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 ( http://msecbulletin.msec.org/2016/09/political-speech-in-the-workplace/) 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!

 

*Clutch survey: https://clutch.co/hr/resources/policies-regarding-politics-workplace