Don't be shy (remember to ask 'why?')
Posted: 13 December 2022
Join Together’s platform makes it easy to ask good questions of prospective union members.
You can set up flexible conditional question flows to get the information a union needs about who someone is, where they work and what they do, then tailor the next question they see accordingly.
For example, Join Together allows you to ask people if they’re part-time, the answer to which triggers an entirely different set of questions to the ones that would be seen by a full-time worker. Doing this well helps get people over the line to becoming a union member - often for the first time, because no one sees things that feel irrelevant to them.
But the moment of joining a union is often also a moment of interest and enthusiasm.
So how can you help people instantly become an active member?
We think you need to ask two sets of “why?” questions: a pre-join question and a post-join question.
The first why (before joining)
Before people join, unions should ask why an applicant is interested in joining a union at all.
Is there something at work they’re worrying about? Do they want the support of a union in order to make a specific positive change? Are they re-joining? Were they a member of another union in a previous job? Do they see others joining and think they should too?
Asking these questions up front helps people express their expectations and gives their future branch a conversation starter.
The second why (after joining)
Once someone has completed their membership application, but before they feel as if they’ve moved on from the joining process, you’ll want to ask a second set of “why” questions.
These go into what might happen next.
Are they interested in particular campaigns? Have they previously done any campaigning themselves? What about talking with colleagues about work-related issues? Have they ever been a rep? Do they have any issues they particularly want to engage with? Do they have any special skills that could help the union?
Listening at this point helps ensure new members are quickly connected to the right parts of the union, and helps fellow members benefit from their enthusiasm right from the start.
We know joining a union isn’t really about people successfully completing a membership form – it’s an opportunity to have an organising conversation, earn trust and mutual commitment, and to get people thinking of themselves as part of the solution.
So remember, when starting out, don’t be shy, ask twice: “why?” (and then make sure you follow up!)