Communication is a key element of success in every organization. In labor, however, communication is vital. Over the past year, we have worked with hundreds of Labor Leaders. Nearly every one of them has mentioned communication as one of the most deficient areas of their organizations.

Information Travels at the Speed of Light

Getting your message out to your membership is crucial. With the ubiquity of smartphones and tools such as texting, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter at their fingertips, your members are constantly communicating. It happens instantaneously. If you’re not using these same tools, your message can be overlooked or ignored completely. But, as with any tool, understanding when and how to use these communication tools is a skill. Fortunately, it’s what we excel at.

It’s Way More Important Than You Think

You probably have any number of reasons that you think communication with your membership is vital. And whatever those reasons are, they are correct. But, you may be unaware of some very important additional reasons that communication is essential to your organization.

Social Pressure

Social media provides a public platform whose true potential is still being realized.  In the short time that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been around, we have already seen them effect political change on scales both small and grand.  They provide a way to communicate with the masses that simply was not possible ten years ago.    With platforms such as these comes tremendous power for those who can harness and direct the messaging.  As is the case with any political effort, this comes down to sheer numbers.  Labor, as has previously been discussed, has a core competency of numerous members.  Organizing these members to a political end using social media tools can absolutely modify social perception around an issue.  Controlling the message, in this case, means controlling the issue.

Synchronization is Key

In order to truly control the issue, it is imperative to control the message.  Clear communication with an engaged membership is key to this effort.  Labor has such a potential advantage in this arena that other groups are proactively working on ways to balance the scales.  They are working on technical solutions to offset what they see as Labor’s most dangerous core competency — a coordinated, structured membership.

The Time is Now

Unfortunately, the imbalance currently present in the system will not last forever.  Websites already exist that allow disparate individuals to operate as one collective whole, reducing the efficacy of Labor’s membership.  Fortunately, they have the same problems inherit in Labor —  a lack of clear, structured communication.  The group that succeeds in organizing its members and mobilizing them to action first is going to have a distinct advantage!