everyone’s favourite time of year has come around, hockey season!!!  This season will be my triumphant return to the Cardiff Redhawks Ice Hockey Club after a year and a half out!

Before my hiatus, I was a committee member with the club, I learnt a lot about recruiting and retaining members.  I believe there are three basic concepts that are often overlooked when it comes to engaging members/volunteers/employees.  But first here’s a bit of background about the Redhawks, we represent the South Wales Universities in the BUIHA and run training sessions on a Tuesday night.  We are fully funded by our members and they make a fair old commitment to us, including spending a small fortune on equipment and registration, training in the middle of the night and paying £10 a week for that privilege!

I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience Ice Hockey and while it is expensive I believe that a well run organisation can give its membership an incredible amount in return.  Heres how it can be done, it’s as simple as C, D, E!

C is for Community:  Everyone likes to be included and part of a community (there’s a brilliant podcast from NPR titled “Why We Collaborate”).  Inviting people into your community allows them to become invested in the organisation.  Not only do they take part in activities for the obvious rewards (learning to skate) but also because of the social interpersonal aspects.  A strong sense of community and involvement builds confidence in everyone and helps to grow strong leadership groups and ambassadors.

D is for Development:  Especially when people are investing financially into an activity or volunteering, but equally if they are employed, the key to engagement is development.  Development benefits everyone.  The more capable a member is the better they and the team perform, while also helping them to gain transferable skills and self esteem.  In the Redhawks I believe development is easy to monitor.  We train roughly 30 weeks a year, meaning each player will spend £300 on learning to skate, and play the sport.  Scanning my bookshelf I have about £100 of hockey literature, so for the development goals of the club to be met, we should be providing each player will the level of knowledge and skills covered in these books.

E is for Enjoyment:  This is the toughest one to get right because everyone gets a kick out of different things.  In my second year with the club I struggled to enjoy myself and couldn’t work out why until I came across an incredibly quote from brotips.com “There’s a difference between playing and competing.  If everyone is doing one, don’t be the only guy doing the other”.  Since then I have learned how to allow myself to compete while others just play by setting myself personal goals.  This can and should be done by everyone everywhere, whether it’s for yourself of for your team.  Setting everyone targets to achieve and facilitating that is a surefire way to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.  A much forgotten rule is that everything that is initially seen as repetitive or boring can be made fun with a bit of thought!

So that’s how I think you should engage people in your organisation.  Give it a go!

Until next time, if you’re looking for someone who is full of ideas or is a very mediocre university ice hockey player, hire me?