President Donald Trump is making an impact at the office. Whether you love him or hate him, Trump-talk is dominating office cooler and break room conversation at work and brining a new level of intensity and conflict.
We are seeing three workplace challenges facing human resource departments since the inauguration of President Trump.
First, politics has always been a sensitive subject that many choose to leave outside the office, but since the election, the potential fallout from political conversation have intensified and this shift has had real implications at the office.
The increased presence and weight of political conversation outside of the workplace is putting pressure on what conversations spill into the office. Whether you love him or hate him, we all seem to be obsessed with the president, and since many of us spend the vast majority of the day at work, it is only natural that we have a need to speak about what’s going on in the outside world when we get to the office.
Another factor leading to new troubles at the office is the increased polarization of the conversation. Much has been said about the loss of the middle ground in political discourse of late. What in previous years might have been interesting water cooler break room conversation about politics, today risks falling to one side or the other of the, “love him or despise him,” camps.
Finally, recognize that the president was elected after shaking up some traditional political allegiances attracting supporters from constituencies that surprised a lot of people. We are seeing many people surprised to learn a colleague may not have voted how someone thought they would have voted and there are a lot of people who are confused, angry, or embarrassed on the one hand and elated, confident, and emboldened on the other, but it’s all over the map and doesn’t fall neatly along traditional lines.
We work with companies to train employees how to discuss complicated and sensitive conversations at work and your people can be prepared for the heightened sensitivity and potential dangers around political conversation. There are skills you can give your people to handle critical and difficult conversations at work. It’s best to give your people these skills before something blows up at work, but if it’s already hit the fan, then we can help calm things down and help you get people back focused on their work too.
I’ve always said that workplace communication is a skill set and increased intensities and polarities from the current political conversation is just the latest test of what corporate culture you have created and the skills with which you have equipped your people.
DB Pargman Consulting LLC is a corporate communications training provider specializing in workplace productivity communication. Headquartered in Atlanta, DB Pargman Consulting LLC serves a national client base of medium to large size companies, educational institutions, and government agencies.