One year ago, Walmart made headlines for dissuading its employees from downloading WorkIt, an app offering advice to employees on their legal rights and workplace policies, and providing workers the opportunity to chat among themselves about workplace issues. The platform was designed by labor advocacy organization OUR Walmart, and Walmart excoriated it as a slick scheme to persuade employees to turn over personal information to the union. The labor group cited instances of intimidation aimed at preventing the use of the app amid increased employee concerns regarding discrimination, compensation, store experiences, closures, understaffing, managerial favoritism and discrimination.
The incident highlighted a key consideration that any industry with a potentially unionized workforce must face: the role of decentralized communication in helping workers get answers to their questions about their rights and the company’s policies.
Unions are deepening connections with their members on social media and other digital communication channels as a driving force for their movement, designed to engage and build union membership nationwide. Taking key lessons from the issues plaguing Walmart, employers that want to improve relationships with employees need to commit to a proactive internal communication program that promotes transparency and dedication to a fair and equitable workplace.
If employees believe they are not valued fairly by their employer, they often turn to unions in hopes of achieving some sort of equitable treatment. Successful organizations recognize that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure every employee feels valued, set up for success, and equipped with the information needed to confidently do their best work. In today’s workplace, holistic employee communication plans will help mitigate these challenges, ensuring employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction remain high.
Here are three things employers should keep in mind to ensure both unionized and nonunionized workers are happy and aligned with organizational goals....
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