Onboarding Single Point of Contact
(Richard H. Ryder, 2017)
In the first article of this series I discussed how, as the new Lodge Ambassador, I created a team to develop a 5 year lodge strategic plan, which resulted in the vision: Living the Masonic tradition of fraternity, charity, and truth. Our first improvement priority was improving membership. We then refined that desire into tangible goals, one of which was to improve the onboarding process to provide a repeatable experience for new members, from the time they inquire about the Fraternity to the point in time when they become a Master Mason and are starting to find their purpose within the lodge. (Note: the other tangible goal, preparing the Senior Warden for the East, is presented in The Trestle Board series found in The Maven’s Journal)
The ultimate end state is to make the application process, degree process, and integration process seamless and positive for the individual. If the new Master Mason experiences a positive onboarding process he is more apt to take the next step toward becoming a contributing member of the lodge.
Defining an effective, repeatable onboarding process that persists, no matter who sits in the East, does not happen overnight. It takes careful and thoughtful discussion, a clear understanding of what to achieve, and the benefit to both the interested individual and the lodge. Most of all it takes time, both in the planning and the execution. It also requires someone to champion and manage the process; enter the Single Point of Contact.
Single Point of Contact
The first success factor is the concept of a single point of contact (SPOC) for both the lodge and the interested individual. This way there is one person who has a holistic view of the process and experience, and is accountable for success. It makes sense that the Lodge Ambassador fills this role.
Here are three reasons why a SPOC is so important:
- There is one person accountable for the entire process; from the time an individual expresses an interest in Freemasonry, through the application and degree processes, and up to the point where the new candidate becomes a contributing member of the lodge. It provides critical consistency, promotes repeatability, and takes the guess work out of who is holding the onboarding baton at any given time. The SPOC does not replace the sponsor and or mentor. However, the SPOC does ensure the sponsor and or mentor fulfills their responsibilities, and that the process seamlessly moves forward (and yes, we have a Sponsor process as well).
- The Master feels confident that someone owns the onboarding process. The Master now serves in a supporting role, deciding who, in addition to the SPOC, will attend the pre-application and application meetings. If he needs a status of progress with the applicant and or candidate, the Master makes just one inquiry. If he needs to provide input into the process, he speaks with just one person. Of course the Master is ultimately responsible for what happens within a lodge, but when a well-defined onboarding process exists, with well-defined roles and responsibilities, the Master can focus on other important areas knowing that the SPOC is responsible for onboarding new members.
- During implementation, areas of improvement will manifest themselves. When they do the SPOC is responsible for defining and implementing the improvement, seeking input when necessary. Having an experienced and holistic view of the process the SPOC leads the effort to determine how best to incorporate change and how best to implement change. Here is where Kaizen (small, incremental improvements) really pays off.
Click HERE to view SPOC roles and responsibilities.