For The Betterment of The People by Tim Garrett - Read Online
For The Betterment of The People
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Summary

You need two advantages to achieve the success you envision through the power of your people: A passionate, committed, loyal workforce that is dedicated to excellence, productivity and profitability. And a management team empowered and dedicated to treating all your people with integrity, respect and dignity. With those two components in place, you have the freedom to run your business as you see fit as its leader. Why? Because all your employees trust you to make business decisions that incorporate both your strategic objectives and your people values.

Drawing on his 25+ years’ experience at Honda of America Manufacturing, the oldest union-free automotive manufacturer in North America, former CHRO Tim A. Garrett has written For the Betterment of the People as a guide to help business leaders create and sustain a workplace culture that is free to succeed – for the benefit of the business ... and the betterment of the people who work for it.

Published: Tim Garrett on
ISBN: 9781937698256
List price: $4.99
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For The Betterment of The People - Tim Garrett

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Introduction

Creating a workforce that is inherently union resistant not only makes good business sense, but also over the past 30 years it has never been more critical. A workforce that is soundly behind its company is a workforce that is also highly competitive. The stronger the relationship between a company and the people who work for it, the stronger the company. The stronger the company, the more resistant it is to outside influences that would weaken and destroy the enterprise. A company cannot stop a union from attempting to organize the employees, but a union resistant workforce can send a chilling message quickly and decisively that they consider a union as unnecessary.

The economic and business challenges of the last few years have strained and, in some cases, wreaked havoc on organizational relationships. Virtually no business sector has been spared the need to make difficult yet necessary decisions that have had painful consequences to their workforce. Yet despite the current environment there has never been a better, and now a more important, time to begin mending and rebuilding the employer/workforce relationship than the present. In fact, it’s urgent.

The current Democratic Party’s power in promoting union interests on a national level cannot be overstated. President Obama has said to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Your agenda is my agenda. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has White House meetings several times a week.

Because of the philosophies of the current presidential administration, organized labor stands to gain enormous benefits from regulatory changes that will significantly help them in organizing drives. Politically appointed members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have clearly stated positions that are favorable to organized labor’s ambitions to organize more members. Prior rulings that reasonably constrained union action are due to be overturned and new, pro-union regulations are forthcoming.

The NLRB is poised to return to many of the positions taken under the Clinton era—the last time a Democrat was president. And new NLRB innovations will certainly occur in short order. For instance, union election timing from petition to vote will likely be dramatically shortened. Interpretation of definitions such as grievous unfair labor practices will be radically broadened to allow for increased board mandated bargaining units. Neutrality (or forced impartiality) and the right of access will be liberalized to the point of not only providing organized labor with direct access to employees but also effectively neutralizing management’s ability to educate and inform their workforce.

The list of real and significant changes continues to expand, and will continue to do so until a new president is elected. So what is an employer to do in the face of radical change driven by national policy aimed directly at helping organized labor?

The starting point is to recognize the importance of striking a balance between the needs and expectations of your business with the needs and expectations of the people who work for you. Optimal performance can only be achieved when organizational balance exists. This balance also sends a strong message that the company values and respects the workforce—the essential foundation of strong organizational relationships. In contrast, a primary leveraging tool of unions is to force the perception of organizational imbalance, based on their interpretation, of course. So if employees already experience real organizational balance, one very key role of unions has effectively been taken away rendering a union as irrelevant.

Employers have several powerful tools of their own to help them achieve that balance that will keep their people on their side: The foundational tools being workforce issues management, communication and trust. Let’s look at workforce issues management first.

Yes, you have issues. Everyone does. Regardless of organization there will always be issues, both at the micro and macro level. If you don’t think you have issues, that’s your first problem, right there. To have a comprehensive understanding of your company’s strengths and weaknesses as an employer, you must be willing to do an honest internal assessment and be well connected to the workforce. Yet frequently leadership becomes insulated and unaware of the issues important to its people (or even worse has discounted the issues). Identifying, understanding and either managing or resolving issues are critically important to creating a culture in which employees are confident that they don’t need outside representation to meet their needs. Left unattended, issues grow to become problems conducive to an organizer’s promises. (Remember, it’s essential to get this information from the employees directly, not filtered through even one layer of managers or supervisors.)

Next is communication, which requires that you keep your people as completely informed about the business and their roles in it as possible. Keep them in the dark and you create an opportunity for unions to fill in the blanks with information, lies and spin of their own. The more your people understand the realities that your business is facing, the more likely they will be to accept difficult decisions. And the more prepared they will be to challenge the rhetoric of a union organizer with facts of their own.

This is where communication moves from tactical to strategic. Communications to a workforce should always be thoughtful, with a clearly understood purpose and desired outcome. Creating communication, embedded with critical business related themes, that is open, honest and forthright sends an additional message that the workforce is respected and capable of understanding complex business and market-related matters.

Achieving optimum performance with a union-resistant workforce requires you to have a workforce that is engaged, involved, informed and empowered. It requires an environment where employees can use their mind and not just their body. It requires an environment where employees are encouraged to seek out ways to make improvements and where their ideas and opinions are valued and openly and regularly welcomed. It requires an environment where people are valued more than the end result of what they do every day.

In the end, however, a culture based on trust will be your strongest defense against union attempts to organize. Difficult to gain and easy to lose, trust and honesty have too often taken a back seat to bottom line performance, stock market activity, and corporate ladder climbing by managers who choose the expedient way to deal with their people rather than the trustworthy way. This breach of confidence has created cultures throughout the country that are now imminent victims of union organizing campaigns. Backed by Washington and being handed a disenfranchised workforce,