No matter what industry you work in or how large your business is, there is always market competition. However, your competitors aren’t just the companies selling products and services in your space. Your employees are a hot commodity, and there is formidable competition from other organizations in search of quality talent. You can also be sure that there are one or more unions eyeing your workforce in hopes of becoming their representative.
Smart businesses that want to remain union-free know that the best defense against unions is a good offense. In this situation, a good offense means creating a collaborative, engaged company culture and a strong employer brand.
The Importance of Employer Branding
When employees are confident they can resolve their work-related concerns by communicating directly with management, they generally reject the notion that unionization is necessary. More important, they are not receptive to advances from union organizers. If this collaborative relationship is already ingrained in your corporate culture, focusing on your employer brand can make you virtually union-proof.
You are already familiar with the concept of your company brand. In essence, it is the collective impact or lasting impression from all that is seen, heard, or experienced by customers who come into contact with you. Your employer brand is the perception current and prospective employees have about working for your business. For some organizations, employer branding is unintentional. These companies fail to actively manage their employer brand, letting the media, online forums, and social networks take charge. Inevitably, the results cast these businesses in a negative light, making them prime targets for unions.
The alternative is to develop and implement a comprehensive employer branding strategy, which signals to current and prospective employees – along with potential union organizers – that your company culture is collaborative and inclusive.
Employer Branding Basics
A comprehensive employer strategy starts with getting in front of your workforce. Effective methods include maximizing social media use – particularly popular forums like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Showcase the aspects of your culture that make you most proud using a combination of text, video, and images. These are a few ideas to get you started:
- Enlist brand ambassadors and encourage them to contribute their workplace experiences to your sites.
- Once your brand ambassadors get the conversation started, encourage other employees to join in. For example, create a hashtag campaign in which workers post their favorite aspect of working with your management team. #adayinthelife #workwins #mymanager
- Solicit feedback from your staff members, then act on it – and be sure to highlight wins for your current and prospective employees.
- Use video, websites and eLearning to illustrate your content. Show your audience what means to be part of your company’s culture.
- Create consistency across channels, so that your strong culture shines through whether you make a connection through the internet, email communications, or social media.
- Adhere to these three critical core values: Authenticity, Transparency, and Open Communication. Creating a positive long-term relationship with your workforce requires building and maintaining trust.
Finally, as you consider your employer branding strategy, keep common union talking points in mind. Organizers entice targeted employees by telling them the union will “give them a voice.” They offer employees a sense of belonging and of being included in a group. In a company where employees already have a voice and already feel included, unions cannot gain a foothold, illustrating the true meaning of creating a UnionProof culture.