You can spend five minutes on Facebook to see how divided Americans are as far as political beliefs. People are very passionate and concerned when it comes to deciding who gets to run our amazing country-as they should be. Many employees say the election has them avoiding conversations with their colleagues because of differing political views. While the election is long over, these passionate feelings haven’t gone away and probably won’t until the next election. To keep differences, disagreements, and even grudges from growing and festering in the workplace due to strong feelings and beliefs, it’s essential to start building bridges and healing rifts now.
Leadership can most definitely bring employees together to help them focus harmoniously on common goals and successes. Here are a few other ways to keep the peace in the workplace:
It’s important to direct energy elsewhere now that the election is over and a decision for who is President has been made. Find your common bond with your coworkers. Find a community cause or issue you both hold dear. Work together to make a difference. You may not be able to make a difference on the national spectrum, but YOU can make a HUGE positive impact on your community by volunteering. Volunteering promotes camaraderie and teamwork and raising money for a local food bank or pet rescue only brings positive results.
Focus on organizational goals and mission.
Leadership can remind employees of the organization’s short- and long-term goals. Set a few target goals and establish ways for teams to work together to achieve these. Not only does it bring a little competition, but it brings fun and positive benefits to the company. Celebrate the successes of the teams (even the small ones!) as a group and recognize the contributions each person brings to the table.
Create communities with commonalities.
Encourage employees to create special interest groups and activities that unite people around positive passions and pursuits. This could include book clubs, lunchtime walking/ fitness groups, Wine club (done at home at course), baking club (bring your favorite treats a certain day of the week), Netflix club (trade the books for movies or documentaries), arranging off work day play dates, Recipe club, etc.
Focus on learning/ mentoring.
Leadership can step up professional training opportunities for employees via webinars, podcasts, or online education. Give employees something to work for and earn with an end goal such as bonus or increase in pay or time off.
Work on stress reduction.
Conflict often arises when people are stressed out and exhausted, which many people are after a hard day’s work, through a stressful election, and especially as the pandemic continues. Remind employees and coworkers to not forget caring for their mental health. It is typically the last thing addressed on people’s health spectrum. Virtual yoga or healthy cooking classes can help reduce stress and unite employees if they decide to do these events together. Having mutual goals of feeling better and being healthier not only unites employees, but having an accountability partner increases positive results.
Leadership can remind employees about organizational policies related to workplace behavior. Keep work the common goal and model civil behavior in your interactions with people at all levels.
The goal isn’t to make all employees to think an agree on all issues facing our country and even the organization. Diversity breeds depth, creative problem-solving, and innovation. Organizations can grow through many different opinions and suggestions. If arguments and crisis arise, turn your focus on the common goals and mutual interests and remind the team that contributions as each person and as a team matter and truly make a difference.