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2019 SIOP Exit Survey Executive Summary: Issues, Possible Solutions, and Actions Taken

Richard M. Vosburgh, SIOP Survey Subcommittee Cochair, RMV Solutions LLC; & Melissa G. Keith, SIOP Survey Subcommittee Member, Bowling Green State University

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the other members of the Survey Subcommittee (Patrick O’Connell, Holly Lam, James Scrivani, and Stephen King), Jayne Tegge in the SIOP Administrative Office, and SIOP leaders who reviewed and contributed to this article (Talya Bauer, Milt Hakel, Allan Church, Tiffany Poeppelman, and Emily Campion).

Background and Method

To better understand why SIOP members chose not to renew their SIOP membership, members who did not renew during the June 2018 call for membership renewal (N = 3,095) were surveyed by the SIOP Survey Subcommittee during March 4–26, 2019. The online survey was sent by email and consisted of seven quantitative questions, eight write-in questions, and two demographic questions. Mercer/Sirota conducted the analysis and generated the 2019 Exit Survey report.



Summary of Results

A total of only 88 people (2.8%) responded to the survey, so caution should be used in interpreting the results. Demographics of the respondents were as follows: 56% female, 37% male; 79% White, 9% Asian, 6% Black. Immediate response to the survey resulted in 139 renewals. Of the 88 respondents, 9% intended to rejoin SIOP, 38% might rejoin, 28% did not intend to rejoin, and 25% were currently unsure.

Of the 88 respondents, 48% were Student Affiliates and 40% were Members. Associate (7%), Fellow (1%), and Retired (3%) respondents had minimal representation. The majority had been members of SIOP for fewer than 5 years (26% for under 1 year and 41% between 1 and 5 years). The Student Affiliates had a number of reasons for not renewing; however, the Members shared some common reasons. Common reasons for not renewing are portrayed in Table 1.

When examining the “primary reasons” mentioned by the 88 respondents, “Other” was the most frequent primary reason mentioned for not renewing. Although many of these reasons were idiosyncratic (annoyed with paper reviewer; from [non-US country] and cannot enter the United States; currency in [non-US countries] make it too expensive; currently unemployed), additional open responses indicated membership renewal concerns at early stage career (Student) and late stage career (Retired), with some responses indicating they did not understand membership options and prices.


Table 1

Common Primary Reasons Given for Not Renewing Membership



Other (see Table 2)


Dues are too high


Benefits not meeting needs




No longer in I-O psychology



When asked to specify any number of “additional reasons” for not renewing, a number of responses were given including benefits not being understood or not meeting individual or organizational needs. SIOP dues and an academic focus were also frequently mentioned additional reasons. Although many reasons were given, the most frequent additional reasons are depicted in Table 2.


Table 2

Common Additional Reasons Given for Not Renewing Membership



Benefits for me not clear


Benefits not meeting my needs


SIOP dues too high


My organization does not value SIOP


Too much focus on academic issues



When asked whether they joined a different professional group, 12 other groups were identified. However, there appears to be no common competitor with SIOP, as no group was mentioned more than two times.

Issues, Possible Solutions, and Actions Taken

In reviewing the responses, the Survey Subcommittee identified the most common issues along with possible solutions and actions taken, and those are summarized below. The Member Experience Subcommittee is currently considering each of these possible solutions in the repackaging of the SIOP Benefits and Value Proposition.



Possible solution(s)

Action(s) taken

People join just before the Conference to get the better price, then their membership expires several months later; considered not fair.

Continue to offer this incentive but explore additional ways to make it easier or more automatic to have dues paid and membership renewed.

The SIOP Administrative Office and Executive Board are exploring options for improving the dues payment process, including auto renewals and a midyear dues rate.  An updated online membership application is also in process.

Employer does not value SIOP.

More completely package and fully communicate the SIOP value proposition.

SIOP has written this letter that expresses the SIOP value proposition from the person interested to their boss, and it is available online. Need to more fully explore PDFs, videos, and other media that would further assist practitioners.

Benefits unclear or not meeting my needs.

Similar to above, more completely package and fully communicate the SIOP value proposition. For members outside the United States, consider streaming content live or through downloads.

The Member Experience Subcommittee is reworking the value proposition and the complete benefits listing (including website URLs).

Too academic focused.

Increase practitioner content and reward/recognition opportunities. Continue the work of many groups and the Executive Board to move this forward.

This was also one of the five issues identified from the 2018 Member’s Survey. Talya Bauer’s presidential letter in September 2018 provided a long list of actions taken (see President’s Message).

Tending to lose early and late career stage professionals.

Be clearer about the Student and Retired criteria and pricing and that both are welcome in SIOP. Consider “Professional in Transition” at a lower price.

Exploring ways to engage these groups with unique career stage needs.

Dues perceived as too high.

Every professional organization must pay attention to financial issues. The Member’s value proposition has to do with the internal equity calculation of what that individual puts into the relationship (including dues) and what that individual gets out of it.

SIOP members are no longer required to join or renew APA dues each year in order to be a member of SIOP. We encourage those members who are interested in APA activities to continue that membership.


The Administrative Office regularly makes comparisons of other comparable organizations’ dues. SIOP dues are typically lower in most membership categories.

Providing value beyond SIOP membership.

As we consider the future of SIOP and the inevitability of at least some of us in the aging population, rather than dues increases, it would be helpful for the more senior members of SIOP to consider gifting to the SIOP Foundation as part of their estate-planning process. This is just one more way to give back to the profession that has helped us in our lives and careers.

SIOP has provided information on how to gift here: http://0-www-siop-org.library.alliant.edu/Foundation. More visibility to this option is being explored.


Conclusions From the 2018 SIOP Member Survey

Although the results of the Exit Survey reported above provide some insight into reasons for membership turnover, the 2018 Member Survey provides additional insight into membership engagement. Conducted March–April 2018, the Member Survey showed that with 84% reporting “Engaged” (p. 8) and 91% Intending to Renew (p. 9) there are reasons for optimism regarding the strength and growth of SIOP.

Based on that survey’s results, Talya Bauer’s September 2018 President’s Message identified five opportunities to strengthen SIOP and went into great detail on actions taken to address each:

  1. Advocate for better public understanding of what I-O and SIOP does.
  2. Encourage more collaboration/balance between practice and academia.
  3. Advocate I-O education for high school students.
  4. Provide more access to peer-reviewed research.
  5. Make the SIOP website more user friendly.

To conclude, SIOP is well positioned as the only national/global society for I-O psychology, and as a profession we are well positioned to impact the future of work and engagement. In conjunction with the opportunities identified by Talya Bauer in 2018, we have every opportunity to focus on the strength of SIOP’s benefits and value proposition in 2019 and beyond.



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