3 Topics to Communicate to Your Workforce About Politics

by Oct 8, 2020

Yikes, last Tuesday’s debate was brutal to watch. There were insults flangin’ and slangin’ every which way, interruptions, talking over each other… a great example of incivility was displayed. No matter your political views, we can all agree that that debate was ugly.
I’m not here to talk politics though, I’m here to talk about politics in your workplace. Have your employees been having discussions about their favorite candidates or important issues?
While I don’t have many tips for you on the legal side of political speech in the workplace, I can provide insight into managing employee behavior and diffusing incivility during this election season.
Here are three topics you absolutely must cover with your workforce as the election draws near:
Managing political conversations is part of building a positive and inclusive culture. Communicate that part of being in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is diverse political beliefs. Despite differences, people must respect each other and not let those differences impact their relationships. You might lean on your core values as part of this messaging – everyone should understand the expectation for living the core values and how they apply to politics. You might also consider a training to remind people about what’s expected of them. (We’ve been doing a lot of those lately.)
Harassment is not tolerated. Remind your workforce that political conversations can easily turn into conversations about protected classes, and that harassment is not tolerated. If employees are talking about abortion, defunding the police, or anything else, the conversation can become a violation of the law.
You encourage voting and will do what you can to help people make it happen. The best way for people to be heard in an impactful way is to vote! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing a lot of media on the topic of voter suppression, people waiting in line for 8 hours to vote, and closing polls due to COVID. If voting is going to be hard this year, make it easier by offering the day off, for example, in order to be heard and counted.
I’ll be diving deeper into these topics on my upcoming webinar – Diffusing Incivility and Conflict During and After Election Season.
Make sure to tune in on October 22nd at 10:30 PST as I share strategies for navigating politics in the workplace to ensure a more positive and inclusive work environment. From training, to coaching behavior, to mediating conflict – I plan to give you everything I’ve got to prepare your organization for what’s expected to be a tumultuous election.
Oh, and I’ll be offering 1 SHRM PDC to everyone who attends!
Hope to see you there!

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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