Strategically Speaking: How to Build a Union Proof Culture From Day One

When a new employee joins a company, either they become a part of a strong corporate culture, a weak one or something in between. Be warned that a weak culture leaves employees vulnerable to union organizing. That’s why you must ensure that all employees are aware of your company’s union-free operating philosophy and why your company prefers to maintain a direct relationship with its employees. Simply put, implementing a step-by-step strategy from day one will help you build a union-proof culture.

Pre-Hire Phase

An organization’s culture defines the shared values, beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that influence the ways employees and management interact and perform on a day-to-day basis. According to the job site Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers want information on what makes a company a good place to work even more so than pay and perks. Little did you know, there’s an app for that.

You can make it easy by communicating your company’s brand and union-free philosophy even before an employee is hired. During the pre-hire phase, there are a number of ways in which you can share the belief that unions aren’t needed. Simply deliver a consistent message about your company’s culture across all channels of communication including:

  • Recruitment ads
  • Job postings
  • Corporate website
  • Pre-hire videos
  • Application materials
  • Interviews

RELATED: 5 Advantages of New-Hire Orientation Videos

Employee Orientation and Onboarding Phase

While many people believe the corporate culture occurs organically myth, a company actually has the power to establish the culture the way they want and so that they’re aligned with their company goals. When a corporate culture is not communicated to an employee, that can cause problems down the road. With onboarding new hires, you have options on what to communicate to them about unions.

Just as during the pre-hire phase, it’s important to maintain a consistent message as well as be transparent. This can be accomplished through something as simple as the employee handbook to a custom-produced employee training videos. It’s vital to inform new hires about how union organizers work, the tactics they use, what an authorization card is and what union card-signing means. On the same hand, you must highlight the fact that the company is not anti-union but pro-employee.

Post-Hire Phase

Once an employee has settled into their position and experienced the corporate culture firsthand, you’ll have many opportunities to keep your employees informed and engaged. They should be left to feel that their input is just as valuable as their output. When employees don’t feel like they have a voice, that leaves a company open to unionization. That’s why it’s crucial to continue to spread the company’s message in multiple short messages, meetings, toolkits or other meaningful ways.

While an essential department, building a corporate culture isn’t limited to human resources. The key is to operationally integrate a company’s core values in everything it does. Some of the things you might want to address with your employees include:

Ideally, you want to attract and hire candidates that match your company’s corporate culture and philosophy, particularly as it relates to union-avoidance. No matter what, union-proofing your company culture shouldn’t be left up to its own devices. HR and labor professionals can use proven employee communication strategies to build their company’s brand and culture. Whether recruiting new employees, taking them through the onboarding phase or dealing with those who have already been on the job for some time, the power lies in your company from day one.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, 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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