- Politics makes for prime conversation in today’s workplaces: Three in five respondents to a Glassdoor/Harris Poll survey last month said they’ve discussed politics with colleagues at work over the past year. There’s also a gender gap when it comes to these conversations: Men are more likely than women to talk politics with co-workers, according to the survey’s Nov. 2 results.
- While most workers are comfortable with colleagues who have very different political views from their own, members of Gen Z were the least likely to share this sentiment. Younger workers are also less comfortable with politically diverse workplaces and are more sensitive when senior execs have political views different from theirs.
- One finding highlights a delicate issue for organization leaders: A majority of workers said they feel supported when their company takes a public stance on political issues they care about, but fewer said employers in general should take public stances on political issues such as abortion, immigration or LGBTQ rights.
Workers have strong, if not divisive, opinions about what’s going on in the world. Tension about current events — and the demand by many workers for their employers to take a stance — requires carefully thought-out responses from organizations and HR professionals, surveys indicate.
Half of the workers who responded to the ResumeBuilder survey said they want companies to issue a statement about the Israel-Hamas war, and at the companies that did issue statements, 83% of workers were either somewhat or very satisfied with the action, the survey found.
Care may be required during elections, too: More than one-third of employees responding to Glassdoor’s survey said they would not apply to open roles at a company if the company’s CEO supported a political candidate they didn’t agree with.
The issues go beyond retention; they may also play a role in recruitment. For instance, employers that announced changes to their benefits or made known their support of reproductive healthcare after the Supreme Court ended the protections of Roe v. Wade saw an 8% increase in clicks on job postings compared to similar companies that did not, according to an August analysis by Indeed and Glassdoor.
However, the higher a given employer’s share of employees in a state that banned abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the less likely the company was to make a public announcement of new or enhanced reproductive health benefits, Indeed said. It interpreted this as evidence the announcements were more about signaling company culture than announcing a benefit the company expected many employees to take up.
Almost a quarter of the workforce say they love talking about politics at work, yet nearly all admit that over the course of their careers, they’ve seen workplace discussions about politics get uncomfortable, a Society for Human Resource Management exective told HR Dive last year.
But telling people not to talk politics at work won’t work in today’s workplaces, he said; a better approach is to give people the skills they need to help them cope with and manage these discussions. People managers should also know how to be empathetic, understand a situation and deescalate the interaction if someone’s safety is potentially at risk, he added.