In a Huffington Post article by Jeff Reeves: Dear Class of 2012 Your Degree is Worthless, he suggests that…

The bottom line is that companies either don’t have the budget or don’t have the patience for on-the-job training. Thus they increasingly demand workers who can hit the ground running, and can prove their worth before they even punch their first time card.

According to the National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers the last thing consumers want from their REALTOR is how many letters they have after their name.

So if most employers demand performance and in customers choosing choose their REALTOR is at the last of the list based on credentials/designations/certifications, then…

Should we continue to offer them?

Should we offer less?

I say yes, however we need to understand better why professionals take designations as how it improves their condition, not how it makes them look.

The landscape of the professional environment has shifted and it is up to providers of designations to remain relevant by to offering value by strategically altering their plan to remain relevant in years to come.

Shift from credibility to community

They want a community of networking opportunities that support professional growth, not more education and letters to add.  If you just send a newsletter and offer more education then the relationship will be more transactional, not transformational.

The lifeblood of the community is demonstrated on how many interactions either face to face or online, not how many members there are currently.

The structure of the network should consistently communicate proven ROI from member testimonials that were facilitated through the environment it creates.  In other words, other members in the community must see familiar faces who achieve results and that the ideas originated from the community.

The responsible of the community manager is to consistently share the member successes in many different types of media channels along with future professional growth environments, not just brick and mortar classrooms.

A designation that stresses education over community/network integration are headed towards resignation.

Increased demand for proven ROI

The relevancy in the student evaluation isn’t in how the student felt about the course, it was what was what they were able to implement as a result that improved performance is what counts.  Show me how much money I was able to make, how much time I was able to save, and how many mistakes I would have kept on making if I didn’t take the designation or belong to the community and I’ll support every initiative behind the designation.

Shift from evaluations to online reviews

Anyone who can create a Facebook status can now damage the credibility of the designation.  This can be done as a Yelp review, Google Places review, Foursquare checkin, or in the online Yellow Pages.  The problem is that designation providers don’t have any control over who can post what where, all they do have control over is online reputation management and how they respond to negative inquiries.

Providers can take some control themselves by showing attendee ratings and comments on the website.  There are widgets and web tools and WordPress plugins that can easily integrate your website to support user reviews.

In Summary

Professionals are investing in professional development from the largest trade association to the single entrepreneur.  In many cases the single entrepreneur is cleaning up over the large company.  The challenge is how each designation, no matter who created it, to make important shifts as the market change continues to accelerate.

dougdevitre

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