Internal communications challenges affect nearly every company – big and small, geographically dispersed and even single locations. These challenges are undeniably amplified in larger companies, particularly those with multiple levels of management and a unionized workforce.
Maintaining healthy union relations is critical to preserving morale, achieving optimal productivity, and ultimately increasing profits. Union relations are in fact relational, so communication is key.
By creating a culture of transparency, Red e App can be a powerful tool in building better relationships between management and front line, unionized workers.
In our recent interview with internal communications leader Steve Kaus, he noted: “We have moved toward transparency in corporate leadership in the last decade. But, especially in the boomer generation, there is still a pretty big amount of hesitation to be too transparent, and what boomers and millennials feel is an appropriate amount of transparency are two very different things.”
The younger generation is less apt to be engaged and enthusiastic about the work they are doing if they don’t have a better understanding of why they are doing it, how it fits into the overall organizational picture, and what others in the organization are also contributing. The expectation of transparency within an organization makes today’s company very different than the one of even a decade ago.
So, how can Red e App help promote transparency and improve union relations in your company?
1. Squash the rumors
Are your employees hearing false information from unreliable sources? In our Internal Communications Report, Gini Dietrich confirmed that much of the consternation that takes place in an organization centers on executives not releasing enough information to employees. “Unfortunately, a majority of executives think the best way to run a business is to not tell their teams anything, which leads to speculation and rumors.”
With a direct, open channel of communication, you can instantly squash rumors by communicating the facts directly to your front line workers. Leadership communications sent through Red e App retain their integrity – you are no longer reliant on lower level managers and supervisors to distribute a message. Notifications are sent instantly with no opportunity for your words to be altered in the process.
2. Build trust
A particularly disappointing study by Maritz Research in 2011 indicated that just 10% of 1,900 employees surveyed felt their top leaders were honest and ethical. The results explained further that the more transparency that was provided in the firm, the more likely employees felt that their leadership displayed a high-level of ethics and honesty. Communicating early and often builds trust with your employees.
It’s also important to focus on the positive, and don’t wait to communicate until there is a problem. If all of your management-union communications are the result of conflict, the foundation of your relationship will be tense and stressful.
Send a quick note to thank employees who have stepped up to meet quarterly goals, announce company expansions, and congratulate top performers. Frequent, positive communications build trust and morale.
3. Make it personal
Are you more likely to read an email that comes from your company’s corporate headquarters, or your direct manager? Your front line employees will likely respond in the same way – they want to hear from people: their HR Manager, their Plant Manager, and their Direct Supervisor. Sending a message with a face and a name attached increases read rates dramatically, and it helps build relationships. In this way, leadership team members are able to get “face time” with employees without physically being present.
In-person meetings will always be a critical form of communications, but it’s not always possible due to time and location constraints. Red e App provides a channel for personalized messages that can be sent any time from any location.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that creating positive union relations in your organization is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no quick fixes for building trust – you must consistently communicate and intentionally foster positive and healthy relationships between management and frontline workers to build the best culture for your company.