Case: 1 CAO voor DSM in Nederland
DSM and Bex* have won a European Excellence Award for the 1 CLA project (category Change Communication)
Agreeing to agree: the power of one
A ‘Collective Labour Agreement’ is considered a union member’s right. To many members, changing a CLA means losing rights. The Dutch labour landscape is highly complex and bringing 7 different CLAs into 1 single agreement a monumental task. For years, unions and management couldn’t agree. A collaborative, transparent and inclusive communications approach to modernising DSM’s CLAs gained the trust of workers and unions alike.
Initial situation: DSM is one of the Netherlands’ largest companies and labour agreements a highly complex area. DSM’s ambition is ‘One DSM’: a competitive global player that needed a single and attractive Collective Labour Agreement (CLA). A CLA is considered a basic human ‘right’. Changing this ‘right’ usually alarms workers and labour unions, ‘changing rights’ can mean ‘losing rights’. Bringing seven different CLAs into one single modernised and harmonized agreement was a monumental task.
* Create a favourable company climate with new rights and benefits
* Accept and believe in harmonising and modernising a single CLA
* Active commitment - management, workers and unions – to deliver a new agreement
* Create a smart (inclusive, transparent and persuasive) program to gain acceptance and enthusiasm for change
* Establish a solid foundation for implementation
Strategic: A phased approach with message delivery through specific channels to reach audiences and three key principles:
* Inclusive: awareness and acceptance building, involving management, unions and employees
* Negotiations: Focused communications throughout
* Implementation: After acceptance, involving all employees in preparing for implementation
Implementation: HR and management taskforce developed and tested the communication approach.
* Create acceptance and involvement with CEO road shows to all sites, trained and prepared to provide the personal touch, supported by presentation and video animations
* Site management included in regular meetings and provided with tools for cascade
* Employees participated in ‘MyChoice’ - part of the CLA letting employees make personal choices in their own benefits
* Videos and information tools to inform all employees were made with the unions
* Supplemented by personalized letters, emails and training program for all employees.
The strategic design, development and deployment of the communication approach were very successful. The collaborative, transparent and inclusive communications program supporting the modernisation and harmonisation of DSM’s seven different CLAs into one, gained the trust of workers and unions alike. Today, the unions are even asking us to help and advise them on their own communications with members (as from now) - a major compliment to the overall program.