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Dispelling myths and untruths about unions

We’ve all heard the rhetoric: ‘the union want this’ and ‘the union said that’, but the fundamental point that HR, media and some employers have forgotten is that the union isn’t made up of officials. It’s not the lady in the office that processes new membership applications. It’s the employees.

For too long the battle between the unions and employers has been waged in the media and in workplaces. All the while without the realisation that this fight was with the very individuals who come to work each day to help build the business and work to ensure it thrives and survives.

In order for any business to grow, it’s now necessary that employers engage in direct and meaningful communication with their employees. To neglect employees and treat them as numbers is to neglect the very backbone of your business.

Most businesses are time poor. Business owners are stressed out and focused on keeping the business alive. So here are some basic, easy to use tips and tricks that if used daily, will help promote a direct and productive relationship with your employees:

  1. Five minute tool box talks. Literally – five minutes, you can even put someone in charge of a stop watch if you like. Make the gathering fun and fast paced. Move around the group and ask them how they are going, whether anything exciting is happening and what they’re going to do today to improve their productivity.
  2. Say good morning, good afternoon, and good night. I know it sounds like that cheesy line from The Truman Show, but you’ll be surprised how far good manners will take you.
  3. Take the time to congratulate an employee on a job well done. If you make time to performance manage and discipline employees, you need to make time to pat them on the back for a job well done.
  4. Communicate clearly, concisely, and often.
  5. Celebrate the wins. Now I’m not talking about a big gala party, but if the business has a good day, then celebrate. Somehow!

If you want your business to thrive and survive, you must maintain a relationship with your employees. This may not work in every situation, as some employees won’t want any other relationship beyond a boss/employee one, but at the very least you need to make an effort.

Productivity and flexibility are easily attainable, you just need to remove the word union from your vocabulary, and replace it with employee.

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Michael Cosgrove

Michael Cosgrove

Michael's years of experience within the Industrial Relations arena has seen him contribute as a valued team member of Senior Management and Executive Leadership teams around the country. An acknowledged Specialist IR workplace trainer, and published subject matter expert on the My Business.com website, and Family Business Magazine, Michael is regarded as a highly tactical practitioner, and is focused on implementing strategies to improve employee engagement and productivity within businesses.

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