Although what I am about to talk about is mere observation, and not real research, it is still serious enough to write about it and try to find solutions.
These days, it seems like it is so much easier to just sit on Facebook all day, watch Youtube videos for hours, or just chill with friends at a local coffee place than to worry about being a member of an organization where you actually have to do some work.
Running away from responsibility? looks like it, be it is a symptom or a real phenomenon.
This may not be exclusive to Assyrians only, but it matters more to Assyrians given our small population and being a minority wherever we go.
What is happening to our concept of responsibility and accountability? are we running away from them and just choosing the easy life instead? like I already mentioned, it is so much easier to sit home, socialize with friends online, watch TV etc., than having to worry about the hardships and time-consuming complexities of being with an organization.
If not enough of us are being responsible, especially the young amongst us, who will replace our elders when they retire from their positions. We often complain that it is time for the old people to quit their positions and let the youth take over with fresh new ideas. But why would they quit their position if no one is ready to take over?
Are you a member of any Assyrian organization, union, committee, party, church etc? have you ever run into a situation where no one wants to run for any new position? as a result, the old committee is stuck and have to keep doing the job for years and years. That is because it is not easy to find new members these days. No one wants to take responsibility and allocate some time to help his people and community.
So what is the solution? how can we motivate people and give them an incentive to join something they are not interested in? if someone doesn’t care about taking the lead and being responsible, traits people should have picked up by their late teens, how can we teach it to them now?
If people don’t care about joining organizations and being members of groups and teams, we should try new approaches for recruiting them. How about some commercialization, where you pay the members in way or another? That may defeat the purpose, but it is as plain as it sounds. You wouldn’t just pay them for being a member. You could introduce a revenue sharing program, where members are paid a small percentage of sales and revenues earned. You could even pay existing members to refer new members. Human Resource departments at big companies have very clear policies for referrals and retaining top talents. It is about time we introduce such policies to our Assyrian organizations, to retain good talent and recruit new ones. We may not have the money and resources to do what big companies do, but we don’t have to do anything enormous.
We should also do a better job of explaining the meaning of the organizations and what an important role they play in the sustainability and well-being of the Assyrian community and society in general. Explaining this in clear and understandable terms will give the potential candidate a better sense of purpose and belonging, and make them feel like they are joining a worthy cause.
Empowerment is also key to ensuring you can retain top talent for your organization and recruit more in the future. Make them feel like they are an essential component of the team and that they are directly responsible for the decision making and what happens. This, as opposed to marginalizing them and not taking their opinion and ideas into consideration, no matter what their position is. In conversing with many former members of different organizations, this is often cited as one big reason why a lot of them quit. Their opinion is simply not taken very seriously, which makes them wonder, why are they even part of such a group or organization?
So, it is clear that the reason why fewer and fewer people are deciding to join Assyrian organizations can’t be solely attributed to lack of responsibility and leadership. Organizations themselves can do more to attract and retain existing membership and talent. The fear is of that day in the future where there is no one willing to take over the running and management of our organizations, that they will be forced to shut down. And what is our communities, especially those in the diaspora, without our political, educational, and social organizations?