The discussion is everywhere on the blogosphere, so you could hardly have missed it! The conclusion is unanimous. Treat your contingent workers right – or face the unpalatable consequences.
Today’s contingent workers:
Do not fail them, or treat them like transparent pieces of office furniture. Or, they will never return for a second assignment. They also know exactly how to tell others why it is not a great idea to touch you and your organization, even with a bargepole! If you talk about employer branding and fostering loyalty from your workers – make sure you walk the talk with all segments of your workforce, which includes the contingent worker – a fact many employers ignored till recently! The new rules from the NLRB with regard to social media policies make it an imperative!
Wondering how these two connect? The National Labor Relations Act, the main labor policy governing labor relations in the United States, defines the rights of workers to address working conditions in Section 7:
“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”
Most people are unaware of the fact that the NLRB allows temps to join the same union as the permanent workers at the company even without obtaining permission from the staffing agency that assigned them. With the new guidance from NLRB, corporate social media policies may not restrict the employees’ right to speak critically of their employer online – unless the policies were established through a collective bargaining agreement, or if the union waived its right to bargaining. Well, think of what the workers could say online about your treatment of them after they have left your organization?
According to the NLRB’s new guidelines, employers are required to ensure that their social media policies are not overly broad. Policies must enable workers to share information about working conditions or wages. The NLRB protects the rights of employees to speak and to act together using conversations on social media to plan concerted action for improved workplace conditions. Social networking sites can act as alternative forums for seeking redress. Other guidelines instruct employers to formulate social media policies which:
Even as employers are wondering about the type and number of examples they need to incorporate into their social media policies, the NLRB is looking at them under a magnifying glass, dissecting them and discarding whatever it finds unlawful.
And, the employees and contingent workers are equally watchful as they consider the implications of this policy. While permanent employees may hesitate to publicly criticize for fear of damaging their position (dismissal or reduced opportunities for advancement), temporary workers – particularly those approaching assignment end – do not share those concerns. As for the employers, it would not be an exaggeration to say that they are just caught between a rock and a hard place!
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