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Positive Employee Relations
In the business environment, it's essential to be proactive with an effective communication strategy. If you don't tell your organization's story as a strategy for corporate reputation management, someone else will. In the labor relations area, that means it will likely be a union, activist, press member, or disengaged employee. Storytelling in labor relations serves multiple purposes, including protecting a brand reputation, enhancing talent acquisition, and creating an environment where unions are simply unnecessary in your workplace.
Donald Miller at Storybrand is a speaker, marketing expert, creator of the Storybrand Framework, and author of the book Building a "StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message and Grow Your Business." He writes, "So what's your message? Can you say it easily? Is it simple, relevant, and repeatable? Can your entire team repeat your company's message in such a way that it is compelling? Have new hires been given talking points they can use to describe what the company offers and why every potential customer should buy it?"
What does this have to do with labor relations? Miller writes, "All engagement rises and falls on the employee proposition" and "Where there's no story, there's no engagement." An organization without a consistent story has more difficulty recruiting and retaining talent, developing employee engagement, and controlling the internal and external narrative about the organization. Corporate reputation management is crucial to successful talent management in every way.
Businesses who achieve high employee engagement are less likely to be unionized. But employees are bombarded by external forces today that can negatively affect corporate reputation and take control of the workforce and public narrative about your corporate brand. The external forces impacting all industries include:
The administration in Washington, D.C. is poised to make significant changes to NLRB precedents. The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing & Empowerment proposes significant changes in labor relations areas to accomplish things like faster completion of the first collective bargaining contract, conversion of more independent contractors to worker status, increased disclosure of persuaders, and increased federal compliance monitoring.
The National Labor Relations Board membership now has a Democratic majority. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has already issued numerous policy memos that will have or are having a significant impact on employers, including the following proposed changes:
There has been a post-pandemic surge in organizing.
Representation Elections in Health Care
There are so many other voices talking about your brand. They include union organizers, social activists, former disgruntled employees, the media, community members, and regulatory bodies like OSHA and the Department of Labor. In the book "StoryBrand" mentioned earlier, author Donald Miller talks about the "curse of the Narrative Void," which he defines as vacant space that occurs inside an organization where there's no story to keep everyone aligned. Miller writes, "Just because you know the story doesn't mean your team does." Like a shared mission, shared purpose, and shared goals, your organization needs a shared story based on authentic employer branding. Storytelling in labor relations is focused on corporate reputation management that also supports positive employee relations by creating a shared story that attracts talent and unites employees in support of the brand.
Labor unions are telling their story and creating stories about employers that are often untrue. Storytelling in labor relations is a strategy for taking charge of the narrative about your organization and leveraging the story to develop positive employee relations. It is a corporate reputation management strategy that can:
You can create storytelling online. Begin by creating a people-focused website that tells the story of your organization and its people. There is a wonderful array of options to engage employees and the general public. They include employee interviews, articles, videos, podcasts, and links to existing content. One of the most powerful options is sharing compelling employee stories because employees willing to publicly support their employer are likely to be believed and are inspirational. You can also repurpose content and drive traffic to your employer brand website via social media.
We're here to help you solve your unique needs. Our team of experts can help you implement the strategy that works best for your organization.
To begin storytelling for labor relations, you need to identify the story you want to tell. That seems obvious, but it's important to create a premise that is powerful and enduring. Creating an environment with a strong culture, one where employees don't feel they have to turn to a union to have their voices heard, is not easy. Here are six actions you can consider today.
Nick Munday has more than 15 years of human resources and labor relations experience, specializing in positive employee relations and communications strategies that help companies connect with team members.