In recent years, as political escalation has arisen in different parts of the world, politics, which was once a taboo topic of conversation, has become an almost unavoidable subject, even in the workplace.
Here are four tips by Glassdoor to navigate politics at work:
1. Know your audience
Before launching into a conversation about politics at work, it’s best to do a check-in with those around you to see if your colleagues are willing to have a light conversation. Get a clear sense of who you’re engaging with and make the conversation optional. If you are trying to start a conversation with a colleague whose perspective you know to be different than your own, consider saying, “I know we’re probably on opposite sides of the issue, and I’m really curious about what you think.”
2. Exit conversations that you don't want to be involved in, saying:
- I’ve had enough political conversations with my family. For now, I’m taking a break.
- I’ve put myself on a newsbreak. I need to step away sometimes – it’s refreshing to have a hiatus.
If you know that a colleague is not open to these kind of conversations, respect him or her.
3. Focus on common ground
While you and your co-workers may not always agree on politics, you probably have core values that you share. Get back to those basics that bind you together.
4. (FOR HR) Organise employee focus groups
Designating an employee focus groups gives employees space to discuss politics, news and world events, whether it is through physical meetings, emails or messaging apps.
“Typically when organisations have these groups, they are allowing for freedom of speech and they have some guidelines. Usually, it’s something like: ‘It’s ok to disagree, but we’re not going to say things that are rooted in hate, make threats or use unprofessional language.’ So, they are inviting people to have a constructive dialogue.”