Friday, August 15, 2008

ACSESS Membership

All indicators point to challenging times ahead for the staffing industry and, therefore, challenging times for the National Industry Association too. ACSESS (Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services) is the only national association representing the industry.

Demographic experts remind us about skill shortages and a growing future dilemma. Social policy experts point out systemic flaws in our country’s immigration policies. The media and advocates for the under-employed are demanding more legislation to help solve the woes of our society’s most vulnerable workers. Economists and statisticians are quick to point out recent job losses. There is no shortage of important issues for the "experts" to wade in on.

Of course, we don’t need experts outside of our industry to tell us about these issues – we deal with these realities every day! WE are the employment and staffing experts. WE are the country’s human resource utility. WE have our finger on the pulse of the labour market. For example, most of us knew six months ago what Statistics Canada is just starting to identify today.

ACSESS is currently engaged in a more diverse list of complex issues than ever. This means that membership in our industry association is also more important than ever. If you are an ACSESS member, then perhaps I am ‘preaching to the converted’ but keep in mind that the real benefit comes from participation in ACSESS initiatives. Are you engaged?

One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Unlike the weather, ACSESS offers our membership the opportunity to participate and influence our climate and our future.

Participation can simply mean involvement in a local chapter event, or being a member of a national advisory committee. It can be the pursuit of your CPC designation or your attendance at a national conference (don’t miss Montreal in May of 2009). You can participate in a provincial safety group or reinforce the principles of the ACSESS Code of Ethics within your business. Our effectiveness as an organization and your personal benefit is directly related to your degree of involvement. Are you involved?

Media relations and public relations are of growing concern for ACSESS. The sad reality is that the media likes bad news stories (even if they are not always accurate). We are working to proactively spread the truth about our industry, our services and about the contributions we make to people, business and the Canadian economy. We are making progress, but if you see or hear media coverage (good or bad) that intrigues you then please enquire with ACSESS so that real experts can provide insights.

Membership in any industry association is important. It is a sign of commitment and dedication to your profession. Remember, an industry association is only as good as the members make it. Over 80% of the staffing services provided in Canada are delivered by an ACSESS member. That's a tremendous participation rate and that's why ACSESS is doing such a great job and is so well positioned to help through some tough times that may be ahead.

Steve Jones
National President