Employee Engagement: A New Union Avoidance Strategy

Modern Survey‘s bi-annual study of the U.S. workforce has helped provide a narrative for understanding the way economic factors have influenced employee attitudes over time. The most recent iteration of this study (conducted February 2011) included survey items that asked if employees would be interested in being represented by a union. The findings from this study make it clear; paying attention to employee engagement levels within your organization helps to foster positive relationships between employees and management and decreases the likelihood of a workforce seeking union representation.

Through correlation analysis performed by Senior Consultant, Bruce Campbell, Modern Survey has uncovered “confidence in company” to be the strongest predictor of whether or not employees would be inclined to seek union representation, and “confidence in senior management” to be the next best predictor of pro-union sentiment. More than twice as many (72%) of those who would vote “no” to union representation are confident in the future of their company, compared to those who would vote “yes” (34% confident).

This study has also established a very clear link between union vulnerability and employee engagement. Fully half (50%) of those who would vote “yes” to unionization are actively disengaged, compared to only 20% disengaged among those who would vote “no.”

Additionally, this study confirmed that confidence in the company’s senior management was not only the second best predictor of union sentiment, but at the time the study was conducted it was also the top predictor of overall employee engagement levels.

The implications of these findings should not be lost on business leaders. Inspiring confidence in the organization’s future and in its senior leadership boosts employee engagement. High employee engagement, in turn, reduces the organization’s susceptibility to unionization.

Modern Survey Senior Consultant, Bruce Campbell, explains, “As our research demonstrates, employee engagement is a key area that organizations can leverage to create a more effective union avoidance strategy. We’ve seen how the drivers of engagement have shifted over the past few years and organizations that seek to remain union free need to take these changes into account as they seek to develop better and more productive relationships with their employees.”

With the results of this recent research, Modern Survey has adapted its Union Susceptibility Index to include two new items: “Confidence in the future of the company” and “Confidence in the company’s senior management.” By aligning the constructs of employee engagement to union vulnerability measures, Modern Survey has created a framework for a smarter talent management strategy that motivates employees and reduces the desire for union representation.

Details of the study can be found at http://www.modernsurvey.com/news/1106.

About the Study

This study was conducted in February 2011 with a nationally representative sample of 700 U.S. working adults (18+ years old) who match census data in terms of age, gender and region. The total population of respondents that confirmed membership in a labor union amounted to 141, with 559 non-union respondents. All “likelihood of joining union” metrics include responses only from non-union members.

About Modern Survey

Modern Survey is a human capital measurement company. Providing a robust suite of proprietary technologies combined with an array of consultative services, Modern Survey helps organizations manage talent throughout the employee lifecycle, measure and evaluate customer satisfaction and gain insight into changing markets. Modern Survey products and services have spanned 100 countries on six continents in over 30 languages. Through direct and partner channels, Modern Survey’s solutions have been used by more than 500 companies, over 85 of which are among the Fortune 500.

This press release was distributed through PR Web by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.