K. Keeping in mind that most prospective members have a degree and a choice of jobs, is this the best they can do? Couldn't the same people choose to do software development or technical sales and have a wider choice of employers plus more money and the option to work at home?

This little exercise taught me that CRE also means Commercial Real Estate. And some of those real estate jobs pay rather well. So there's another option.

@Michael Fank , this is a very interesting topic. Value comes in several forms:

  • transactional benefits,
  • fellowship, affiliation and networking,
  • personal relationships (i.e. mentor-protégé),
  • stature and prestige,
  • career growth,
  • vocational expertise,
  • overall enjoyment

Something is deemed valuable by the recipient, and this changes over time as individuals mature and evolve.

@Michael Fank

What value am I currently getting? Not much. If I choose to go to a conference or training, I'll get a discounted rate. I have my certifications, but didn't need them to get my current job (although I certainly needed them once upon a time and certainly needed the training that preceded the certs).

What would add more value? A rag-tag band of semi-retired senior members of ASQ that travels the country helping member organizations solve problems. For free (minus expenses). I'm serious.

What am I finding that other organizations do? Other professional organizations focus on company membership, not individual membership, even at small companies. That way, when people leave, the organization would still be a part of ASQ (and still pay dues). They could pick another member representative to take the departed employee's place.

Meta Brown
23 Posts

@William Farrell
Your concept of a rag-tag band of semi-retired senior members fascinates me.

They're going to work free for member organizations. How would that work?

You say you're serious, but clearly, you're being at least a little lighthearted here. Senior members, after all, have the most experience and commitment to the field of quality improvement. And everybody needs to eat. Surely you don't imagine that professionals should work unpaid for commercial ventures.

So, what's your concept?

@Meta Brown
Well, the question was what benefits would we like to see with our membership, so ASQ would pay them. Also, it would be retired and semi-retired professionals. This would be a little pocket money for people who wanted a small source of income and a paid ‘vacation’ to wherever they are needed. Or maybe not. Maybe there's a huge need for this and it could be a full-time, well-paying gig that people would be lining up to be a part of. Maybe dues would be higher to offset this cost. Maybe there's a nominal fee, so it's not really free to the organization. There's a million ways to do it.

Meta Brown
23 Posts

@William Farrell
If ASQ were to push its most experienced members to consult for commercial ventures in exchange for pocket money, how would that add value to the membership? And if it was to add well-paid staff to do consulting, offsetting the cost through increased dues, how would that benefit the individual members who bear the cost?

The beneficiaries of the service you describe would the businesses who use it. They could be asked to pay membership fees that offset costs, but would they do so and what are the tradeoffs? The same late-career members would now be competing with ASQ itself for consulting work. Corporate members that offer consulting services would also find themselves in competition with their own professional society.

@Meta Brown
I was asked to say what would add value to companies that pay membership dues and I put forth an idea that I think could benefit those dues-paying companies tremendously - a team of smoke jumpers for when you have dire need. Unfortunately, I put 3% of an idea out there. I probably shouldn't have done that.

@Michael Fank
I joined ASQ in 1988 and as a newbee to quality, I found it very helpful to attend the local monthly dinner meetings for networking and commiserating with fellow quality professionals, and the resources available from the library and Quality Progress. This helped me do my job better which provided value to my organization in return for paying ASQ dues and certification fees.
However, today with local activities curtailed amidst the COVID scare, it seems that ASQ is only interested in selling certifications, training, swag and books from an ever expanding library of similar offerings that are available free on the internet. Why would employers be interested in that?
I actually like Bill's idea of (I'll call it) a Quality Swat Team of experts to swoop in and help companies get out of trouble or deal with a chronic problem. It doesn't need to be totally free or be paid for by ASQ. However, ASQ could become a great referral resource to introduce these companies to ASQ's vast stable of quality SMEs. Such companies could contact ASQ (or just select on the website) for a list of SMEs sorted by whatever issue they are having. They could contact the SME directly who could either solve their issue quickly (for free), or if they needed more than an hour of virtual coaching, they could work with the SME directly to quote on more a more extensive consulting arrangement for whatever fee they could negotiate. After the initial contact, ASQ wouldn't be involved at all. The service would be free to members…which would justify membership fees for both companies and the older, retired members who must bear the cost alone and have extra time on their hands and still want to contribute.
I can raise this concept at the upcoming ASQ Fellows Open Forum on Nov 17.

Do we have a " You said we did board"? if not, we should do one, as it will be helpful for new members like myself to see what ASQ has done over the years.

Lucy King
14 Posts

@Michael Fank
I would say two things: “lite” version of ASQ membership and a MyASQ mobile app.

The lite version of ASQ membership can be $0-$25/year for professionals who would like access to MyASQ social networking, job board, and webinars, but this type of membership does not need to include discounts on $$$$ training, certification exams, and conferences. That might make it worth the price for both ASQ headquarters and ASQ members.

MyASQ needs to be in the form of a mobile app. I am not talking about the existing ASQ app that just redirects users to the internet and half the buttons on it don't work. I am talking about a fully baked MyASQ app similar to LinkedIn mobile app, that allows users to network with one another and receive instant app notifications when they get a new message or comment. E.g., I had to fire up my whole computer just to be able to use this website, and I don't get any kind of notifications. The discussion digests that go out via email are usually a few days after the discussion has already happened. There are many lively quality discussions that happen on LinkedIn that cannot happen on MyASQ because MyASQ does not have the setup yet to make it work. YET. Please make it so!

Meta Brown
23 Posts
I think folks have a point about improving the web offerings. The website is pretty clunky to use, that could stand improvement, and it's true that many people prefer to do everything on their phones. Hosting profiles of members who are available for paid consulting work or employment could be a real value add, provided that prospective clients and employers actually use the resource, and that will not happen automatically. Making it work requires good user interface design, marketing and facilitation.

Steady employment, good compensation, decent working conditions, that's what it's all about.

I agree with the conversation thus far. The ASQ website is clunky and the app isn't very useful. Having a very active community for quality professionals to ask questions and have discussions would also be a big bonus. The ability to ask our peers questions, to help solve problems would be excellent. This type of community would absolutely need a good app for our phones, as most professionals are on the go constantly.

Adding a consulting service would be a huge bonus and drive company membership. It would also give access to smaller companies that can't afford or don't need a dedicated quality professional. This could also bolster support for ASQ's certification program (i.e. you can only consult if you have the ASQ cert).

I would also like to see better networking events. Don't do away with the virtual town halls or meetings as those are very easy to attend and a great way to disseminate information. Adding a variety of in-person meetings would be useful, not just the typical dinner (benchmark SoFi, the personal finance company, as they provide a wide variety of networking events).

Meta Brown
23 Posts

@Michael Fank
So - what's your concept of how this consulting service would work? You say it would benefit business who can't afford consulting, so you're not expecting them to pay full freight. And you also say that people would not be able to consult without ASQ certification, which requires an investment on the part of the consultants. Who do you expect to carry the costs of this consulting service to for-profit ventures?

@Meta Brown - What I stated was smaller companies just starting out their quality journey may not be able to afford a full-time six sigma black belt, or CMQ/OE certified manager (or any other recognition you want to put in here) on their own payroll. Having the ability to ask questions from a reputable source at an hourly rate is much more affordable than hiring your own quality professional.

I'm simply echoing what you and Anthony DeMarinis previously said about the “Quality SWAT team” or hosting consulting profiles. The company pays to join ASQ. Maybe the corporate membership includes 1 hr per month of virtual counseling (built into the membership fee). Maybe there are different levels of membership that include different amounts of consulting. However, if the company needs additional time beyond what's included in their membership, they can negotiate a consulting agreement with either ASQ or directly with one of ASQ's quality SMEs. Either way, ASQ would take a cut for the administration of the system, (hosting, organizing, referrals, etc.). This could help companies access a diverse perspective of ideas to help them find what works best for their organization. As we elaborate on this idea, this sounds a like the goals of ASQ Excellence.

As for the individual members, we could also benefit from the exchange of ideas in some capacity, be it networking or guided topic-specific discussion. It's a lonely journey trying to improve without a community of support (the whole iron sharpens iron idea). Making MyASQ more accessible through a functioning app would help. Possibly encouraging participation in MyASQ by including RU's for participating. Networking events would be another means to build a community for individuals to feel a part of something. Maybe even let new or young members tag along on ASQ consulting sessions (they're obviously not paid for their time).

Companies need tangible benefits to join and stay. Individuals need benefits to join, but then need motivation to stay (belonging, achievement, status, personal growth, etc.).

@Michael Fank
Let's see if I can flesh out this idea a little more.
1st the cost to ASQ would be minimal…Just maintaining the list, granting access and determining qualifications of SMEs on the list, which should be more than just certifications. Qualification should also include a number of years in the industry or industries they want to claim SME status. The benefit to ASQ would be more members and more retains.

The cost to companies would also be minimal. Just their membership fee for access to the service. The cost of any consulting should not be added to the membership fee. It's already too high and prohibitive for some. The benefit to companies would be access to a list of qualified individuals to help them out with a particular issue or chronic problem, and 1 hour of free consulting. Everyone likes free benefits.

The cost to SMEs would also be minimal…Just their membership fee and cost to maintain their certifications. As far as the 1 hour of free consulting, think of it as a free sample or audition. Most companies won't hire a consultant based solely on their resume or certifications. (I wouldn't.) Think of this free sample as advertisement leading to future business (providing the benefit of the free hour justifies the continued future relationship). Whether we are fully retired or just in between clients, we can all spare (or even write off) an hour to explore new business. The SME would then be free to negotiate their own rate based on whatever the market will bear. This way, no money or burden need to flow through ASQ at all. The benefit to SMEs would name recognition as part of a national expert in quality, ASQ.
Companies should be able to sort the list based on areas of expertise and location and whether they are available for 1 hour consulting virtual (or on-site plus expenses).
Anyway, that's how I envision such a service working. Right now, ASQ has many senior members with time on their hands, with little justification or benefit for remaining a member. This would solve that.

A extra value which might keep members in longer would be a "life membership" after a certain number of years, or you could adopt an idea which has worked well for SME for many years and that is a combination of the members age and the years that person has been a member.
Personally, I enjoy an SME Life Membership and I am ever grateful for the continuing benefits.

I joined ASQC in 1981 at the 35th Annual Quality Congress in San Francisco and I am still a member, but I am sure that in the month of May in the year after I die "the executor of my will" shall receive a reminder to pay my ASQ Membership !!

Thanks to all who have contributed to this discussion, it's been interesting.
Frank Dodd
Member # 51800