Bad Systems Can Make Good People Leave

In the past week I’ve met with two different associations who are struggling with their current AMS systems. A common theme between the two was lots of staff turnover. That is, since the time the system was first implemented, many (if not all!) key staff had left the organization so effectively “new” people were in charge of the database.

This presents an interesting “chicken and egg” phenomenon. Did the staff leaving cause the system to break down (i.e., become less effective) or did the staff leave because the system was not working correctly? My experience is that both can be true.

Over the years I’ve met with many associations who have told me, in so many words “Our terrible technology is causing our best employees to leave.” I even had one executive director tell me that in exit interviews from the prior year, she had three different staff tell her that the AMS was one of the primary reasons they were leaving.

Bad systems can make good people leave.

So when you’re calculating the cost of keeping your existing system or upgrading/replacing your AMS, be sure to include the cost of NOT doing so. You may be causing your best people to look elsewhere for work!

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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