How to Keep the Peace in the Office During Political Unrest

“According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, more than 1 in 4 employees have been negatively affected by discussions about the election at work, and are divided along gender and generational lines.” (Source: Aberdeen Essentials)

With so many Americans uncomfortable and unsettled about the future of the country, how much is it impacting what’s happening in the workplace? Do you feel the tension or see more arguments? Is the political situation impacting productivity? Are employees so distracted by the noise that they are responding as if it were an internal change and engagement suffers? I’m sure the answers to a few of these questions are YES.politics

As a Human Resources professional, how can you help reduce the impact of the current situation on your organization? “According to a recent study conducted by the Society of Human Resources, only a third of companies have a formal strategy in place for dealing with these situations.”1 As I’ve discussed in prior blog posts, any time there is fear, uncertainty and doubt, the best thing to do is over communicate with employees. In the “Identifying Hidden Bias” post, “Even those of us who intend to be or think we are inclusive cast judgment based on race, age, gender and disabilities.” Now, this may extend to differences in political perspectives.

Here are some tips for how to help keep your company’s productivity up and keep bias out of the workplace:

  1. Remind employees to be respectful and non-judgmental about their coworkers’ opinions.
  2. Communicate what conversations and behavior are tolerated in your workplace.
  3. Make sure the culture invites people to speak their minds appropriately and feel safe requesting help dealing with uncomfortable situations.
  4. Suggest that employees “know their audience” before making political jokes If you don’t know your audience, you don’t know how it will be received, so err on the side of caution.
  5. Managers should be particularly careful expressing their opinions due to the unequal relationship. Set the tone from the top by making sure managers respect the views of others.2

Have you seen productivity declining given the political unrest? Do you have any other suggestions for how to minimize the impact? Let me know. 

Sources:
1 – http://www.aberdeenessentials.com/hcm-essentials/workplace-culture-productivity-aftermath-election/
2 – https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/office-politics.aspx

By | 2017-05-24T18:21:47+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Culture, Diversity, Employee Engagement|0 Comments

About the Author:

Karen Gobler
Karen Gobler is a change management communications expert skilled in designing and driving communication campaigns that maintain employee morale and productivity, which often decline during transition. She brings a depth of leadership experience from multiple industries, including managing successful communications through six mergers and acquisitions, numerous executive changes, brand rollouts and product launches. Karen has transformed employee engagement pre- and post-change with campaign development, situational planning and contingency strategies.