I have been involved with the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) since I first entered this business twenty years ago. Over the years, I have worked on committees at the state level, advocated for changing federal and state legislation, and served on the national board. Last week, I was honored among a group of peers for my individual contribution to the organization. Having colleagues speak on my behalf was a humbling experience and it really made me think about what this organization has meant to me over the years.
While membership costs may be expensive, the benefits are worth the investment.
Being a part of NAPEO has been an investment of both time and resources, but I assure you, the dividends have been high. I am surprised by how many people choose not to belong to a professional or trade association. While membership costs may be expensive, the benefits that you and your company receive are worth the investment. Here are several of the benefits that I have experienced by joining an association.
Networking – Throughout my years with NAPEO, I have met many people in the industry and leveraged their knowledge to better my company. I have been introduced to vendors who understand our industry and I have formed friendships with competitors who understand life in the trenches of our business. To have the ability to call a fellow business owner and ask for advice on specific issues is worth the price of membership.
Education - Professional associations are a source of education to their members offering webinars, large conferences, and online resources. As a business that focuses on the ever-changing area of human resources, the education provided by our professional association is invaluable. As a member of NAPEO, Propel HR has access to top practitioners who focus on best practices and current regulations. All of our employees are exposed to NAPEO training which ultimately elevates our service to our clients.
Research – Most trade and professional associations conduct research and publish statistics on the industry and related topics. This is a valuable service that most companies can’t afford to fund on their own. The data compiled by the associations can be very beneficial to the marketing and organizational structure of their members. As a business owner, I know the value of our service, but it is often anecdotal. NAPEO’s market research has given me real statistics to support the positive stories surrounding our service model.
Advocacy – Trade and professional associations are dedicated to protecting and advancing the needs of the industry. This includes lobbying on behalf of the industry at local, state, and national levels. Our business does not have the resources to hire a lobbyist to advocate for our needs, but through our membership with NAPEO, our voice is still being heard.
I strongly encourage all business owners and professionals to consider joining and getting involved in business associations. As with all things in life, what you put in, is what you get out. For me, it was not enough to just join NAPEO, I knew that the real value came from being involved and making the most of the organization. The friendships I have formed and the lessons I have learned through the membership have been critical in the success of my business, as well as my personal development. Last week’s honor was very special and gave me a chance to reflect on what NAPEO means to me. Although being a part of a professional association is a commitment of time and resources, it is all well worth the investment.
Lee Yarborough and her father, Braxton Cutchin, founded the company in 1996. She has served on the Board of Directors of NAPEO and currently serves as the Chair for the NAPEO Carolinas Leadership Council. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the eleventh class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Lee also serves on the Executive Board of Public Education Partners and is the founder and director of Read Up Greenville, a young adult and middle grades book festival in downtown Greenville, SC.