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Why the New Election Rules and Other Recent NLRB Rulings Are Quickly Causing Employers Problems

November 2, 2015

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) recent changes in election rules have significantly impacted employer’s options when it comes to keeping unions out of companies. Organizations are facing new and more difficult union organizing issues now more than ever before. One of the most significant issues facing management is the streamlined process which impacts employers’ reaction time to a union application. Employers have considerably less time to develop a counter union campaign and be able to explain a company’s position on unionization.

This change creates real difficulties for companies with distributed workforces in smaller locations. As a result, employers have less of a chance to influence employees and more of an opportunity for unions to get their argument across for representation. The risk of employees unionizing has now increased significantly and moving forward, organizations will have to learn how to deal with these changes. It is time we get proactive rather than being reactive. We all know unions form because of poor management practices.  Below are some strategies that can help employers avoid an effort to unionize in the first place.

Take Proactive Measures

Employers need to be proactive and not wait to receive a union petition.  Under the new rules, there is virtually no time to react. Organizations must worry less about employees unionizing and more about how to ensure your management and culture are strong. Now is the time to build, communicate and engage with your employees.

Strengthen Your Management Team with Good Communicators

Management needs to do a much better job of communicating with employees, understanding what their concerns are and listening carefully when employees express unhappiness in the workplace. Employees must feel that management is hearing them and willing to take action on employee concerns. If not, employees will find a union that will. In companies with some unions, even if an employee does not belong to a union yet, they know it’s an option. Managers must be trained on how to communicate with both unionized and non-unionized employees.

Build Your Culture Now

It’s important to gauge the culture of your employees and let them know that they are being heard. Tools such as employee engagement surveys can help measure the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of your employees. In addition, these are some ways that you can help your employees believe in the organization and not want to turn to a union.

  • Are you recognizing your employees if they did a job well? Are you celebrating their successes and making it known to the other employees?
  • Are you challenging, motivating and inspiring your employees?
  • Are you developing your employees so that they understand the organization is invested in their career?
  • Are you actually getting to know an employee on a personal basis to show you care?
  • Are you creating a fun, but professional atmosphere where people enjoy coming to work?
  • Are you being inclusive of everyone in your workplace?
  • Are you giving your employees the tools and systems to be successful at their jobs?
  • Are you motivating them daily or weekly and giving them a collective call to action?

All of these areas can improve and build your culture. Most of them cost nothing, but the price of employees turning to a union is way higher. See for yourself.

Unionized employees are:

  • 18% less likely to recommend their company’s products and services to friends and family
  • 16% less likely to recommend their company as a great place to work
  • 16% less likely to be engaged
  • 6% less productive

Now is the time to engage your employees!