The Organizing Department’s reflective engagement coaches, like Region 4 International Representative D.J. Totty, are helping locals stay connected to members and potential members while adhering to social distancing during a global health crisis.
Reflective engagement is an approach to organizing and member communications that builds on what experts know works best. Studies show that active listening, asking questions and reflecting back the response in your conversations with workers is the most effective way to connect with them. By using this technique, organizers are having more successful, open and high-quality conversations with members and potential members.
Last year, the International’s Organizing Department hosted a reflective engagement training for certified trainers in Chicago, where staff from Regions 1, 4, 6 and 8 participated, including Totty, who spoke about using reflective engagement to stay connected to members and potential members during a global pandemic.
“Our ability for face-to-face conversations is limited right now, but we can still use the principles of reflective engagement as we reach out to potential members around the country using Hustle and other social media,” Totty said. “As a part of the Reflective Engagement Coaching Team, we have analyzed how we cold call and text workers using Hustle and have come up with some best practices. As we engaged in conversations with workers via Hustle, we have been able to help workers become aware of workplace issues and how that affects them personally. We also have been able to make them aware that UFCW is here to help them navigate through these difficult times, which has led to phone calls and Zoom meeting with workers, ultimately ending up in a virtual home call.”
“While coaching regional staff, it is evident that organizers are developing meaningful relationships with our members and potential members by having less transactional conversations,” Totty added. “During communications via Hustle, it became clear that when we communicate with workers reflectively using the conversation model, especially in seeking and giving, we can demonstrate how what we offer at the UFCW creates value for workers personally. Using opening, seeking, giving, and closing, also referred to as “O.S.G.C,” we are equipped to understand what is important to each worker and are giving the right information that has meaning for the worker and creating member-centric value. We are offering high leverage solutions when explaining value of being a UFCW member. As we navigate uncharted territory, we are continuing to build a better life for hard working men and women.”
UFCW locals from across the country have sent staff to reflective engagement trainings and are continuing to find success as they apply it to their organizing and outreach campaigns. If your local is interested in learning more about this innovative approach, contact Jenny Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.