New employees come to your district with few, if any, biases. They look forward to a friendly reception, positive relationships, and a good working climate in their new jobs.
As a leader in the Association, you are the one who will set the tone for that good working climate, and the sooner you do, the better. Here’s a few suggestions:
· Get names and homes addresses of new employees as soon as possible. Don’t wait until school starts. The best source of this information is probably the director of schools, board secretary, or payroll officer. But don’t forget principals and school office staff. Sometimes, they are the best insiders to ask.
· Send new employees a welcome letter. Try to make the letters personal. Use their names, not the “Dear occupant” approach. This personal touch really makes a big difference and will go a long way to welcoming the new employees aboard.
· Invite new employees to a social event. (Think breakfast, special luncheon, pizza party, picnic, even a quick Krispy Kreme break.) If possible, schedule it for before the start of the school year. Invite your local president to talk to them about the Association and why their membership is important. Most importantly, speak from your own experiences. Tell them why you joined and then why you work hard to recruit new members. Be prepared to SIGN THEM UP on the spot.
· Be flexible. If some new employees can’t make it to your special event, then arrange a specific time to talk with them one on one about the Association and what GAE can do for them. Remember to ask them to join. And then be prepared to sign them up on the spot.
Employees Already on the Payroll
Before the start of the school year, look at your school’s employment roster. See who is already a GAE member and who is not. Have you personally asked the non-members to join GAE? If not, now is the time.
Throughout the year, as members work to make schools better for themselves and their students, remind those non-members of all of GAE’s accomplishments. Talk to them about how GAE is making a difference in the issues important to you on the local level. Ask them what’s important to them. Then be prepared to show them how GAE is advocating for those issues.
Don’t forget to point out that the Association is absolutely the strongest and most successful advocate (legislative successes) for better salaries and fringe benefits. Remind them just how valuable GAE’s legal protection can be (read up on GAE legal wins).