You love our insights and are proud to belong: what we learned from the 2020 Impact and Experience Survey

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18 November 2020

'Professional’, ‘informative’ and ‘knowledgeable' were the top three words our members used to describe us in the 2020 Impact and Experience Survey (previously the Membership Survey), but, as with any organisation, there is always room for improvement. To mark the week of our second anniversary as IWFM, we asked our Director of Insight and Engagement, Chris Moriarty, to share his thoughts on findings…

'We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.' Being the view of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, this is self-evidently a good principle to live by; so I was pleased that so many of you gave your feedback this year to our 2020 Impact and Experience survey.  Well over a thousand of you made it the highest response we have ever had to a membership survey. To each one of you who took part, thank you. Collectively you have given us a vital reality check. You said:

  1. you trust us and are proud to belong to IWFM
  2. you love our insight and knowledge, and you like the comms that keep you informed.
  3. belonging to IWFM enhances your professional credibility 

You also said that lobbying in Government and representing the “industry” is important to you and that we could do more

You also wanted us to focus on more “sector specific” guidance and information.

Trust and belonging

Eight in ten of you are proud to belong to IWFM and three quarters see us as the trusted voice of the profession. We listened a lot to members last year and sharpened our focus on giving value and growing our competence in the areas important to you. These results are pleasing. But we want to do better.

When it comes to lobbying we have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the profession’s behalf, including government agencies, think tanks and business groups on workplace matters ranging from apprenticeships to building safety. Of course, we’re a professional body not a trade association so our work is focussed on seeking recognition for your competence and advancing this as a distinct profession.

During COVID specifically we have informed the national debate on the ‘return to work’ with our original research, argued the case for key worker status during lockdown and leveraged your expertise and insight to press for better standards and achieve better outcomes. The coverage we’ve had and the partnerships we’re attracting is evidence of growing authority, influence and impact.

On the home front, we’ve made it easier and more secure to deal with us by going paperless where possible. We’ve continuously improved the website and a new event management system helps us to provide a better experience.  We showed we understood the tough operating climate by holding membership fees at 2019 levels. 2020 has been even tougher and we’re recognising that by committing to hold membership fees at 2019 rates for a second full year.   

Informative and knowledgeable

Nine in ten of you agree that belonging to IWFM helps you to stay informed and ninety per cent think the quality of our knowledge and communications products are excellent or good. We’ll take that but we’d love it to be ten out of ten.

We know this is why most of you join and we are committed to bringing you more value. That’s why last year was our most ambitious research and insight programme to date.  In addition to our first market outlook report, annual pay and prospects report and thirteenth sustainability report (yes, we’ve been tracking this key issue for years) we’re exploring new themes including technology, the future of work and wellbeing.  You like our website and our popular knowledge hubs on workplace, sustainability and Covid-19 will soon be joined by social value and building safety. 2021’s programme is going to be even better.

More of you are joining at professional grades. We want to encourage your professional development so we’re adapting what we offer to best support you in that.

We’ve begun to align the “knowledge products” that you love to the IWFM Development Pathway, especially in the emerging discipline of workplace management, partnering practical guidance with short courses where possible.

We’re also evolving the award winning Facilitate brand that you love. If 2020 has hastened anything it’s the mass adoption of digital. As work becomes more an activity than a destination, our content habits have followed suit. We’re strengthening Facilitate’s digital presence, allowing the team to develop new formats to suit our 21st century flexibility and our growing appetite for content we can consume on the move. A refocusing of the print magazine will see better quality content, including in-depth analysis and thought-leadership in a new journal style format that will move to bi-monthly editions from December. We’ll be retaining quality whilst reducing our carbon footprint.

Professional credibility

The importance of professional credibility cannot be underestimated and seven in ten of you say that belonging to IWFM has enhanced yours. As we continue to focus on professional growth and development we aim to improve that score. 

Continued professional development is at the core of our mission and we’ve continued to enhance our learning portfolio. The most significant development has been to build a unique platform for workplace learning and development, including a new level 6 Diploma - a ‘first’ of its kind in Workplace Leadership Insight and Change.

You told us you wanted more ‘sector’ specific guidance and information and we’ve listened. Our professional volunteer community is thriving and fostering expertise in a number of new areas.  A new Technology SIG is reflecting the all-encompassing relevance of this area. New groups in customer experience – a core subject for workplace; and in manufacturing – key workplaces at the forefront of UK R&D are each advancing important work. Being part of the newly formed Resilience Alliance is also drawing on key risk and business continuity expertise within our ranks.   

Thank you for your feedback.  We’ll continue to explore the survey in depth in Facilitate Daily, so look out for that. And do keep your feedback coming.

We will keep listening. We’ll keep focused on value. We’ll keep using this insight to improve our service to you.

Chris Moriarty, Director of Insight and Engagement