Quick Tips to Enhance Your Labor Communications in 2024

For labor communications, 2023 was a whirlwind of a year that provided us with key learnings and labor trends. We’re breaking down five of these key learnings – and five steps you can take in response – to enhance your labor communications in 2024. Let’s begin! 

2023 Key Learnings and Trends in Labor Communications 

  1. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented sweeping changes – In 2023, the NLRB overturned decades of precedent with decisions that will likely have wide-ranging impacts. For example, a new framework for union representation proceedings could make it easier for your employees to unionize without an election taking place. And, when an election does occur, a new, expedited election timeline reduces the time you have to educate employees. Not only that, but the Board has also shifted the responsibility for having a secret ballot election to the employer.
  2. Employees demanded a renewed focus on internal engagement – Traditionally, organizations have prioritized external communications, but in a post-pandemic world where employee expectations are shifting, employee engagement has become just as important – if not more – for creating a positive, productive workplace and ensuring long-term organizational success. Importantly, effective employee engagement is achieved by understanding your audiences and their personas, like how each generation in the workforce has a differing attitude towards their employers and responds best to different communication styles, for example.
  3. Digital insights drove labor strategy – The importance of digital communications has been steadily growing over the last few years, but 2023 proved just how important it is to have an effective digital strategy that is able to adapt and react to ongoing events and trends. Think back to “Hot Union Summer,” where unions across the country used social media platforms to share their messages and create a lasting echo chamber.
  4. Successful communications prioritized honesty and authenticity – In 2023, we saw several brands come close to being canceled – at least temporarily – after advocating for policies as PR moves meant to capitalize on current events, rather than being driven by a commitment to an issue or cause connected to company culture or purpose. Meaning? Honesty and authenticity are key factors in successful communications, especially for executives and leaders.
  5. The latest buzzword was Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI is here, and it won’t be going away. Organizations of all sizes have begun implementing AI tools like ChatGPT into their workflow to help accomplish their goals and propel their businesses forward. Employers are working to create new tools that leverage AI, while some employees feel threatened by the prospect of further automation.

Steps to Boost Your 2024 Labor Communications Strategy  

  1. Stay informed on NLRB decisions and adjust your efforts accordingly – It’s more important than ever for organizations to be proactive in their efforts to engage, inform, and listen to employees to avoid union targeting while staying within NLRB rules. Take the time to develop a customized labor communications solution that incorporates employee opinion surveys, a readiness response team, and avenues to educate management and keep their labor skills sharp.
  2. Implement an inside-out communications strategy. True transformation starts with the alignment of internal and external communication. If you’re looking for a place to start, first develop a strategic communications plan. Then, embed your vision, align the brand internally, invest in training resources, and measure the success and failure of your efforts – understanding that any good communications plan leaves room to evolve in real time.   
  3. Leverage social media for employee engagement – An effective social and digital media strategy takes the pulse of both external and internal audiences to ensure communications strategies are aligned. Stay up to date on what your employees are saying on social media and use these platforms to prepare and respond to issues in the workplace. This should include Digital Media Intelligence reporting, which gathers insights from digital conversations to compile insights and gauge online sentiment.  
  4. Leverage executive communications – Improve or enhance your organization’s image by leveraging the power of executive communications, the best of which always focuses on fairness, transparency, and respect in all messages, including those on social media.
  5. Don’t shy away from AI, embrace it – Take the time to carefully consider how to leverage AI tools in your workflow to supplement the human work of communications teams. A great way to do this is to use AI for internal communications to help generate ideas from scratch, brainstorm copy for a new communication, or start an outline for a project.

Keep these tips and trends top of mind as you head into 2024 to help boost your organization’s labor communications strategy. And if you’re looking for extra support, our teams at IRI Consultants include experienced labor and communications professionals who are at the ready to help you achieve your goals. 

At IRI, we help organizations navigate workplace challenges, improve employee engagement and productivity, manage labor relations, and implement effective communication strategies to achieve their business and advocacy goals. We believe every business is different, and each requires its own holistic and customized approach to communications. Whether you need an internal communications assessment, guidance in developing your internal communications strategy or social media strategy, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications consultants who can quickly provide a specialized solution. Contact us today to discuss the next steps, or give us a call at (313) 965-0350.

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