There are ten steps that many workplaces have gone through when converting from a traditional top-down command and control work system to an HPWO Partnership. These steps are discussed below. It is important to keep in mind that some steps occur close together or simultaneously and not always in the exact order listed. Each HPWO Partnerships is unique and creates its own path to successful workplace change.
The HPWO Partnership is not a substitute for collective bargaining. However, the HPWO process can change the way work is done, the way decisions are made, and provide for a more secure workplace.
IAM HPWO department staff conduct a field visit with a cross section of the workplace such as, line supervision, marketing, customer/client service, human resources, design and production workers, IAM leadership and top management. Together, they examine the differences between an HPWO Partnership and other work systems.
The High Performance Work Organization Partnership week-long school at the William W. Winpisinger Center has become a driving force behind a strategy to help IAM leaders and their respective management counterparts across the U.S. and Canada save and create jobs. The week-long session includes components such as:
The labor-managment partners develop a plan to move the partnership forward
It is extremely important for labor and management to jointly design an effective communications strategy which explains the HPWO Partnership concept to all union members and non-represented employees as well. Such a strategy will ensure that everyone at the workplace has a basic understanding of how an HPWO Partnership works.
There are three interlocking components to this step. The partners jointly design the structure of the new work system, in essence “who does what”. Then they identify the vital functions critical to the success of the workplace, and how decisions regarding these vital functions will made in the new work system. Once this is complete then the partners need to develop a strategy to implement the HPWO partnership model in the workplace.
The partners jointly draft an agreement to partner which is signed by the management representatives and IAM leaders with the ultimate responsibility for the workplace involved. This agreement generally highlights the mutual goals and benefits of the partnership and the commitment to establish a new era of labor relations through shared decision-making. The Partnership Agreement is “enabling language” allowing both labor and management to communicate their commitment to establish and promote positive and extensive workplace change.
The partners assess educational needs and develop an education program which will identify the compelling reasons to change, clearly describe the changing roles for all employees, as defined by the HPWO model, and help create the commitment for the partnership to be successful. The partners jointly design the content and delivery of this education to all employees.
Only after laying an extensive foundation for change are the partners ready to implement the full HPWO Partnership strategy. Throughout the implementation process, which does not happen overnight, it is vitally important for the partners to communicate continuously with all employees.
Partners identify continuing education needs to further equip employees for their new roles. Educational programs may include job-related skill development, technical training on new machinery and equipment and/or methods to accomplish activity based continuous improvement. In addition partnership education programs must be designed and implemented for all new employees.
Well before the expiration of the existing collective bargaining agreement, the partners discuss issues concerning the interrelationship between the contract and the evolving partnership. The new agreement may carry over the appropriate sections of the existing agreement while defining the roles and shared responsibilities of labor and management or it may be a completely new document.
The partners, throughout the process, constantly evaluate and measure their progress, assuring a continued momentum toward a full High Performance Work Organization Partnership. When barriers to change are identified the partners will develop strategies to overcome these barriers in order to keep the partnership on course.