Making first contact with non-member workers in a new workplace is getting steadily more difficult for unions. Our changing economy has for a long time meant that there are increasingly industries with higher union density, and others with little or none. Changing work patterns towards casualisation have made it harder for workers to meet each other or form relationships over time. And since the pandemic, the drive to working from home in many sectors has further reduced the scope for unions to meet workers in person other than in small numbers.
The first step to organising workers is always finding them, and the TUC has undertaken a number of pilot projects to make contact with new potential members. Alongside our wider campaigning work on outsourcing, we had another opportunity to learn more about this.
Continue reading Engaging childcare workers online – case study
In early October, the Digital Lab met to discuss digital aspects of member retention. UK union membership fell overall in both 2021 and 2022, and now stands at the lowest level since records began in 1995.
Colleagues from a dozen unions joined our workshop to consider together why members might leave, and what unions can do to reduce their number. Here’s a note of what we discussed.
Continue reading How do we retain more members in our unions?
Our membership within the Royal College of Midwives consists of a very specific workforce – midwives and maternity support workers, and there’s a clear pathway into that workforce through midwifery students. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to engage and recruit them throughout their course and before qualification; however some work needed to be done to retain members at their early career stage.
Continue reading Using peer-to-peer SMS to have real conversations aimed at member retention – RCM case study
Since the start of the TUC’s Digital Lab project in 2019, my NEU Joint GS colleague Mary Bousted and I have shared the newly created role of lead members for digital change on the TUC’s Executive Committee.
We’ve talked with other union leaders about this on many occasions, as well as trying to take forward a big programme of digital change within NEU.
Continue reading Five lessons on leadership for union digital change – Kevin Courtney
Member engagement is a big priority for the CSP. It gives value to our members for being part of the community. It really helps with recruitment as well, because happy, engaged members are really good advocates for future CSP membership. And an engaged membership helps the union be better informed, more active and more influential, through members’ input.
Continue reading Measuring and analysing member engagement levels at the CSP
At Equity, we’ve started a programme to use the Net Promoter Score measurement in our member engagement work. It should help us understand better how members are feeling about their union, and also give us tangible pointers for where we can improve their experience with us.
Continue reading Scoring engagement to improve the member experience at Equity
Deploying new technology can often be challenging.
But deploying technology that will change organisations and how the people within them do their work is generally a lot more complicated than just the technology itself. As distributed organisations, with many stakeholders and complex democratic structures, unions have a lot to consider.
Continue reading Managing big tech changes in UK unions
Every year, the TUC hosts the Union Campaigns and Communications awards, which highlights good practice in comms work across TUC affiliates over the year.
Winning this year’s category for best communications with reps and activists was the NEU’s Pay Up! campaign, which developed a dedicated portal for activists, giving them insight into how the unions’ ballots were progressing, and integrated comms tools to scale their own work in communicating with members to deliver in their own area.
The NEU’s Mike Joslin joined a TUC Digital Lab webinar to look deeper into what they did, and the results it helped them get for their campaign.
Continue reading Award-winning digital tools for reps: NEU case study
WhatsApp is the most used app in the world, with an estimated 30.1 million users in the UK alone. While it’s best known as a messaging service, it also includes audio and video calls, voice messages, and sharing for photos, files and links.
The service allows group communication as well as marketing communication. Shared conversations are possible within small interest groups or up to hundreds of people at once.
Continue reading Using WhatsApp in union organising and communications
At the TUC, we’re currently embarking on a project to identify and rationalise the shadow IT that our organisation uses. It’s one of our biggest digital and data risks, and will be for most unions as well.
Continue reading What is shadow IT? And why should unions care?