Why Experts Now Recommend Leadership Training for Union Avoidance

Labor experts and advisors are now strongly encouraging training leadership for union avoidance. The Society for Human Resources Management published an article on leadership and union avoidance shortly after the NLRB’s “ambush” election rule was issued back in 2015. The key to avoiding union organization, said author Allen Smith, manager of workplace law content for SHRM, is trust in management. Good leadership for union avoidance is just smart strategy.

According to Smith, just two major factors decide employees’ tendency to unionize. First, do employees trust the employer – or the union – more? Secondly, does management communicate well with employees? Supervisors, he writes, determine whether you become an employer of choice… or a target for union organization.

Leadership training is crucial to remaining union-free. The best way to avoid unions is to create a culture where your leaders meet employee needs, giving them no reason to seek assistance from a third party.

Supervisors with sincere open-door policies, good communication skills and a deep understanding of how to build and maintain employee engagement are vital to building a union-proof culture. Knowing how to motivate, connect with, support and improve people are primary tenets of leadership and union avoidance. Once leaders are effective, employees are comfortable addressing any issue at any time with them.

Better Communications + Better Leadership Creates A UnionProof Workforce

Regular, high-quality communication means that your employees feel comfortable approaching managers and supervisors with employment issues or other concerns. Employees want better leaders who treat issues with respect and honesty. A better leader will also make a sincere attempt to resolve problems and conflicts. This type of leadership is what creates your union-proof culture.

Better leadership means focusing time and money on these skills. This focus is key to creating a UnionProof culture. Research has found that up to 80 percent of workday management time is spent communicating. Ensuring that your leaders use that communication time effectively is critical to making your business union proof. Does your company need to work on the realization of common goals? Start with developing your excellent communication strategy, consisting of regular face-to-face interaction, videos, social media, emails and training workshops.

Leadership For Your Employees

Good communicators walk the talk. Unions become unnecessary if you make a point to address employee concerns in a fair and reasonable manner, are attuned to workforce needs and work with leaders to improve engagement. Rather than working against unionization, work for your employees. The greatest organizational weaknesses that unions target are employee fears – about job security, safety, training needs, working conditions, compensation and fairness in decision making. Unions frequently work to destroy employee morale. For example, unions may claim that approaching management is a waste of time because the employer doesn’t care about the welfare of the workforce; only about profits. And that’s a hard argument to overcome unless your leaders are successfully engaging the workforce and inspiring trust.

Better leaders are not born; they are developed. Your leaders can learn to delegate, manage time, and coach employees. And they can give employees honest feedback while becoming change agents who minimize resistance, exhibit ethical behavior and are selfless. Your leaders don’t need to be perfect, just sincere and always striving to improve. That’s where leadership training enters the picture. This is why union avoidance experts -from persuaders to consultants to labor and employment attorneys – are now recommending leadership training as a primary way to avoid unionization.

Leadership Training for Consistent Communication

Online video courses and eLearning can help your managers become better leaders and help your company stay union-free. The availability of online training courses means every leader can hone the skills that are essential to union avoidance. These resources can bring consistency to your organizational leadership training.

Consistent leadership training is critical to ensuring your managers are good communicators. They need to be successfully supporting your company’s union free philosophy. Gallup research found that consistent communication between managers and employees is directly related to higher employee engagement. And that is critical for union avoidance. Inconsistent communication and decision making presents the risk of inconsistent employee treatment – which consequently can lead to unionization.

Online courses like A Better Leader offer flexibility in scheduling and enable companies to create consistency in leadership training practices. Leadership for union avoidance is vital to building your UnionProof culture.

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and the founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.

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