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BDO Unionized Framework

BDO’s unionized workplace engagement and labor relations survey

Understanding engagement in a workplace with a strong union presence is just as important as engagement in a workplace without one — if not more so. Within every unionized environment there is a degree of interdependence between union and non-union members. This means that both groups’ perceptions about the organization play a part in creating a truly engaged workplace. This is especially true because these groups’ perceptions, experiences, and agendas may not be aligned.

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BDO unionized engagement model  
Researchers suspect that the average unionized employee is less engaged than their non-union counterparts, making the impact of disengagement in companies with a union presence more significant. Critically, union member dissatisfaction can spread to non-union co-workers, leading to overall negative sentiments towards the workplace as a whole.

It is within this context that we developed a framework and survey process that considers the collective context of a unionized organization. Paired with Mindset’s Engage platform, we can isolate the groups individually to quickly identify areas of misalignment and difference of perception and experience. Together, this validated model has the potential to measure and improve engagement levels in a unionized workplace.

The framework guides organizations to move beyond the traditional adversarial relationship and to embrace a new framework underpinned by workplace collaboration. It embodies an ideological shift in unionized environments, beyond a one-size-fits-all doctrine in pursuit of a pluralist outlook. This involves a better understanding, consideration and managing of the employment relationship as a collective whole.

Our Framework’s Survey Approach for Unionized Work Environments

The framework provides the theoretical basis for the development of a validated survey that measures engagement levels in a unionized environment. Central to this framework is the belief that engagement occurs when the job is challenging and meaningful, the social environment at work is safe, and personal resources are available; the needs for meaningfulness, safety and availability are satisfied, so engagement is likely to occur.

The key features of our survey are:

  1. Access to the first validated scale to measure engagement levels in a unionized workplace that considers the impact of the collective organizational context on employee engagement levels;
  2. Reliable measurement of eight strong indicators of employee engagement tailored to unionized environments;
  3. Flexibility to customize and adapt it to your environment, while ensuring validity and reliability;
  4. Comparison of the engagement levels between union and non-union members;
  5. Assistance for both human resources practitioners and organizations to design a viable and evidence-based approach to explain how engagement operates in a unionized environment;
  6. Provides both union and non-union members the opportunity to give honest feedback on their experience of all the drivers of engagement;
  7. Informs both the labor relations and employee engagement strategy of the organization;
  8. Gauges the overall labor relations climate in the workplace and informs remedial action; and
  9. Creates a common language regarding engagement in the organization as a new management strategy to manage the employee organizational relationship.  

Partnering with Mindset Management

Since 2019 we have utilized the cutting-edge capability of Mindset’s Engage platform to offer our clients world-class employee surveys, analytics and insights.  The platform enables us to measure, compare and identify the factors that drive engagement among both union and non-union members, with the added benefit of thematic and sentiment analysis on open-ended (qualitative) survey responses.