Last year, we wrote about the 7 lessons for successful bargaining which highlighted that “tit for tat” communications rarely lead to a successful bargaining outcome. We regularly see that leading the communication agenda with employees is imperative in achieving any workplace change including enterprise bargaining.
Unfortunately, some union officials see enterprise bargaining as a fight between the union and the employer. Invariably the ‘campaign’ arrives. Flyers put a spin on what’s happening inside and outside the negotiation. Employers feel compelled to react and this plays into the ‘tit for tat’ game that the union thrives on.
Those of you who have led successful change programs are aware that the time of change should not be ‘be all and end all’ of engaging with your employees. In our experience, the most successful enterprise bargaining campaigns involve employers communicating throughout the cycle – not just every 3 or 4 years when the agreement is nearing its end date. This is about being proactive. It better contextualises your communication during the campaign. Understanding ‘The Knowing-Doing Gap’ is an important element to achieving the required result. This is the premise that just because you know something doesn’t mean it actually happens.
Modern models for employee engagement involve a sophisticated approach – one that demands ongoing and continuous attention throughout the employment life cycle, rather than the ‘episodic’ approach of enterprise bargaining. Ongoing engagement with your employees through communications that produce measurable results will give you the best opportunity of achieving a successful change project.