Nobody in a company really likes being involved in a strike.
Preventing a strike may not be as complicated as you think. In some cases, it may be as simple as re-thinking the workplace. Your accountant sees your company and its relationship to your employees as strictly a matter of money. Yet more money is not the only way to prevent a strike. Your employees are there for the money – true – but they are there for important non-financial benefits as well.
Let's look at money matters first, though, in trying to dissuade employees from walking the picket line.
- If your company's employee compensation is on a par with your industry in your part of the country, make sure your employees know this. That alone may prevent a strike.
- If your industry is suffering due to overseas competition, don't just mention it as a generality: count the number of foreign cars in the employee parking lot. Assure employees that you are not condemning their automobile choices. Instead, use this as a teaching opportunity to show that your company and your employees are part of the global economy. Solicit ideas for improving productivity and your company's competitive position. Involved employees are less likely to strike.
- Avoid too much bragging about your own money and lifestyle. It's not worth a strike to get that sort of personal satisfaction. More importantly, be careful about complaining how tough it is financially even for you – especially if your pay grade is significantly higher than that of your employees.
Strike prevention methods don't always involve what your employees may see as compensation. Such things as company-branded t-shirts, picnics and dinners may still cost your company some money. Fortunately, these morale builders do not need to be all that expensive. In fact being overly extravagant with the extras can inspire some employees to angrily complain that the money should have been added to their paychecks, and that could lead to the very strike you are hoping to prevent.
Grumbling is to be expected at work. That doesn't usually lead to a strike. Anger, though, should be avoided in the workplace. Music or talk radio with anger-inducing themes may foster an atmosphere where a strike becomes more likely.
Finally, trying to get 110% performance from employees during crunch time is understood. Just make sure it's not always crunch time, if you want to help prevent a strike.