20-60-20 Discussion

New Spring International Employee Segment Research

20-60-20 Discussion and New Spring International Employee Segment Research

We have always defined employee audiences in very simple ways based on our extensive labor relations and union campaign experience: the Positive 20%, the Negative 20% and the middle, undecided 60%. Can anyone here tell me who your negative 20% was in the PML simulation? How about the 20%? In which group was Opel Johnson or Deb Riley? Do “loyal opposition” distinction…

We have always said that Billy Wilson or Sam Sutton are all about problems, and this is still true. We used to say that you should take them out into the parking lot and run them over…we don’t say that anymore, but can you guess what we DO say about Billy or Sam? You should get rid of them…legally, with lots of documented evidence backing up your decision; with style, grace and dignity but get rid of them. The negative people in your workforce are not about solution; they are about problems and being against everything. By the way, they don’t just work in hourly jobs either…the negative people live and work at all levels of your company, and the higher they go, the more dangerous they become.

New and very contemporary research, copyrighted by our partners at Spring International in Philadelphia, is actually showing at least five employee segments in every workforce. Let’s start with what we call the positive 20%…the most positive group of people back home will be your Cheerleaders. They are positive to everything; they are enthused about solving problems; they are ready to be in there to make the company work. Every employer needs as many of these folks as possible.

The next positive group is the Casual Fans: they like the job and the company; they have no big problems but they DO have some issues that prevent them to be totally identified with the company. We are in Atlanta (or Greenville or Minneapolis). So Casual Fans would be likely to fly Atlanta Falcons (or Atlanta Braves or Greenville Road Warriors or Minnesota Vikings) flags on their cars only when that team is winning, but not when it is losing. What the research is proving: you NEED these folks in your workforce to win a union campaign or to make a company initiative successful.

We have always believed that the middle group is quite large – – largely because that is what Richard Nixon taught us about ‘silent majority’ and we always believed that this group was undecided. The middle group is actually smaller than that we originally thought…about 10-15% of your workforce are Fairweather friends, and truly undecided. They are potential fans for you; they are not on the dark side. They are WITH you when the winds are blowing your way and they are NOT when it is not. Lots of bottom, more negative segments of your workforce will drive Fairweather fans to the dark side, but lots of more positive segments of your workforce can influence them to the Company side. This group sits, and they watch, and wait. They will go or vote the way of the narrative and wherever momentum is located.

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