Not only are 78 percent ofworkers discussing politics with their colleagues, 47 percent sayit's affecting their ability to do their jobs. (Photo:Shutterstock)

|

It's not even here yet, but the 2020 presidential election is taking a toll onthe American workforce—something employers probably aren't toohappy about.

|

According to a February 2020 Gartner survey, not only are 78 percent ofworkers discussing politics with their colleagues, 47 percent saythat the upcoming presidential election is affecting their abilityto get their jobs done. Productivity isn't the only thing taking ahit; collaboration and employee morale are also being affected.

|

Related: 2020 vision: Avoiding political pitfalls in theyear to come

|

"During times of social and political change, employees expectmore conscious action and policy from their organizations," saidGartner's Brian Kropp, chief of research for its HR practice. "Tominimize the negative impacts of politics on the workplace, HRleaders must ensure that employee emotions and behaviors associatedwith the current political environment don't distract and disengagethe workforce or create a hostile work environment."

|

Even if people aren't planning to get involved at the ballotbox, they're certainly involved at work. Among the survey'sfindings are these disturbing statistics. A third are spending moretime seeking out political news about the 2020 election at work,but 36 percent are avoiding working with or talking to colleaguesbecause of their political views.

|

And when they are still communicating, 31 percent of employeeswho do talk politics at work say those conversations are stressfuland/or frustrating—and 26 percent say the election has had amoderate or a big impact on their ability to do their jobs.

|

Gartner suggests that as the election draws closer, employersought take proactive steps to keep a handle on politicaldiscussions in the workplace:

  • Determine the right political expression policies forthe organization. Employers shouldensure employees are aware of prohibited activities and behaviors,as well as what sort of disciplinary action they'll be in for ifthey violate those policies. These policies should takeinto account any state and local laws governing what is permissiblein the workplace, as well as what impact political expression willhave on the workplace.
  • Emphasize the organization's commitment to diversityand inclusion. Gartner pointed out that just in Februaryof this year, 29 percent of employees saw "at least one instance ofunacceptable treatment of a coworker because of their politicalbeliefs, including being called offensive names, being avoided bycolleagues or being treated unfairly." This necessitates anemployer being on top of the need to provide a safe environment inwhich the election can be discussed without bullying, harassmentand other negative behavior.
  • Equip managers to support employees andaddress political conflict. Managers need to be able tokeep an eye on political discussions, model the behavior theyexpect from employees and recognize the need to step in on behalfof distressed employees if it becomes necessary.

Read more: 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.