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Who Owns The Employee Relationship?

Written on:December 22, 2010
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The NLRB just announced (12/21/2010) a proposed rule requiring businesses to post notices in break rooms to inform employees of their rights to bargain collectively, distribute union literature or engage in other union activities without reprisal.

The NLRB issued a statement saying: “The intended effects of this action are to increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and to promote statutory compliance by employers and unions.”

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, and members of the public can submit comments on the proposal for 60 days, until February 22, 2011.

Why is this important?

Because you, as the employer, want to own and foster the employee relationship. You want to set and foster the employee culture that best suits your company mission.

What can you do? Several things:

1. If senior leaders round (visit front line work areas) then ramp it up a bit; not much, just a bit. Be visible. Round in teams, not alone. This team visibly shows you work and act as a team. Round with the unit or work area leaders as well. This further supports the all important message that your leadership is a cohesive team.

2. As you round listen. Listen. Listen. Each week, while rounding, find at least one thing you can take action on, take that action, and then report the result to your employees. This shows that there is business purpose to your rounding and for the employee your actions also answer the ever present “what’s in it for me” question that is going through the employee mind.

3. If you do not round, see #1 and #2. Start rounding. Be visible. Listen to and engage with your employees.

4. Contact your elected officials in Washington and your business or trade organization. Express your concern over this rule.

Please understand, this rule, in and of itself, does not present a crisis today to the “employer – employee” relationship. Yet, it is another wedge. It is a challenge to employers, whether you currently do or do not have active CBAs in place.

Who owns the employee relationship? If you believe you do, as the employer, in order to deliver on your promise to your customers, then this is one more opportunity for an internal review and for proactive action.

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