As we reported, CALMC had a strategic planning session. One of the items we talked about was what labor-management cooperation is about or what does it mean. With so many buzzwords and flavor-of the-month terms that go around, we decided labor-management cooperation really was an all encompassing term of a lot of things.
It’s a culture change. For some, it can be going from a traditional, adversarial environment to one where both sides are working together to help the organization succeed, improve, or compete in today’s world. Culture in any organization is difficult to change but it definitely can be done whether it’s in a unionized environment or non-union setting. Culture change is employee engagement.
Labor-management cooperation is employee engagement and it is very easy to engage employees with labor-management cooperation. When employees are involved in helping to solve workplace issues and helping the organization to be competitive, everybody wins. Morale improves, productivity increases and a general sense of ownership and pride is taken by all. The same steps that should be used for employee engagement in a non-union setting are the same steps that are used for labor-management cooperation. It requires trust, honesty and a sincere desire to want to do the right thing. Both also take time. They don’t happen overnight. It’s much easier to have someone help with it than going alone. There’s no cookie-cutter approach. It depends on the organization and the people in the organization.
Teambuilding and labor-management cooperation go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s building a leadership team or teams within the organization, it’s all the same and should be done for all the reasons identified above. In fact, if you’re doing labor-management cooperation, teambuilding would be good for both sides. It helps the union side develop its leadership team and develop future leaders. The same can be said for the management side. Putting people together and saying, “Go be a team” does not necessarily make people be a team. It can take work and it can take time but the outcomes are worth it. It is strongly recommended, again, to have someone provide teambuilding training and stay to help implement the new skills acquired during the training. It may save time and money in the long run. Teambuilding training should not include just teambuilding but communication and problem solving, too. Both will enhance the teambuilding experience.
You’ve read our other blogs on how to do labor-management cooperation, teambuilding and employee engagement. They all are the same. They help to improve the culture of any organization when they are done right.
For starters, try some of the puzzles I put up on CALMC’s Facebook page. Do them individually and then as a team. See what results you get. You may be able to solve the problems and possibly quicker as a team. It’s a beginning step on team training, employee engagement and labor-management cooperation. If you’re in a unionized setting, get together as both labor and management to tackle the riddle and word puzzles and have some fun together. Next week I’ll blog about those puzzles and how they relate to the workplace.