The forming of a union can be a precarious situation for employers. Employees form unions when they are unhappy with the terms of their employment and the direction the business is taking. Although employers can take certain steps to avoid unions forming within their place of work, they must follow the law and regulations regarding labor law.
Pay attention and listen to employees and they will be less likely to consider a union. In broad terms, employees who attempt to form a union want change. They may be looking for better working conditions, more money and/or improved communication with their employer.
Hold listening sessions on a regular basis. During these sessions, let employees do the talking. Listen and take notes. These listening sessions can be in large or small groups.
Meet one-on-one with employees on a regular basis. Just like the listening sessions, these meetings are for employers to listen, not to direct. Supervisors can run these meetings since it is extremely important for them to build relationships with their employees. Follow up with supervisors on what they are learning.
Act. From the listening sessions and one-on-one meetings, you will learn a lot. If employees are asking for a change, address it. Communicate your plans and update the employees regularly on changes that have resulted from the meetings.
Communicate the changes that won't be made and why. In a clear and concise way, explain why the change will not be made. Email may seem to be an effective way to communicate, but face-to-face discussions are much more effective and real. Employers earn respect when they take the time to speak face-to-face with employees.
Establish employee committees. This will strengthen communication and empower employees. They will feel that they are a valuable part of the decision-making process and are less likely to think about unionizing.
Open your door and keep it open. It sounds simple, but a boss with an open door is more likely to be approached by employees when they have concerns. Those employees, in turn, are less likely to attempt to form a union when they have a problem.
Train supervisors on how to effectively communicate and deal with employ issues. They are on the front lines, talking and overseeing employees every day, and can be effective at heading off issues that may eventually result in unionization.
Train supervisors the correct methods to deal with union formation. On a regular basis, hold seminars and distribute literature on the latest laws pertaining to what can and what cannot be done by employers trying to halt the formation of a union.
Enforce company policies fairly and uniformly. As a business leader, employees expect you will treat them fairly and with respect. If they do not feel that you do, they will revolt and maybe attempt to form a union.
Track changes in the industry, especially with wages and benefits. Well-paid employees are less likely to form a union since one of the main reasons they do unionize is for better pay.