Jeremy Walsh joins Dr. Misner to explain the recent change in BNI’s attendance policy. In the past, the six month period for counting absences started when a new leadership team took office. This meant a member could have more than three absences in a given six-month period.
The new policy changes the requirement to say that a member is allowed three absences within a rolling six-month period. A study of all BNI chapters showed that groups that had already been using a rolling six-month period for determining absences had 50% less absenteeism than those who determined absenteeism based on when a new leadership team takes office.
For the leadership team: after you’ve taken attendance, go to the absence report in BNI Connect and enter the absences. Check to see whether you need to send an accountability letter to any members. The report has already been updated to use a rolling six-month period.
Individual members can also pull up the absence report in BNI Connect in order to see how many absences they have.
Feel free to contact Jeremy Walsh at [email protected] if you have any questions.
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Complete Transcription of Episode 482 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hi Priscilla. Good talking to you. Jeremy and I – my guest who I will be introducing in a moment- are at the global convention, the BNI Global Convention, which is open, by the way, for members all over the world, so come next year in November – or October – take a look at BNI.com or our Facebook page and we would love to have you join us here at the convention. We have about 1000 members here every year and it is open around the world.
Todays’s topic is about attendance. This is a very specific topic. You know, most of our topics, I like to keep evergreen. But this one is kind of timely. It is time based. But it could be valuable down the road for people to understand why we have the attendance policy that we have.
There is a change to the policy in the policy and guidelines sheet. For many, many, many years, we had attendance based on a term, a leadership team term. So as leadership teams transition every six months, they wipe the slates clean. The Board of Advisors, the International Board of Advisors, just voted to change that method. This is being rolled out all across the world to a rolling six months. So it is the past six months.
We have with us Jeremy Walsh. I am going to introduce Jeremy in just one second, but before I do, remember that all policies in BNI are created by the Board of Advisors. The International Board of Advisors is made up of BNI members from all around the world. It is the members who help guide this. We talked about with the members through the Board that there was a really significant difference between attendance where wiped the slate clean every six months versus a rolling six months. We are going to share that number with you after we talk to Jeremy here a little bit.
Jeremy Walsh is Customer Support? What is the exact title, Jeremy, in BNI?
I am the Director of Support, Training, and Documentation for BNI Connect.
Jeremy has been on my podcast in the past. But Jeremy is one of the few technical support teams that actually gets huge, huge positive customer service reports. I am always so impressed with the customer service reports that we get from Jeremy’s teams. If you need help with BNI Connect, Jeremy, the best way to do it is?
Email us at [email protected] If you have policy questions, that is [email protected] For technical questions about the system, you can get help at [email protected] or on the help center that we have developed over the years. That is support.bniconnect.com.
Jeremy has been involved with the BNI Connect project pretty much from the very beginning. He has been involved for many, many years and he is truly an expert on BNI Connect probably more than anybody else that I know. Jeremy is going to talk about the attendance issue and how it works in BNI Connect and focus on today’s topic.
Jeremy, let me turn it over to you. Run with it.
Sure. Absolutely. Just to go over the actual attendance requirement as it is stated in the policy. “Attendance is critical to the group. If a member cannot attend, they may send a substitute, not a member of their chapter, to the meeting. This will not count as an absence. The member is allowed three absences within a rolling six month period.”
It used to be with the turnover of the leadership team.
It used to be as the leadership team changes but the new one is a rolling six months, as Jeremy described. Sorry, go ahead, Jeremy.
So as policy goes, the policy is now the rolling six months, which means that as a new Vice President comes in, as a membership team committee comes in, it is not just week one, nobody has any absences anymore. We have to pay a little bit closer attention to it.
From a general procedure standpoint, it’s really kind of the same thing. We take attendance at that meeting. We find out who wasn’t there at that meeting. Then we have to review the palms report, review the absence report and send the appropriate accountability report to the member depending on how many absences they have.
Now, the main difference with this procedure is that we really do have to pay attention to an additional report when we take attendance. There are two reports in BNI Connect that can really, really make this process super simple for you. Under the chapter reports, the first report is the Absence Report.
So after you have taken attendance, you go in to the Absence Report. By the way this is one change that we have made recently in the system. We will now, to support this new policy, automatically have it be six months for you. All you need to do is click on the report, open it up and it will show you how many absences each person has.
You take your list of people who were absent today, look them up in that list and based on the number of absences, you will know which accountability letter to send.
I am asking a question here, Jeremy. It is just the leadership teams that can do this, correct?
The leadership teams are going to be doing the accountability letters, usually the Vice President in conjunction with the membership committee, but-
A lot of people are listening to this podcast. The average member can’t pull up this report, can they?
Yes, absolutely. They can. Anybody can pull up the Absence Report, so if you are wondering how many absences you have, you can pull up the report because you can see how many absences you have. How many lates, how many medical, how many substitutes you have had. You can see where you stand with the chapter.
So that is the relevance to everyone who is listening to this podcast. You can check your own with that report. It is not just the leadership.
I remember when I first joined BNI. By the way, I am still a member, Ivan. I still go to weekly meeting on Thursdays. When I was first a member, it was always a big shock if I happened- not that I ever got an attendance letter itself, but it was always a shock to get notified that I had so many absences because, you know, I couldn’t really keep track of it myself. But with BNI Connect, there is so much that we don’t have to wait for the leadership team to supply us anymore.
We can just log in to BNI Connect anytime and pull up not only this but the Palms report, looking up people’s profiles and all sorts of information that is at our fingertips that was just not available before.
Alright. So anyone can do it and it is now a rolling six months as opposed to every leadership team transition.
I promised that before we were done that we would give a statistic. One of the things that we have done, we have a great statistician who works for BNI out of Europe. Her name is Dr. Caroline Irvine and she did some statistics on the difference between – because we were testing this out before we made the decision- the difference between those regions that were doing this on transition with leadership teams versus a rolling six months.
We found that there was over a 50% difference in the absenteeism between rolling six months versus with the leadership team transition. It was huge. There has to be a few reasons for it, but Jeremy, you and I figured out at least one of them and we talked about this with the Board of Advisors.
What was it that you noticed with some chapters with the transition of the leadership team?
What I would find was that in March, right before the April transition and again in September, right before the October 1 reset of all these absences, we were missing half the chapter. People would save up their absences and kind of use them like a BNI vacation. A use it or lose it vacation policy.
That was one of the big reasons why there was such a significant difference in the numbers and because of that big difference of the numbers, the International Board of Advisors voted by a huge margin, close to 90%, to make the transition to a rolling six months.
There were a few other things that you wanted to talk about as well. I think we have about two or three minutes to wrap up.
Just one other report that I wanted to mention. Because it is now six months time based, there is another report in the system that gives more of a calendar view because it is important to know kind of when- you know, you might have two absences now, but when do you roll back to one absence?
There is a report, a chapter level that is called the Palms Attendance Report. This one will show you week by week by week so you can see when those absences are going to roll off of your history, so it makes it really easy to see that as well.
Then just one comment FAQ that we always get from the vice presidents out there who are the ones who are sending these accountability letters. Isn’t it possible that a member could receive a second absence letter twice?
The answer to that is yes, it absolutely can. They could have two absences and then one absence rolls off and they are absent for a second time again.
That’s okay. That’s the way that this was designed.
Anything else that you want to share about how this change of policy approved by the members through the Board of Advisers, how it impacts individual members of chapters?
I am just looking forward to seeing more of my chapter in those months of September and March because I can tell you – Ivan, you have always said it. How many times have you said this? You can’t get a hair cut over the phone.
It really does damage your credibility when you just don’t show up to a meeting. Think about those people who are giving their feature presentations that week. They are standing up in front of half a chapter when they thought that they were going to give a presentation to everybody.
Listen, we have hard data that shows that attendance impacts referrals. Hard data. I published it in SuccessNet a couple of times through various studies that we have done- that people who show up generate more business and give more business. Chapters who have a good attendance record generate more business for everyone. This is just a hard fact. It is not conjecture.
So that is the reason we made this transition. If you have any questions on how BNI Connect operates, including this topic today, connect with Jeremy. Do you want to give your email one more time, Jeremy?
Jeremy, thank you so much. You always give great content and information about BNI Connect, which is an important element to the BNI organization. We appreciate your efforts.
Everyone, I would urge you to let your fellow members know that this change has taken place and make sure that this transition takes place in your chapter. Have them listen to this podcast if they have any questions whatsoever.
Jeremy, I appreciate it. Priscilla, back to you.
Thank you so much, Jeremy and Ivan. I really appreciate that. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.