Politics and Workplace Civility

Are contentious political conversations impacting your workplace? According to a recent survey, 31% of American workers believe productivity is suffering due to political discussions in the workplace. So what can employers do to tackle this problem?

This MSEC Bulletin article addresses the legal considerations of political speech in the workplace, but what about the impact on business environment and results?

One strategy is to proactively address this as part of a larger effort to enhance workplace civility. Here are basic steps to encourage civil behavior among employees:

  • Hire Right: When interviewing, include questions about civil behaviors; listen attentively to responses and look for specific examples. When reference checking, ask pointed questions and listen carefully.
  • Define Expectations: Discuss your code of conduct on Day 1 of a new employee’s hire.
  • Model Civil Behavior: Leadership must set the tone and consistently model desired civil behaviors.
  • Acknowledge: Communicate to your employees that diverse political beliefs exist in the workplace; despite that, employees must treat each other respectfully and not let political differences negatively impact their work.
  • Train: Don’t assume employees understand pat phrases like “Appropriate and Professional Behavior”. Instead, discuss common workplace issues and provide examples of acceptable behaviors.
  • Consequences: Draft policies that define consequences of uncivil behavior and hold offenders at all levels accountable.

Take steps today to address uncivil workplace behaviors, and give us a call if you need help!