Political discussions at the workplace usually seep into the performance, especially under circumstances of political turmoil in the country. During such polarized debates among the employees, HR managers usually find themselves in the middle. Such political or even religious polarizations sometimes place the HR managers in a really awkward position.
For example, employees start wearing t-shirts and using cups and diaries with the political slogans of their respective parties, which hurts others. These sentimental issues are reported to HR where HR has to come up with new rules and way-outs. Below are a few ways to cope with political discussions at the workplace.
- Setting examples from the top is the best way to ensure a stable work environment. For instance, if the managers express and enforce their political biases in the workplace, the lower staff would follow. Therefore, HR managers should, first of all, reach out to the top management for ensuring that no such political discussions at the workplace are being carried out.
- Establishing office policies that aim at discouraging the expression of political, religious, or community-led biases could produce results. Since the biases lead to the creation of groups at the workplace, such practices in the long-run harm the business values and overall development. Obviously, no company can completely ban the political discussions, it is considered illegal, but a policy framework can draw the lines.
- Holding training sessions for inculcating the tolerance and values among the employees is another way to settle the situation. This training should also reinforce the difference between the concept of expressing an opinion and enforcing an opinion.
- The HR manager should coordinate with the organization’s CSR committee to ensure that no CSR should be done on a political basis. Otherwise, it would not only strengthen the political discussions in the workplace but will also jeopardize the success of the business.
- Limiting or banning the pictorial manifestations at the workplace that are related to political campaign posters, bumpers, or other awareness brochures could stop the workforce from indulging in pointless debates. Furthermore, political programs should be kept off the office televisions, even in restrooms.
- The HR management could keep on encouraging apolitical debates in the workplace. The work-related constructive and insightful discussions and events could be held frequently. It must be enforced that the primary responsibility of every employee is to do what they are hired for. Polarized debates are never part of their job.