Recruitment vs. Organising: What’s the difference?


Recruitment vs. Organising: What’s the difference?

Recruitment and organising are vitally important to trade unions. The two processes are related but quite different. Recruitment is the promise of being part of something greater than oneself. Organising is delivering on that promise. It is an ongoing conversation among workers and between workers and their elected representatives. Communication is central to recruitment and organising. By describing what a worker is likely to think about (the head), feel (the heart) and do (the feet), we can distinguish between recruitment and organising:

A worker that has been recruited

Head level – Thinking

• Understands the story of the union and the rights the union has won in her workplace

• Understands what the union is able to offer her

• Understands what her rights and responsibilities are as a union member

Heart level – Feeling

• Has shared her fears, needs and aspirations with the union

• Feels valued as a person and worker

• Feels she has been giving the opportunity to exercise choice

• Feels that she will be able to learn and grow

• Feels that she is joining a collective that she can actively participate in and that will protect her

Feet level – Doing

• Is willing to participate in democratic processes

• Is willing to articulate her needs

• Is willing to support fellow workers

• Is willing to contribute financially to sustain the union

A worker that has been organised into a trade union

A worker that has been organised into a trade union

Head level – Thinking

• Know her rights and the responsibilities of the employer

• Knows the contents of the most recent collective agreement

• Knows the power and responsibility of the trade union

Heart level – Feeling

• Feels a sense of belonging

• Feels protected from being exploited by the employer

• Feels confident to engage in discussion

• Feels part of a collective voice

Feet level – Doing

• Participates in union activities

• Initiates discussions when necessary with the union

• Participates in the collecting of demands and the organising and mobilising around collective bargaining

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This article is from The Negotiator’s Guide – A guide for negotiating in a changing workplace

        Also read:
What have we learned about trade union organising in changing workplaces?

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