So today I was inspired by a conversation with a client. It’s invariably true that I’m far more likely to be asked, “what do you have that’s new?” than I am to hear, “what do you have that’s worked a hundred times in the past?” And maybe that’s our tribe’s own fault,
after all, when we talk amongst our peers and colleagues about union proofing, everyone prides themselves on innovation, on creating the best new ways to connect with employees.
But as I was asked that, “what’s new?” question again yesterday, and as I sat listening to the challenges this particular company was experiencing, it struck me that it might be time to reexamine a few of the ideas that originally empowered modern companies to speak up in order to remain union-free. I’m not talking about being “union busters” or any of the other negative names unions came up with to make employers feel badly about wanting to maintain a direct connection with their own employees. I’m talking about good, solid companies that care for and respect their employees’ voice.
So here are a few ideas I think could use a reboot– and they’re still 100% relevant today. They’re not negative or heavy-handed, they don’t threaten employees or make them fear consequences – these ideas are real, they’re true, and its time for us to remember why they were so effective in the first place:
With today’s technology, a “reboot” of these ideas can actually be more efficiently delivered than ever before. Ambush elections and quick turnaround communications are no problem when you have a team like Projections’ in-house UnionProof team. With decades of experience and every talent and resource needed under one roof, rebooting these ideas is easily within your reach, despite any time constraints. So ask not, “what’s new?” but “what works?” and you’ll be well on your way to a union proof culture.
If you’d like to see examples of the types of custom-crafted communication tools referenced in this article, simply ask. The UnionProof team at Projections can place them in your Insider Network for private viewing, online.
Today – while we all seem to be more connected than ever – technology (and the digital resources it empowers us to use) can stand in the way of genuine connections. Case in point: twenty-somethings today think nothing of relationships that begin, end, and take place mostly as texts. But this is a particularly sticky challenge in the workplace.
Communicating with workers about change, about the state of the business and about your union-free operating philosophy is an important part of keeping your businesses healthy while offering employees more opportunities.
Using the right digital resources to train, educate and inform workers is vital in forging a genuine connection. You should be aware of the online resources that are available to you to optimize your union-proofing efforts. Consider these new ideas:
Many employees support unions because they believe working conditions and pay will improve after they unionize. The reality is that unionizing can have negative effects that harm employees.
Videos that explain the truth can help employees understand that unions actually add a tremendous burden that cost companies and workers money. Even when unions manage to negotiate higher wages, union dues and higher tax rates often exceed pay increases while forcing companies to spend more money on labor. This often means many businesses have to downsize to stay in business. Worse yet, employees lucky enough to keep their jobs rarely see improved living standards.
Giving your management team the ability to educate employees with online union avoidance videos can effectively impart the lesson that staying union-free benefits them, their coworkers and their company, ultimately impacting their overall job security. You can even keep the videos on password-protected websites that only give access to your employees and managers.
Unions can only operate when they convince employees to give them money. Training mid-level managers so they can share objective facts with employees is one of the best ways to counter claims made by union organizers.
Union Proof offers e-learning courses, videos and other resources that clearly and effectively show that unions can and do negatively affect businesses and workers. Once your managers know the facts, they can share them with employees so they aren’t persuaded by unions. Without objective facts, it’s nearly impossible to show employees why unionization won’t improve their professional or personal lives.
Staying union-free is as much about treating employees well as it is countering the efforts of union leaders. A report from the Conference Board shows that over 52 percent of Americans are unhappy at work. If your employees do not feel appreciated, then you may have opened the door to ambitious union leaders.
Prevent this by using the internet to improve positive employee relations. Some digital options for improving employee relations include:
Contact the Union Proof team at Projections to learn more about how you can use digital resources to truly connect with employees and keep your workforce union free.
A clear sign that a presentation really connected with you is when you start asking questions about how to use the information you just heard to your benefit. At Projections, we have been lucky to get a lot of smart questions from our clients, and we’ve helped them
discover how great employee communication resources can truly address their challenges. What makes our CEO scratch his head, though, is that he rarely hears three questions that truly address some of the biggest problems businesses face today. Asking these three questions will help you take your positive employee relations to the next level.
For union free companies, maintaining that direct connection with employees should be a top priority, regardless of industry or stage of development. Studies show that as the economy has become more competitive, companies are unable to pass as many of their cost increases onto the consumer. As a result, expenses related to union involvement in the business often result in businesses decreasing R&D and marketing budgets. As any business knows, if you aren’t innovating, you are dying, so these sorts of trade-offs can eventually mean that your business will struggle to remain competitive. That risk is what makes active union avoidance necessary. By improving employee communications, you can improve your connection with your workforce, and minimize the possibility of dealing with a union.
Generational differences have always existed, but it has never been a bigger issue – with a more diverse population in the workplace – than it is today. Harmonizing the efforts of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennials is one of the biggest professional challenges today. Recent studies have shown that regardless of position or industry, it’s vital to build communications that respect the way different generations approach their work. Organizations should strive to make older generations comfortable, while still supporting the innovative spirit that younger generations crave. Finding the right resources, including video, websites, and even interactive eLearning is key to building solid communication across generational differences.
Asking this question transforms the principles you value as a company from something your employees are reminded of once or twice a year into something that’s an integral part of every work day. Communication that does not continually create a bond between employee and employer – reinforcing the employer brand – is not worth doing. Understanding that ongoing communication actually makes your job easier is vital to improving the company as a whole. When great connections happen based on the company’s own principles, that’s when employees pull together for a common good. So exploring the options for a variety of channels on a regular basis is a powerful way to create a culture of positive employee relations.
Now that you are asking the right questions, you need to find the right answers. Find those answers by clicking here.
As the labor relations industry gathers for the next CUE Conference, I’m looking forward to seeing all our clients and meeting new folks who have recently joined the organization. Having attended CUE conferences for so many years, I often recommend to our new clients that they attend a conference, as CUE provides incredible networking opportunities. Recently, one of those clients asked me for some pointers on how to get the most out of this conference – what a great idea! So I’m sharing those thoughts here:
Read through the entire agenda ahead of time and figure out what sessions are going to best benefit you and your company. Think about your current labor situation and what’s coming down the pike. If you are attending with a co-worker or partner, divide and conquer to cover as many topics as possible.
This is no time to be shy! Ask questions of the speakers. Ask questions of the LLAC, the CCAC, the Board and especially of your counterparts in all industries. Their situations are the same and they are ALL happy to share their methods and results with like-minded individuals. Think about, “What question can I ask that another 20-30 people want answered, just like me?”
Practice introducing yourself, especially if you are a blue-dotter or you see a blue-dotter. What’s a blue-dotter? Look for the blue dot on their name tag – it means it is their first time at a CUE conference! It’s vital for first-timers to connect with the people who can help them most. As members, we all want this to be a great experience for them. I’ve heard so many CUE members remark, “The speakers were great, but the conversations I am having are far more valuable than anything I could have imagined!”
Bring business cards. You are going to meet a lot a people and it can become a blur. But once things settle a little bit and you remember that important question you want to ask, those business cards will come in handy for email addresses and contact info.
This is a hard one, but try try try to stay off your phone. There are a lot of breaks which means a lot of opportunities to meet new people. If you run out of the main hall and break-out sessions and immediately start checking email and making “important” phone calls, then you are missing out on great opportunities to learn and meet great people.
Meet new people. It sound obvious but make a point to engage new contacts at the breaks, lunch, crack-of-dawn breakfast, dinners, receptions and the Tuesday night “Big Event”. If you attending with others from your company, SPREAD OUT, you already know those folks! Make it a game—who can meet the most new contacts or get new business cards. Winner buys drinks at the reception!
If you are in a Special Industry group, then do yourself a HUGE favor and attend your industry break-out session. These groups have even more insight and knowledge on your situation.
Once you have returned to the trenches, don’t go back into the fox hole all by yourself. If you’ve done what I’ve suggested here, you now have dozens of new friends and contacts to call on in times of need, or while planning the best strategy, and staying union free …
For most of us, the novelty of Twitter has worn off. We’re ready to get down to business with the best of what Twitter has to offer. But knowing where to look for the best tweets can be a challenge. While twitter is loaded with all kinds of practical information and resources, you’ve got to be selective to make your personal feed an aggregate you find truly useful.
Whether you are a seasoned HR or Labor professional or just getting started, sorting through thousands of twitter feeds to find the right sources for your information needs can be a challenge. Of course, there are the general resources –powerhouse news outlets – we’ve learned to depend on: Wall Street Journal (@WSJ), USA Today (@USATODAY), The New York Times (@nytimes), and CNN (@cnnbrk), but to make Twitter work for your needs, you’ve got to be diligent about who you follow, so you aren’t flooded with irrelevant links and tweets.
To help you refine, update and really squeeze every drop out of your Twitter account, we’ve created a list of what we think are the best of the best for those involved in labor relations. These 25 feeds highlight the best practices and trends, and offer substantial tips, links and information for HR & Labor Relations pros:
2. US Dept. of Labor
Jobs, employment, workforce, safety, labor, government 2.0 issues and regulations news and information from the US Department of Labor.
@NLRB Washington, DC
Announcements, articles, and decision summaries from National Labor Relations Board.
4. Center for Union Facts
Highlights Employee Rights Act and information about today’s union leadership.
Up-to-date summaries of employment law rulings, one-click links to full text.
6.The Union Label Blog
Information and links to union activity and corruption articles.
7. Serrano Search
Labor relations related recruitment articles and links from talent management and search firm.
8. Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal
Labor and employment case law updates.
8.Employment Law News
Unique perspective, written by leading lawyers and law firms – HR Commentary and updates for the workplace, and other Employment Law issues.
@LRToday Washington, DC
The leading online resource tracking legislative, executive and administrative developments in traditional labor law.
10. PLC Labor Emp US
content, updates and news from
11. BNA Labor/Employment
Timely updates from Bloomberg BNA’s labor and employment reporters and editors.
12. Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A.
The Personnel Files: the latest developments concerning the law of the workplace.
13. Workforce Management Magazine
Management and HR issues from the Workforce Management and Workforce Training family of magazines.
14. SHRM Labor Relations
Updates on Labor Relations & Politics that affect HR professionals. Includes collective bargaining, strikes, regulatory and legislative updates, union organizing and more.
15. Human Racehorses
A look at the legal aspects of the employment relationship — slightly irreverent but hopefully frequently helpful.
16. Michael Eastman
Mike is the Executive Director of Labor Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce and tweets about the NLRB and labor policy in general.
17 Steve Greehnouse
Steve Greenhouse covers labor issues for New York Times.
18. US Chamber of Commerce
Updates from the US Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative on labor-related issues.
19. Labor Union Report
News and views on today’s labor union.
20. Ed Cohen
If you need an international perspective on labor trends, Global HR News covers global changes and challenges.
21. Women of HR
A community dedicated to the development of women in HR and Business.
22. Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender
Workplace tips and advice served up in a friendly place.
23. Diane Pfadenhauer
Diane is an employment attorney & MBA professor who tweets on the latest trends in HR and labor law.
24. HR.com, Debbie McGrath
Canadian CEO of HR.com tweets on everything from benefits to recruitment, and will keep you aware of upcoming HR events.
25. Cue, Inc.
Organization dedicated to positive employee relations, with twice-yearly conferences.
Ok, so technically that was 26… are there others you follow? Got some great suggestions? Let us know!