The Workplace Word: How to Navigate Your Employees’ Political Expressions

Oh, 2020. Thanks to a world-wide pandemic, clashes over racial injustice, economic struggles and more, it’s become one of the most politically charged election years in decades. Yet somehow we have made it to this day, November 3 – aka Election Day.

While we’re used to people expressing their political views in their personal lives, this year it’s become more and more common for employees to do so in the workplace as well (both in-person, if they’re back in the office, and virtually). Recent research by Robert Half found that 22% of professionals feel it’s appropriate to discuss politics with colleagues, while 26% believe it’s never okay and just over half (53%) feel it depends on the situation.

Regardless of who wins this election, you can bet that employees will be expressing their feelings over the coming days and weeks. If they haven’t already, companies need to decide how to navigate the issues this can cause among employees with differing views, while also allowing for legitimate, respectful political expression. It can be a tough line to walk, and many brands – like Goodyear, Newport News Shipbuilding, Starbucks, Wholefoods and Costco, to name a few – have already dealt with employee and public backlash related to this issue this year.

While there’s no right or wrong answers, here are some considerations and recommendations for companies:

Every month, we’re highlighting stories, trends and tips related to employee engagement and workplace culture that organizations should be keeping top-of-mind in order to engage, retain and recruit top talent. Check back next month for more.

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