In the first week of 2020’s lockdown, I took part in Simon Sapper’s great UnionDues podcast, sitting on my bed with my laptop to record a conversation about digital change in unions. During the call, Simon asked if I thought the pandemic could become a turning point for unions in digitising.
I wasn’t sure. We were in for what looked like being a really difficult couple of months for unions in supporting members to stay safe at work, without access to much of our infrastructure.
My worry was that was as likely to eat into our limited capacity for new digital work, as it could be a spur to new digitisation.
As it turned out though, Simon was onto more than I had thought.
Continue reading The pandemic and the drive for #digitalunions
The last 18 months have been a time of drastic change. Along with the rest of society, unions have had to adapt to the pandemic and the effects of the response to it. We had to work quickly to get operations functioning again with closed offices, safety concerns and huge disruption in our members’ workplaces.
Digital played a large part in this adaptation. Denied physical meetings and conferences, and with travel options severely limited, there was no choice but to move as much activity online as possible.
Continue reading Adapting to the new normal for trade unions
We’ve been working with RCM recently on how unions might work with members to keep contact data up to date. An automated SMS campaign succeeded in getting some great levels of engagement (read the full report here), but making the process as simple as possible for the member to complete.
We talked about the project at our last Digital Lab office hours session, and had a really useful discussion between practitioners from across our affiliates.
I wanted to share some of the points made by our colleagues, as there was a lot in there for unions to consider if they’re planning their own data check projects.
Continue reading 7 things for unions to think about when updating member contact data
Our latest Digital Lab seminar looked at what digital could mean for case management in UK unions. I’ve been spending a lot of time of late talking to digital leads at our affiliate unions. I’ve been hoping to get a sense of the big issues for digital as we move into a new normal. And case management has been cropping up quite often as a priority.
Continue reading Digital approaches to case management for unions.
I’ve been talking to digital leads in a lot of our affiliated unions over the last few months about our different experiences during lockdown. There have been a number of factors that shaped how quickly unions were able to respond to losing access to offices, but one of those that stands out for me was the extent to which they had moved infrastructure and software to the cloud prior to the pandemic.
Continue reading Unions and the cloud
TUC Digital Lab report, August 2021
Major changes are taking place to the IT landscape for companies and organisations. The rise of cloud business solutions and the increasing use of Software as a Service (SaaS) has changed many of the fundamentals of IT infrastructure.
Continue reading Managing IT infrastructure modernisation for trade unions
Data accuracy is vitally important for unions that want to improve the member experience. This has been doubly so over the last year, where many workplace reps have been unable to regularly check in with members face to face, and most communication has moved online.
But when a member changes their online contact details and forgets to update them with the union, it sends the union’s campaigns into a black hole. The member gets cut off from opportunities to get involved, and worse still, the union might not even realise it.
For this project, the Digital Lab worked with colleagues at RCM to test ways to check and improve contact data accuracy. With a strong focus on offering specialised professional training to members, accuracy of the union’s personal data on members is very important in helping them get the most out of their membership.
Continue reading Using SMS to verify and correct member data: RCM case study
The effects of the pandemic have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, with many more still at risk. Redundancies have especially been a problem in parts of the private sector where unionisation rates are very low. As a result, most workers facing uncertainty at work won’t have a union to turn to. And unions don’t have channels to reach them.
There may be an opportunity for unions to reach out to non-union workers and provide valuable advice content to them. In doing this we could give these workers an initial experience and understanding of unions, learn about their needs, and find other useful ways to engage with them.
Continue reading Using online advice content to help unions find and engage with non-members
In the TUC Digital Lab we’ve been doing some research into using different formats of work advice to find and engage with non-member workers. We’ve got more info about this here, but I wanted to start with some interesting lessons we’re drawing from the numbers on how our forms worked, which could be useful to unions seeking to engage non-members for organising projects.
Continue reading Designing online forms to engage with workers about their work
Prototyping is a very important tool when it comes to designing new digital systems. As non-profits, reliant on members’ contributions, unions have to be careful to get the best returns out of any digital spend. Yet the costs for new digital development can run into thousands of pounds.
Building a prototype – the most basic version of your solution that you can test with real users – lets you check if you’re on the right track, and reduces the risk of costly project failures.
Continue reading Testing your union’s new digital services by prototyping