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“The employee experience.” It’s a big concept to get your arms around, but basically, it’s the totality of what an employee experiences with your company, from the recruitment process through hiring, onboarding, engagement, job performance, developing skills and even exiting. Companies that intentionally work toward becoming an employer of choice understand that the employee’s experience is highly influenced by the manager experience. The employee’s journey is influenced by your company’s culture, relationships with co-workers, the job itself, the skills of leaders, even technology. That employee journey is what people write about when they take to sites like glassdoor and blind.
The most powerful influence on the employee experience is quality of leadership. Gallup and other consulting and research groups have conducted numerous workplace studies over the years. These studies find correlation after correlation between excellence in leadership and employee satisfaction on the job. The conclusion is clear; if you want to avoid unionization, make sure employees are happy and fulfilled – starting with your manager experience.
With the growing number of millennials in today’s workforce, the ability of leaders to engage employees has never been more important. Millennials are not willing to sit in a job doing the same thing day-in and day-out. They expect opportunities to utilize their capabilities, plan their careers and do work that has meaning. They want to feel connected to your company’s mission and feel a kinship with your company’s values.
Younger employees want to work for engaging and approachable leaders who give them a voice. Frankly, it’s not easy being a leader. The employee journey at every stage depends on good leaders to succeed. If you’re like many employers today, your organization invests resources in training employees to improve job performance.
The question is: Are you also providing ongoing training to your managers, or are you assuming they know how to lead by virtue of their position?
Your managers and supervisors may have been placed in leadership positions because they excelled in their job. Think about this for a minute. Many managers are promoted or hired into leadership positions because they were good at a job – that had nothing to do with leading, inspiring or motivating others. Your managers may have proven they’re high performers and can achieve personal goals, but unless they’ve been provided with training, they don’t have what it takes to be leaders of others.
The gap is obvious. Succeeding as a manager or supervisor requires a whole new skill set. It’s not surprising that research has shown that as many as 60% of managers fail within a couple of years. Your managers may simply not be equipped to lead other people. When this happens, they may try to do their jobs by using the same skills that got them promoted. But sitting at a desk working on a project with a deadline or being a good team member isn’t what supports the employee experience.
Additionally, they may be lacking in “soft” leadership skills. That could mean they don’t know how to engage others, delegate work, or motivate staff. They also need the ability to provide quality feedback, be an active listener and/or manage conflict. If your leaders don’t know how to strengthen the organization’s culture through coaching, they can’t help team members become contributors to organizational success.
Gallup refers to the “manager experience;” from hiring to exiting, a manager has their own journey. Putting someone into a leadership position without ongoing actionable leadership training is a frustrating experience for the person. It shouldn’t be surprising that a poor manager experience will lead to poor employee experiences,. This drives high turnover, lower productivity, low employee morale, higher rates of conflict and even unionization.
One of the top reasons people leave their jobs is because of their manager. It’s the manager experience influencing the employee experience.
You can promote or hire an excellent worker into a leadership position, but they can still fail if those critical leadership soft skills are under-developed. A manager’s success doesn’t depend on the ability to give orders. Leadership is about helping others succeed.
Helping others succeed requires soft skills like the ability to give quality feedback and listen with purpose. Managers must develop collaborative teams, and make people feel empowered. Your managers must have soft skills that include empathy and problem solving by working with others. The most effective leaders also have a high degree of emotional intelligence. That means they understand how personal emotions can affect other people.
Managers need training just as much as their staff. Make a plan to train leaders continually – don’t look at it as a one-and-done or random event. New and current leaders need to fully understand their role. Managers must regularly continue to develop the people skills they need to lead others.
By offering consistent online leadership training, you’re likely to see a significant improvement in productivity, employee engagement and job satisfaction. An intentional manager experience also provides the skills that contribute to keeping an organization union free. These skills include good communication, employee engagement and problem solving skills. Bottom line: manager and supervisor engagement is crucial to avoiding third-party involvement in your business.
Meeting the training and development needs of managers is as easy as developing a monthly plan. Lead your leaders to learn new soft skills each and every month. Online interactive leadership training can be highly effective in maintaining consistency and high engagement levels. Everyone likes interactivity, online access, and 24/7 availability of training.
Making it easy for your managers to develop their leadership skills is key. Don’t overwhelm them with meetings that take them out of their daily objectives. Your managers are busy people, frequently working hard to not only meet company goals but take care of their team members as well. A Better Leader’s leadership lessons help your managers build vital soft skills.
Since the lessons are online, you can provide consistent training across the organization which builds your desired culture over time. To ensure managers are completing the courses, make sure you’ve got access to compliance reporting. Keep the training moving forward and recognize those who embrace their new skills.
Another aspect of training your leaders is developing specific skills that prevent unions from forming. These skills complement the leadership soft skills training, and they need regular reinforcement. Information specific to the correct and legal way to keep unions out is vital. Skills include maintaining up-to-date knowledge of the TIPS and FOE rules, and responding to signs of union organizing. Additionally, answering employee questions about unions is a skill that must be trained and developed. The last thing your organization needs is a union claiming a manager committed an unfair labor practice (ULP).
These skills and this knowledge are what make up the true Manager Experience.
Labor law is in a constant state of flux, and that can be overwhelming. Train managers well on JUST what they need to know. Making information readily available and current is key to this training. Creating a custom LaborLook.com site keeps managers informed on labor topics, organizational policies and current issues in one place. Your custom site is accessible 24/7, making the education of busy managers convenient for them and for you.
Expecting people to retain all the information concerning labor law and unionization is unrealistic, and LaborLook is the ideal solution. Experts recommend leadership training for union avoidance. When your managers know how to engage employees in an authentic manner, you’re on the way to building and maintain your UnionProof culture.
Achieving Union Proof Certification is evidence a leader has a deep understanding of labor relations and employee engagement. Customized training is deliverable as video, web and eLearning, so the right format is available for your organization.
Asking managers to help prevent unionization without training is a path to a poor employee journey. Ultimately, the employee experience is the top determinant of whether your organization can prevent unionization. Investing in the tools to train leaders is the most effective way to establish your company as an employer of choice.