HR Management & Compliance

The Benefits of Working with Labor Unions as an HR Professional

Yesterday’s post highlighted some of the common challenges and concerns HR professionals face when working with labor unions. Today’s post covers some of the benefits you might experience as an HR professional when working with labor unions, as well as some best practices you’ll want to keep in mind.

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Benefits of Working with Labor Unions as an HR Professional

Allows you to build positive relationships with employees. When you work closely with union-member employees, be sure to actively listen to their concerns and grievances and directly address those concerns and grievances. And then you’ll notice employees’ satisfaction rates and productivity levels increase over time.
Provides you with direct access to employee feedback. When working with union-member employees, you never have to guess what your employees are unhappy with at work. You’ll always have direct access to information about how you can better support and help your employees as an HR professional, as well as how you can offer better positions, rates, job requirements and tasks, training, etc.
Gives your organization a reputation for being fair and honest. When you work well with your unionized employees and do a great job of treating everyone across your organization equally and fairly, you’ll gain a reputation for being fair and honest. And this will keep your employee retention rates high and their job satisfaction rates high, and your organization will look a lot more desirable to prospective employees.

Best Practices for Working with Labor Unions

Always use effective communications. If you work to be consistent, open, and honest in your communications with your unionized employees, you’ll often be able to conduct fair and pleasant negotiations. Above all else, if you want to have successful relationships with your unionized employees, you must be fair and respectful of their concerns, regardless of your personal beliefs.
Conduct joint training opportunities for supervisors and stewards. Have supervisors train with you, too, alongside their stewards and those employees they’re managing. This way, both parties get a realistic perspective of what everyday work will look like with each other.
Doing this will also provide you with opportunities to coach managers with how to properly supervise their staff—potentially decreasing the likelihood of issues arising down the road that would lead to problematic grievances.
Establish clear policies and compliance regulations. Overall, if you want to conduct consistent and fair communications and have positive relationships with your unionized workers, you’ll need to establish and share clear and transparent policies and regulations, especially regarding termination, negotiations, and investigations.
Clearly state what you expect of all employees, too, regardless of whether they’re unionized or not, and offer union-backed resources your employees can consult at any time.
If your organization plans to work with unionized employees, keep the information above and in yesterday’s post in mind.