Do we need to consult the Union before implementing a new ITSM tool, SLAs or Client Satisfaction Surveys

By ITIL® from Experience ©

In a unionized environment there is often the concern that the Union should be consulted before new ITIL® processes, ITSM Tool, Service Level Agreements (SLA) are introduced or that Client Satisfaction Surveys are sent to users after they have contacted the Service Desk.

The thinking is that the Union will be concerned and object that management will have new employee performance data available. Thus, the project should pro-actively engage the Union to prevent a grievance.

Although every environment is different, in our experience, as long as the project communicates early, openly and often its plans to adequately prepare people by providing training and reference material, Unions are usually fine with these initiatives (see Do people need training if the ITSM tool is easy to learn). Of course this implies a mutual understanding on one hand of the employees' rights and, on the other the employer’s right to use processes, methods (e.g. SLA) and tools to accomplish the necessary work within the constraints of the labor contract.

As for Client Satisfaction Surveys, some tools store the responses as part of the request (e.g. Incident, Service Request) thus, enabling any tool user to view them. Therefore, there might be a concern that an employee can see their peer's job performance as reported by customers and users (see What is another term for User). In some cases this can be remedied by implementing access restrictions. Unfortunately, some tools cannot limit access to survey results as their permissions do not allow this level of control. In this case, some survey tools can be configured to store their responses in a separate database. Alternatively, a separate Survey Tool may be required to ensure this privacy.

Granted that Unions are a very important stakeholder, what is most important is to address employee concerns like any other project requirement. Doing so usually satisfies the Union. As a result, specifically consulting the Union may not be required unless it is customary to do so at this organization.

As a final thought, keep in mind that communication is key. It ensures that unnecessary fears do not develop since “If you don't communicate fast, then it's inevitable that the rumor mill will do the job for you, usually with corresponding negative side effects.” 1

Published on: 2013-12-19
Last updated on: 2017-01-28

When you provide people with the data, knowledge and mechanisms to change behaviors, they do. "Taking control of electricity costs ” by Mary Bitti, Financial Post • Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010

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