The Labor Relations Readiness System

Today, many organizations are concerned about the potential for increased union organizing activity, and with good reason. The aftermath of the pandemic, changing legislation such as the PRO Act, shifting public sentiment toward unions, and employee concerns about balancing work and life have created a perfect storm of potential union organizing.

Identify Employee Relations Vulnerabilities To Prevent Future Issues

The Labor Relations Readiness System™ (LRRS) was developed by IRI Consultants to help companies proactively identify and address potential employee relations vulnerabilities – instead of simply reacting to a petition for election.

The Labor Relations Readiness System has prepared companies to avert union organizing campaigns in settings ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to entertainment. With the results of the LRRS, we’ve helped some of the nation’s largest corporations avoid new unions while containing their existing bargaining units. 

Identify Employee Relations Vulnerabilities to Prevent Union Organizing

How To Identify And Address Employee Relations Vulnerabilities 

6 Steps For Labor Relations Readiness System

The IRI Labor Relations Readiness System is made up of six phases:

1. Plan

The components outlined within the Plan Phase are designed to help your organization assess vulnerabilities and get organized before a threat presents itself. In the Plan Phase of the Labor Relations Readiness system, we help you move away from being an organization that simply reacts, and guide you towards an approach where your company can identify your labor relations goals, determine the strategy needed to reach those goals, and develop the actions needed to carry out that strategy.

2. Educate

In this phase of the analysis, the Labor Relations Readiness System addresses your need for an organizational firewall that remains effective regardless of changing labor legislation or shifting policies of the National Labor Relations Board. This means systematic, ongoing education and training that begins at the top of the organization and extends throughout.

During the Educate Phase, it will become clear that if your organization does only one thing, training leaders should be that focus. Educating leaders means they are confident and comfortable, aligned and prepared. Labor relations education also extends to upper management and throughout the organization, including all team members

3. Assess Vulnerabilities

Next, our LRRS will help your organization identify weaknesses, find gaps in leadership and make proactive improvements. Based on an in-depth study of your organization, we dig deep to assess potential vulnerabilities to union organizing. 

Your union vulnerability assessment can guide you on which areas need your attention, and how quickly. Often, securing your position as an employer of choice has less to do with union organizing and more to do with better communication, or improvements to be made in the overall culture.

Labor Relations Strategy and Employee Communication

4. Communicate

In the Communicate Phase of the Labor Relations Readiness System, you’ll learn how to inform and educate employees through frequent communications. You’ll gain the knowledge needed to reach employees across the organization, any time, any where. Our strategies will help you facilitate open dialogue, face-to-face communications, answer questions and provide reliable materials for employees. We’ll talk about what to communicate, and when, as well as the impact your communications should have on your vulnerability to union organizing.

5. Develop Leaders

Next, your LRRS will help you strengthen ranks and protect against the most common reasons team members might turn to a union, including feeling that their contributions are not appreciated. Developing better leaders who support your positive employee relations strategy can overcome feelings of disrespect, and perceptions of unfairness. Fully developed leaders can easily banish perceived favoritism before it begins, and identify and address any inconsistent application of rules, processes, or discipline.

Excellent supervisors genuinely engage team members and understand how to reinforce their value within the organization. Leader development can include skills on a wide variety of vital topics, your LRRS will identify exactly where your vulnerabilities lie so you can prioritize your weakest areas first. 

6. Engage Employees

Ready to engage employees? The final phase of your Labor Relations Readiness System guides your organization in helping build a wall around your organization that comes not because you state your union-free operating philosophy, but because team members understand the value of their direct connection to management. We’ll help you identify ways to keep employees engaged, and find creative ways to involve them in the future of the company. 

Develop A Proactive Employee Relations Strategy 

Start preparing now; be proactive with IRI’s Labor Relations Readiness System. 

In the past, companies would wait until they recognized active union organizing to address employee concerns. Don’t wait until you have activity, at that point, it’s a costly and time-consuming challenge. You’ll feel like you’re playing catch-up, always on the back foot, answering union promises, defending against union accusations.

Instead, begin working on your Positive Employee Relations Strategy now. Your Labor Relations Readiness training provides a strong foundation in labor law, employee rights and teaches managers how to discuss union organizing in real-world settings.

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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