Photo of Trades

Trades case study


The Client

Midwestern Carpenter's Union

The Challenge

A regional carpenter’s union with a proud, longstanding membership was struggling to recruit and retain a younger demographic of members. Union leadership recognized that for the union to continue growing and thriving, it needed to reevaluate its strategy and understand how to best appeal to a new generation of members – without alienating its loyal base.

The Strategy

We designed a three-part strategic approach to help the union with its recruitment and retention efforts among Millennials and Gen Z. The first part of our plan focused on creating buy-in and generational awareness among the organization’s current members through an informative session conducted by one of our keynote speakers. Not only did this get the collective membership on board and excited about our approach, it pinpointed areas for us to focus on for the next phase of the process: primary research.  

Utilizing the information gained from the session and our generational expertise, we facilitated focus groups and interviews with union members and non-union tradespeople across the Midwestern region to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization through a generational perspective. Armed with a plethora of data, our team of researchers analyzed the data to identify the union’s unique strengths and shortcomings relative to recruiting and retaining Millennial and Gen Z members.

The final part of our approach focused on putting our findings into action. We generated a written report with key insights and recommendations that we presented to the union’s leadership team. This in-depth discussion with leaders provided the basis for a strategic working session we facilitated with the union’s communications team. Through targeted questions, activities, and analysis, we were able to help create an effective strategy for outreach via marketing materials and social media that would enhance recruiting the younger generations.

This comprehensive strategic plan allowed us to uncover targeted insights for union leaders, business representatives, and the communications team, thus arming them with the tools and insight to better attract and retain the next generation of members.

The outcome

As a result of our partnership, the union has implemented the following initiatives to increase recruitment and retention among a younger demographic of prospective and current members:

  • Implemented a union-wide policy for maternity leave
  • Worked with local daycare centers to provide more flexible hours so members would be able to drop off children before the workday
  • Developed a social media campaign with an impactful hashtag that focused on sharing current members’ carpentry projects outside of work