Once a labor-relations issue arises, or a campaign to unionize your workplace begins, nothing looks as bad as a quickly re-drawn grievance procedure. At best, you will have weakened your employee’s trust in you; at worst, you might be guilty of an unfair labor practice.
Making sure employees feel like they’re a part of things plays a major role in creating a union proof culture. Implementing a pro-worker alternative dispute resolution (ADR) policy now will go a long way towards securing this end.
Proper employee communication is vitally important in all aspects of your approach to human resource management. As part of your company’s continuing dialogue, it is crucial to ensure that employees feel they have a voice in the workplace arena, and that this voice is listened to by managerial staff and those in decision-making positions.
Maintaining a union-free workspace means ensuring that your employees feel valued. So, let’s look in some detail at a few ways in which you can develop a good pro-worker ADR policy, and how best to implement those policies to ensure your company stays union-free:
Even if you’re only just beginning to create your ADR policy, or you have just begun to make substantial changes to a pre-existing one, let your workers know this as soon as possible. Communicate in the way most familiar to your employees, so that while the issue may be new, the mode of communication is trusted. If you do regular video updates and distribute them via an email link, don’t suddenly start using social media to talk about your dispute resolution process – – even if you plan to use that new channel to educate employees on the program going forward.
It might seem a trivial point, but do you know what issues in the day-to-day running of your business are the most likely to make your employees concerned?
Survey your workforce. Find out if there’s a health and safety issue that they are particularly worried about, and identify any areas that might make your staff feel insecure or anxious.
Conducting an employee survey may also help shape your Dispute Resolution policy. You’ll definitely get an idea of the issues that might be addressed by your ADR program, and how engaged your employees might be in that process.
Fully integrating your workforce into the actual dispute resolution process itself is a great way to signal to your employees that you are willing to take their input seriously and give them a role in the things that matter to them.
Furthermore, employees are often the best-positioned people in your business to tell you about the specifics of an internal workplace dispute. Rather than being overly lenient, they are usually the most incentivized members of your company when it comes to grading their colleague’s work performance.
As an employer, you are not going to get every decision right. But appearing arbitrary with the application of your decision-making principles is a surefire way to bring about employee-relation breakdown.
A good insurance against this perceived arbitrariness is to have a fair and robust appeals policy. This way, bad decisions can be swiftly rectified, and it provides another outlet for employee grievance other than turning to a union.
This should be fairly obvious, yet it does require diligence from your managerial team. Consistency is the visible byproduct of integrity, and employees can spot a lack of integrity from a mile away!
Inconsistency, even in the smallest of workplace matters, can have profound implications for workforce morale. Train your managers and supervisors to understand this, and educate them on the need to apply workplace rules fairly across the board.
Listen to your employees as you create your ADR process, and take action based on what they are saying. In order to be inspired, employees must feel that they are making a worthwhile contribution to the organization – and that their contribution is valued by you, their employer. With an effective channel to have their voices heard, it won’t be a union they turn to when problems arise.
You may find The United States Office of Personnel Management’s guide to creating an Alternative Dispute Resolution process helpful.
As we move through 2016, employees’ expectations of their employers are growing and changing. To create workplace safety, inclusiveness and a driven team of people, it’s important to focus on strengthening your company culture in a few key ways. The following sections cover those methods and how you can use them.
As companies focus on strengthening communication and forging solid employee relationships, the need for unions will dissipate naturally. Instead of directing your energy toward creating an anti-union environment, a much more positive and effective approach is to create an environment that fosters positive employee relations. This includes a culture that protects its employees against harassment, injuries and layoffs without the need for union intervention. Employees should express confidence that they can approach management openly and receive assistance without having to struggle for their rights. One of the best ways to ensure that all of these factors are in place is leadership training.
How do you determine whether leadership is strong within an organization? Not surprisingly, a study by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology revealed that commitment and positive attitudes lead to better performance. Thus midlevel managers must be taught to openly display these leadership qualities and pass them down through the organization. By starting at the top, organizational leaders can set an example that reflects a company’s culture and values of openness, honesty and tolerance of all types of people. Incorporating technology such as interactive e-learning has become a popular and effective strategy to keep employees informed and allow them to interact directly with management.
In today’s globalized world, events that have a widespread influence on your employees’ attitudes and behaviors can occur. Holding meetings that address employee concerns and key issues can generate better trust and understanding among co-workers. Similarly, management must directly address how employees can professionally handle serious problems such as harassment and injury. If uncertainty exists or formal systems have yet to be put in place for solving these issues, there is a strong need for better communication. To maintain consistency and keep your employees from fragmenting in different directions, leadership must work to maintain a clear voice that overpowers external uncertainty.
Your HR department is vital to building the best company possible. It ensures that your employees are at their best and receive the support they need. While there are so many things that your HR department has to do that it might be tempting to take a few shortcuts, there are a few areas where you absolutely must use HR best practices or face negative long-term consequences in the future.
New employee orientation is vital, as it sets the tone for the rest of an employee’s experience with your company. Within the first week, it is important that you describe the basic work processes that the employee will be using every day. This can include everything from job-specific tasks to the basics that everyone uses, such as email protocol. It’s also important that you keep the information you share with your employees consistent. So it’s a good idea to create a series of orientation videos that you can share during the orientation process. It ensures everyone gets the same information and, if done right, can be more engaging than a manager rushing through the process.
After their salary, your company’s benefits package is arguably the most important element for your employees. To ensure that your benefits communication is outstanding, you need to go beyond the norm. Approximately 80 percent of companies still rely on printed materials regarding benefits sent to their employees’ homes. In a digital world, that’s not nearly enough. Your employees need to be engaged with the process. That means annual videos that are available online for your employees to review and interactive websites that help them find the best plans. These tools can be invaluable for smoothing out the annual benefit enrollment process.
Unions can be destructive for businesses. Unions can devalue seniority and employee effort, make it difficult for your business to compete, and also exploit your employees. This can lead to your business becoming unprofitable and to your employees losing their jobs. Union avoidance is in everyone’s best interest and you need to communicate this to your employees. Take the time to investigate the best union avoidance strategies and then implement them for the sake of your company and your employees.
So, don’t cut corners when it comes to employee engagement! If you need help connecting with your employees, whether it’s during orientation, harassment training, wellness programs, annual benefits enrollment, or just to communicate important facts, contact Projections. Your message will reach your audience and create the change you need to grow. We make it so easy, you’ll find no shortcuts needed!
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.