Welcome to the April 2009 issue of Alignment Solutions! We have two major announcements this month. First, based on client feedback, we are pleased to introduce our newest service, On-call Consulting and Coaching. These services are designed for situations when a full-scale consulting or coaching engagement is not appropriate or desired. Contact us for details and to find out if this service is right for you.
Second, as you may know, Pat Lynch was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame last month. Members of this prestigious group are selected from the global participants in Dr. Alan Weiss's Private Roster Mentor Program. Of the more than 700 people who have participated in the program worldwide, only twenty individuals from diverse disciplines have met the criteria for membership. Complete information about the Hall of Fame criteria and members is available at www.summitconsulting.com/services/hall_of_fame.php.
Our new article series called Research News You Can Use selects findings of academic research that are applicable in the workplace, and suggests how you might implement them in your organization.
Premise: Employee "voice" can enhance workplace productivity through its impact on employee engagement, creativity, retention, and effectiveness. Learn specific ways of creating a win-win situation in your workplace.
This month's theme is "creating a positive work environment." The proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has caused near-panic in some organizations as employers wrack their brains to find a way to prevent it from becoming law. Such efforts are mis-directed: the law is not the primary issue. Instead, employers should focus on what they can do to ensure that their employees see EFCA as a moot point - i.e., they see no need for a third party to look out for their interests. I believe the law should be called Employer Free Choice Act because it provides an opportunity for management to choose how they want to interact with their workers in the future - i.e., either directly, or through employee-selected union representatives.
The Feature Article, "Employee Free Choice Act: An Opportunity for Employers," explains why management's best defense against the EFCA is a good offense. It argues that the real point is how you treat your employees every day, not whether this law (or any other) is passed.
In "Answering the EFCA's Wake-up Call: Ten Ways to Create a Motivating Workplace," the Business Solutions section suggests ten actions employers can take to create a work environment that inspires employees to perform their best.
In the Personal Solutions section, "Ten Ways that Business Solutions Can Enhance Your Personal Quality of Life" shows how to use the ideas for creating a motivating work environment for enriching the quality of your non-work life.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find other articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
Employee Free Choice Act: An Opportunity for Employers
The proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) that is before the U.S. Congress is sending chills down the spines of many employers. Feeling threatened by the prospect that they soon could be bargaining with unions instead of dealing directly with their employees, and fearing the possibility they will have to live with a contract imposed by a panel of arbitrators, and/or be subjected to penalties for which there are no union equivalents, it's no wonder that many employers are wringing their hands. My advice: you're worrying about the wrong thing! The EFCA is not your primary concern. Instead of focusing on whether the law is going to pass - which it will, in some form - you need to be paying attention to the real issue, which is: How are you treating your employees every day?
Union representation holds little attraction to employees who feel respected, valued, trusted, challenged, and recognized for their contributions. Based on these sample criteria, how would your employees rate their experience in your workplace?
The EFCA represents an opportunity for employers. For instance, they get to choose how they will interact with their employees in the future. Those who decide that it's okay if their employees feel threatened, disrespected, short-changed, without a voice, untrustworthy, and any number of negative emotions no doubt will find themselves bargaining with one or more unions in the near future. Those who prefer to communicate and work with their employees directly will ensure that workplace conditions provide no reason for those workers to believe they need third-party intervention in the form of a union.
It is true that there are elements affecting the workplace over which employers have little or no control, such as the economy, competition, and the talent pool. However, there are many more things that employers CAN control which will make a significant difference in developing a workplace culture attractive to everyone. Distinguish clearly between the things you can and cannot control, and focus your time and energy on the former. For example, it is well documented that the #1 reason why employees join unions (and leave organizations) is dissatisfaction with their immediate supervisor. This issue is totally controllable by employers. (The fact that some employers choose NOT to control their managers' behavior is another issue.) Spend your time looking for these and other opportunities to improve the workplace - and make sure that you're assessing conditions from your employees' perspectives, not your own.
For suggestions about how to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the EFCA to create a motivating work environment, please see the Business Solutions section of this newsletter.