By Jeremy Jalie, Business Development Director at Silverbear Photo by Jess Hurd (TUC)
Last week saw the TUC Conference take place over three days in Brighton – and what a conference it was.
As ever, the annual event - which, this year, was rescheduled from September due to the passing of Her Majesty The Queen - was engaging and informative, and provided the opportunity to hear many new ideas, debates, and motions, a number of which will be rolled out over the course of 2023.
It was also an event that saw the coming together of almost 50 trade unions under one roof. Given the extent to which trade unions have featured in the media over recent months, the TUC Conference reinforced the fact that the work they do is vitally important, and that the actions they take are felt by a huge swathe of the UK population.
Whilst I left the event with pages of notes, there were three particular aspects that stuck with me. Of course, as an association management software (AMS) specialist, these are seen through my particular lens of membership management. However, if you’re reading this, I suspect this perspective will be the most useful.
So, here are my top three TUC Congress 2022 takeaways.
- Digital efficiency is a priority for 2023
Irrespective of your industry or profession, the current cost-of-living crisis, and economic uncertainty is affecting EVERYONE. And it’s this fiscal pressure that’s not only behind the high-profile industrial action being led by trade unions, but also their current membership recruitment drives that ultimately seek to strengthen their influence.
Whilst digital transformation may not be vital for all workplaces, it does and can make life easier for trade unions. Not only do enhanced digital processes make the day-to-day tasks easier at an organisational level, but they also support more efficient and relevant communication with members – something that Silverbear expects trade unions to want to capitalise on over the next 12 months if the cost-of-living continues to rise.
- Elections are a serious business
They’re also incredibly complex, too. Over the course of the three days, many speakers alluded to the fact that may be needing to undertake an unprecedented number of ballots over the next year.
Trade unions that have already adopted digital processes that support and streamline balloting will be able to manage this much more efficiently than those who haven’t. We also heard first-hand from trade union employees about delays attributed to traditional methods of polling, and how these have undermined what is arguably one of a trade union’s most important functions.
We expect 2023 to not only see trade unions still reliant on paper-based methods to switch to trade union AMS, but we also think those who have already gone digital are likely to further enhance their digital infrastructure in order to make balloting more efficient – and more resilient!
- There’s still much more to do
As a business that follows the work of Unions21, a forum that develops and shares ideas on what tomorrow’s unions could look like, and TUC Digital, which seeks to help trade unions unlock the benefits of a digital world, we know that trade unions across the UK are rapidly building their digital footprint. However, as a trade union membership specialist, we can also spot where the weak links are.
Interestingly, this year’s TUC Congress revealed that trade unions are also aware of these weak links, too. From online self-service functionality and providing greater digital scope for membership growth and retention to empowering activists and building a more efficient framework from which trade unions can organise their members, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Our view is that the events of recent months will be a catalyst for accelerating change and that digital transformation and AMS – or membership CRM – will become a top priority for the remainder of the decade.
Is your trade union looking to improve its digital footprint?
As a provider of AMS for trade unions, we understand the digital challenges trade unions face. Importantly, we also know how to overcome them. Contact our team at 01483 409409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discover how we can help you harness the power of digital.