Approaches for Orienting New Members

    Background

    It’s challenging for ASTM's new members to learn about our process and the resources available to them so that they can effectively participate shortly after joining. In an effort to reduce the learning curve, ASTM has introduced new programs such as regularly scheduled virtual training modules covering a variety of topics and making calls to each new member to offer general assistance. Below is a list of actions ASTM takes for orienting new members.

    • Immediately after joining, the new member receives a welcome email with information about how to log on, create a password and sign up for training.
    • Three weeks after joining, new members receive a welcome packet via regular mail that contains general ASTM information.
    • Within 4 weeks, each new member is invited to attend a virtual new-member orientation as well as other modules covering balloting, handling negatives, etc.
    • In early 2011, staff started calling all new members to provide assistance with logging on, creating passwords and answering any questions the members may have about their membership or about ASTM.
    • At each Committee Week, staff conducts training modules every Tuesday and Wednesday during lunch.
    • At each Committee Week, we dedicate a computer at the registration desk where staff can demonstrate the website and the My Committees area.
    • In 2011, ASTM started developing short videos for the website that will provide instruction for accomplishing certain tasks (voting, logging on, etc.).

    Committee-Specific Training Options

    Each ASTM committee is encouraged to take steps beyond the general ASTM orientations. Committee-specific training can be beneficial for educating new members about the standards under each subcommittee as well as committee programs like training and certificate courses, proficiency testing, symposia and workshops, certification, etc. Each committee should consider the following additional training options.

    • Committee Training Module — May be conducted by the staff manager and an officer. Sessions may cover the ASTM standards development process, subcommittees and standards, administrative subcommittees, and committee programs. The training modules can be offered on a regular basis at committee meetings.
    • Committee Letter — May be distributed to new members on a monthly basis or other timeframe that the committee deems appropriate. Can be used to explain ASTM process and committee specific programs and practices (See Attachment A for an example).
    • Mentoring — Some committees assign seasoned members to reach out to new members in attendance at a meeting so that questions can be asked throughout the course of the meeting week. Some committees identify new members with a badge sticker or introduce new members at their opening main meeting. This allows the seasoned members to welcome the new members and provide assistance as needed.
    • Calling New Members — Depending on the average number of new members per month, staff or officers may choose to call each new member to explain committee practices and programs. If committees choose this option, they should coordinate with the ASTM Membership area so that we avoid calling the same new member twice.

    Attachment A

    Note: This is a letter to a new member of a classified committee. Unclassified committee letters should not include classification info. Waiting list information should not be included for committees that have no problems with waiting lists.

    Dear XXXXXXX,

    Thank you for joining ASTM International and Committee X##.

    My name is XXXXXXX, and I am the committee’s staff manager. As staff manager, I am here to answer your questions about ASTM’s standards development process and related programs, as well as assist the committee and its membership with all standards-related objectives. I look forward to your participation in ASTM.

    Getting Started

    If you have not already done so, please log in to the member area of the ASTM website by clicking on the red login button at the top of the ASTM homepage at www.astm.org. Use your member number (or the e-mail address you have on record with ASTM) and your password to log in. After you log in, you will have access to ‘My Committees.’ In ‘My Committees,’ under the Committee banner, you will see a row of links. The link for “Ballots” will take you to ballots that are currently open. Your participation is crucial during the balloting process as ASTM standards derive much of their relevance from the breadth of participation present during their development. Other links, such as “Agendas,” will take you to agendas from past and future meetings, the “Minutes” link displays minutes from past meetings, and the “Rosters” link contains contact information for committee and subcommittee membership.

    Voting

    Only one member from an organization may hold the “official vote”; this ensures that no single company has the opportunity to dominate the standards development process.

    Committees having a commercial interest require that each member be classified so the committee can ensure a balance between producers and non-producers. Here are the ASTM definitions for each classification.

    • Producer – A member who represents a voting interest that produces or sells materials, products, systems, or services covered in the committee or subcommittee scope.
    • User – A member who represents a voting interest that purchases or uses materials, products, systems, or services other than for household use covered in the committee or subcommittee scope, provided that the member could not also be classified as a producer.
    • General Interest – A member who cannot be categorized as a producer or user.

    Occasionally, producers may be placed on a waiting list for an official vote in order to maintain balance between the producer and non-producer voting membership.

    All members are notified when a ballot is issued. While official voting status is not assigned to everyone; all members have the opportunity to return ballots and provide feedback, including submission of negative votes. All negatives (from both voting members and non-voting members) must be resolved before a standard can move forward in the process. If you have not already, you will soon receive an email from ASTM informing you of your assigned classification and voting status.

    Member Training

    ASTM International offers free, one-hour, online virtual training sessions throughout the year at different dates and times. There are also additional tools such as the New Member Orientation & Training and the Balloting & Handling of Negatives Votes modules. Registration only takes a moment and the meeting can be added to your calendar. See /MEMBER_TRAINING/.

    If you have any questions about ASTM, please contact me at 610-832-XXXX staffmanagername@astm.org.

    Again, thank you for your interest and participation in the committee. We look forward to working with you in the future.

    Best regards,
    Name
    Manager, Technical Committee Operations