Is a collaborative approach with employees the answer to labour issues?
With public unionization movements taking place at various Big Tech companies, Microsoft wasn’t to be left out. The tech giant announced last week that it planned to follow an “open and constructive approach” to union organization from its employees.
In their announcement on June 2, 2002, they emphasized that while it wasn’t a requirement for employees to form a union to engage with company leadership, employees have the legal right to create a union.
The company outlined four principles to guide their open attitude to unionization. Among these were that they were “committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.”
Microsoft is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion. This announcement comes on the back of a vote taken at the end of May by an Activision Blizzard subsidiary to form a union.
Right now, the tech industry seems to be lit up by unionization efforts, with Amazon in a heated battle against unionization at some of its facilities, including in New York and Alabama.
In this post-pandemic world, worker power appears to be on the rise in companies across the US, with unions seeing increased activity in numerous sectors. The retail industry is just one example, with Starbucks and REI, where a number of strikes broke out late in 2021.
In what is known as #striketober, workers made demands for improved benefits, including better pay, flexible hours and more time off.
When it comes to unhappy staff, prevention is better than cure. One solution to staving off strike action would be listening to and acting on employee feedback. A Perceptyx survey released in April revealed that employers who did this were 11 times for likely to retain staff than those who didn’t.
Interestingly, fewer employers in the healthcare and retail industries were “listening to employees” than in other industries. These industries have also faced strike and unionization activities, high staff turnover and labour shortages.