So Rick Santorum bowed out of the race for the presidency last week. Do you know which of your staffers were disappointed and which were elated?
The odds are at least some of your finance staffers are talking politics in the office … and it may have even gotten ugly.
Check out some eye-opening stats from a recent survey by CareerBuilder:
- 36% of employees say they discuss politics at work, while
- 23% of those folks said the discussion has gotten heated or even escalated into a fight with someone else in the office – even a boss!
Even if it’s not a topic of conversation, plenty of people are taking to social media to express their political views. And if co-workers are Facebook friends or follow those people on Twitter, there’s yet another way this powder keg topic can creep into your department. (And people often tend to be a lot more forthcoming with their opinions online!)
With the upcoming presidential election, it’s only going to get worse. Nearly half (43%) of workers predict they’ll discuss the race for the White House with their co-workers.
Chipping away at the chatter
It’s a long time until Election Day, which means you want to act now to help keep Finance from becoming a political warzone for the next six months.
Here are a few strategies to help:
- See if you already have a policy banning political talk. And if not, push to put one in place. HR may already be on this considering how polarizing this election is expected to be. And if your organization already has a policy banning political discussions at work, now’s a good time to remind everyone of that. (Of course there’s no guarantee everyone will abide, but at least it sends the message your company has a definite position.)
- Keep the workplace neutral. Campaign signs, buttons, screen savers, etc., don’t belong on anyone’s desk. Run into claims that violates staffers’ First Amendment rights? Remind staffers the First Amendment protects freedom of speech from government action, not rules made by private entities, like an employer.
- Tell supervisors to be super sensitive. Even a little gentle jesting about Will’s conservative views may really upset him … or another less-vocal but just-as-conservative co-worker. Encourage your finance department leaders, formal and informal, to keep an ear out. And make sure they speak to anyone bringing up sensitive topics ASAP.
So has the political talk started in your finance department (or has it never left)? Tell us here.