5 Ways to Stay Union-Free and Employee-Happy

union free and employee happyWhen the employee–employer relationship lacks trust and fair treatment, a union can soon intervene. Employees join unions for various reasons, including feeling like they aren’t recognized for their good work, or that they deserve better pay or need a contract for job security. But union contracts stifle direct communication efforts between employees and employers. Don’t let it get that far! Here are five great ways to keep your company union-free.

1. Promote Employee Education

When your employees are unaware of the disadvantages of unions, they may be easier to persuade to join one. That’s why it’s vital to educate employees on how unionization of the company would affect the communication between staff and managers, such as creating an impediment to direct conflict resolution. Additionally, you want to train your managers and supervisors on how to effectively communicate with employees respectfully so they stay satisfied and your company remains union-free.

2. Make Collaboration a Priority

If you’re not fostering a team environment, you’re already creating a vulnerability that unions can exploit. Prioritizing a collaborative environment strengthens the employee–employer bond because it establishes respect and trust. You can accomplish this by encouraging employees to provide suggestions during a meeting with management to enhance projects or policies. When you make employees feel that their ideas and suggestions matter within a group environment, you begin to build employee morale and confidence. Prioritizing collaborative efforts also demonstrates acknowledgment of employees, which can enhance their experiences at work.

3. Give Clear and Ethical Communication

Keeping communication between your employees and the company open is key to keeping employees happy and saving your business from experiencing the long, drawn-out process of unionization. You can help prevent unionization within the company by focusing on clear and ethical communication between employee and upper management. For example, when an employee has a concern about a task or a complaint regarding another employee, you can encourage an open-door policy. This helps you gain credibility as a trusted source to discuss pressing matters.

Additionally, you can post bulletin boards throughout the office and send out emails with concise information that clarifies business changes. Employees can also suggest ideas to help improve their work environment. By encouraging clear and transparent communication, employees can feel secure and respected.

4. Embrace Technology

Leaving your employees without essential resources to do their jobs or ways to communicate their messages effectively can weaken the employer-employee relationship. However, you can embrace technology to combat this adversity. Technology is helpful in delivering your message to employees because it is easy to use and accelerates the communication process. For instance, you can use technology, such as machine learning and big data analytics, to administer and analyze employee surveys and even virtual suggestion boxes. You can use the information from the collected data to quickly address concerns and showing your employees that they have an important voice within your company. Technology makes it easier and faster to communicate and execute efforts, which can enhance your employees’ work experience.

5. Offer Value Through Benefits and Compensation

When employees don’t feel they are getting the pay they deserve, they start looking elsewhere. You can prevent this by keeping up with industry compensation trends and offering pay that is competitive. If offering more money is not feasible, make sure you offer good benefits. Provide employees with benefits that add value to their lives, such as a tuition reimbursement program or an affordable, comprehensive health insurance option. Offering a competitive wage and bolstering it with valuable benefits is vital to keeping your employees happy and union-proofing your company.

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When communication goes sour between your business and staff, unions can come knocking on your company doors. You don’t have to let that happen if you stay one step ahead by keeping employees happy. Use communication, collaboration, education, compensation and technology to demonstrate fair treatment and build trust with your employees for a union-proof environment.

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Staying Competitive: 5 Ways to Be Productive and Union-Free

Be Productive And Union-FreeIt’s a cutthroat marketplace, both at home and abroad. The economic recovery is lukewarm at best, and the last thing any company wants to face is a unionization drive. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your workforce against union activity and at the same time maintain your competitive edge. Here are several strategies to preserve your union-free workforce:

1. Offer Competitive Compensation

This is perhaps the simplest way to dissuade your employees from trying to unionize. You don’t need to pay more than the city or state average, but match your competitors; that makes it more difficult for unions to attract potential converts and gives your public communications team a boost (“We pay wages comparable to the industry”). Think of it like insurance — boosting wages may cost a little now, but it will cost a lot less in the long term, as compared to managing a unionized workforce.

2. Provide Growth and Training Opportunities

Not all compensation is monetary. What employees want, particularly millennials, is a structured path for advancement. There are a number of ways to do this: Create programs to identify top talent and provide those employees with leadership training, pair younger employees with older mentors or career coaches, or offer reimbursement for courses that could provide tangible on-the-job benefits. Again, it’s cheaper than the alternative and it helps build employee loyalty because employees see pathways to move up in your organization.

3. Engage Employees & Leaders for Feedback

According to Dr. Fiona Jamison, Partner and SVP of Research and chief analyst at Spring International, you can learn a lot – if you just ask. This isn’t your generic employment survey that no one will take seriously — this requires real engagement. Collect data from managers, supervisors and employees to measure satisfaction and areas of vulnerability. Giving employees a voice in this way can improve productivity and help you remain union-free. If employees aren’t happy, find out what management can do to improve morale. What changes in the workplace would make a difference? What’s a reasonable timeline for making those changes? Employee feedback can help you diagnose issues of which you may not even be aware, and professionals can analyze that data and offer solutions that actually make a lasting difference.

4. Communicate Early and Often

This is like engagement on a much bigger scale. According to some studies, one of the greatest factors that negatively impacts employee morale is a lack of communication with management. Employees want to know who’s steering the ship and what the plan is for the future of their company. This doesn’t mean that the CEO needs to send out a newsletter every week, but senior executives need to clearly communicate their vision and what role employees will play. Employees who feel engaged and in the loop are far more likely to feel a sense of ownership in their company than those who feel as though they are just cogs in the machine.

NLRA Training Speak Up

5. Monitor Union Activity at Competitors

If unions are actively recruiting employees of your competitors, there’s a good chance your business is on the list, too. This doesn’t just apply to your direct competitors — it could be any similar business in your community or your industry. Monitor the filing of petitions and if they’re relevant to you, investigate them in the news. Look at the tactics used and try to find patterns: Are unions targeting a particular type of employee? Are they starting their campaign with focused messaging or are they trying to convert employees to spread their message? If you can crack the union “playbook” for your industry or community, you can prepare your defense ahead of time.

These are just a few of the strategies you can employ, and they tend to revolve around the same principles: competitive compensation, employee engagement and being attuned to union developments in the marketplace. These strategies take time and money to implement, but those investments are far less than leading a unionized workplace.

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3 Ways to Drive Employee and Family Traffic to Your UnionFree.com Website

promote your unionfree.com websiteCreating powerful communication resources that help your company remain union free can provide you with peace of mind when a union organizing drive begins. According to research, one of the main reasons behind union formation is the gap between the management and employees’ perceptions of concepts such as equality and respect. Bridging this gap during a union organizing drive is crucial, and a UnionFree.com site can help you meet that need. However, the site will be of little use unless you can drive employee and their families to it. This sounds simple on the surface, but can actually require turning your HR team into effective internal marketers!

So, here are 3 outstanding ways to inspire your employees to visit – and return to – your UnionFree.com website, allowing you the opportunity to bridge the understanding gap and truly connect with those that make your product or service great:

Incorporate a Blog Into your UnionFree.com Website

Without regular maintenance and fresh content, campaign-focused websites become dull and static, leaving employees flat and unlikely to return.  To offset this, incorporate a blog into your UnionFree.com site. Use the blog to build trust and a sense of community, which is essentially a sense of ‘we’ rather than ‘us vs. them.’ To keep the employee and family traffic coming, provide not just regularly posted content, but also elements that are useful, appealing, vibrant, informative and thought-provoking. Blogs are a valuable platform to reach out and connect. The (moderated) comments section of your blog is also a useful barometer of your employees’ opinions and sentiment, so be sure they have a way to comment anonymously.

Invite Employees and Family to Contribute Articles

Employees working for the same company tend to socialize outside the office, often with each other’s families as well. It therefore follows that if one or more of them were to contribute to your blog, you can invariably get some free word-of-mouth publicizing, as well as traffic to their blog post and to your employee-focused posts. Get your employee relations team to take an active and friendly interest in the comments that are sure to follow posts, and moderate and participate where necessary. If your management team is truly listening, a sense of community can be established, and the need for third party intervention all but disappears.

If employees seem reluctant to participate in this way, competitions are a surefire way to drive traffic to the website. Post details of your competition on the site. Then, get interactive, both online and off!  Your competition can take the form of an online quiz, based on the benefits your company offers or a “scavenger hunt” on the union-avoidance information found on your site and blog posts.  Or, choose a topic for debate and challenge employees to express their side of the issue. You could even incentivize with a reward to get them to get going on ideation for a specific, company-related problem. Post the winning entries on your UnionFree.com site blog.

Capitalize on the Popularity of Social Media

One of the great things about your site is that you don’t need or want to market the site to the general public, so keywords, search engine optimization and dozens of other techniques sites use to get found are irrelevant! You can focus your energy on your target audience, who already knows where and how to find you. If they don’t, educate them!

What social media platforms do your employees frequent? Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any of the dozens of other opportunities, include a plan to share your site with employees on social media, even if you choose to password protect your UnionFree.com site. Provide a link and let them know who to go to for the access credentials. In a general sense, promote the content that they’ll find there, and share all content through your business’s social media profiles. Be sure you invite employees to follow the company on social media, including sites like LinkedIn. Link the company’s social media pages with each other.

Organized Labor's Secret Online Weapons
As the discussion on campaign-ready websites continues, remember that creating a “dark” UnionFree.com site (95% ready to launch) can be a huge relief when an organizing drive does begin!

Finally, note that if you choose to author a blog during an organizing drive, you’ll want to make sure that everything you say in your articles is in compliance with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to protect your company from Unfair Labor Practice charges.

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