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Prevent Union Organizing
Employees join unions because they believe there is a lack of respectful communication between them and their employer. Sometimes there is a lack of community in the workplace, making it easy for an outside union to come in and represent employees. Unions are using social media to remain union-free and to build a community with their members and prospective targets; you need to as well.
This is where social media can be a powerful tool to help you remain union-free. The purpose of social media is to build communities and facilitate camaraderie. When done correctly, social media can enhance your employee communications, help you retain top talent, reduce costs, promote innovation and facilitate the sharing of institutional knowledge, all while improving internal communications and keeping your employees happy–two necessary elements for union avoidance.
Here are tips on using the two most powerful social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
A private Facebook group is a great way to use social media to improve employee communications. By making groups private, only individuals you invite to the group can see what you and your employees post. A private group is a great way to:
One concern is that some employees might be hesitant to share their Facebook profile with you because they do not want to blur the line between their personal and professional lives. You need to make it clear that the purpose of this program is not to gain access to the personal lives of employees, but to facilitate communication. Consider adopting a policy where information found on an employee’s Facebook wall will not be used in HR decisions.
Did you know that Twitter’s origins were actually rooted in internal corporate communication? Designed for fast, short updates, Twitter grew to be so much more than that. Now, Twitter is a public forum, and you cannot create a private area, but Twitter can still be an effective tool for employee communication, as it allows for private direct messaging between individuals. This function can allow you to quickly address internal issues privately. For this to work, you need to respond to all messages and issues, even if it is something you do not want to hear. If you only respond selectively, using Twitter in this way will be entirely ineffective and might actually hinder your mission to remain union-free.
Don’t fear using social media to create a sense of community among your employees and to remain union-free. Remember that some will participate, and some will not, and you must have other means of reaching those who don’t care for it. This can include video, websites, even dedicated eLearning programs, all of which can convey your union-free philosophy and the reasons for it.
Finally, remember the “social” part of social media – this is a two-way conversation between the company and it’s employees. In fact, it can turn into much more than that when employees start conversing with each other. Knowing that, you must maintain your social media presence with regular posts, respond in a timely way to comments and questions, and make sure those in charge of administration of these outlets are well versed in the policies and procedures you have in place. Make those policies known to all participants, and never let employees use abusive language or attack one another on any social platform.
Want to improve your social media presence for employee communications to remain union-free? The Union Proof team can help guide you on the best ways to get started! Want to see how we do it? Sign up for our Insider Network by clicking here. When you join, you can also take part in our private Facebook group and get cutting-edge tips on how to create your union proof workforce.
Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and 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.