Fi Elections

National Elections: How to Mitigate Employee Friction

Published by
11th June 2024

Election fever is currently a global phenomenon. European and Indian elections have already taken place – with UK, French, and US Presidential elections now in full cry. And at a time when politics is becoming increasingly polarized, probably the only thing we can all agree on is that almost everyone will have an opinion on this topic!

It was only last week that I overheard a heated debate outside my local supermarket, and it got me thinking about the fact that as we edge closer to voting day, tensions are likely to heat up in all aspects of life – including the workplace.  

However, if employers are proactively addressing conflicts stemming from political differences and promoting open communication and mutual understanding, they can help maintain a respectful and inclusive work environment for all employees throughout this period and beyond.

So, what can help in managing colleagues within a business when their political views are not aligned, and their point of view is strong?

  • Respect Differences – encourage an environment of mutual respect and tolerance for diverse opinions. Remind your team that it’s okay to have different political views as long as they are expressed respectfully.
  • Focus on Common Goals – remind colleagues of the shared goals and values that bring your team together. Encourage everyone to focus on work-related objectives rather than engaging in political debates that may lead to conflict.
  • Set Clear Boundaries – make it clear that political discussions should not interfere with work productivity or create a hostile work environment. Outline guidelines for discussing sensitive topics in a professional manner in a designated neutral space if they feel the need to do so (and this should be outside of work).
  • Lead by Example – as a manager, demonstrate respect for differing opinions and maintain a neutral stance in political discussions. Avoid expressing your own political views in the workplace to prevent bias.
  • Encourage Open Dialogue – ensure you have a psychologically safe space for colleagues to express their concerns or feelings about the political climate. Encourage constructive conversations that promote understanding and empathy.
  • Provide Support – if tensions escalate or conflicts arise due to political differences, step in to mediate and provide support to help resolve the situation. A neutral third party, such as a manager or HR representative, can facilitate these discussions.
  • Promote Diversity and Inclusion – emphasise the value of diversity in the workplace and the importance of creating an inclusive environment where all voices are heard and respected, regardless of political beliefs.
  • Encourage Respectful Communication – remind employees to engage in respectful dialogue and to listen to each other’s viewpoints without resorting to personal attacks or heated arguments.
  • Provide Training – offer training on conflict resolution and communication skills to help employees navigate disagreements constructively. This can empower them to address conflicts in a positive and collaborative manner.
  • Reinforce Company Values – remind employees of the company’s values and policies that promote diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect. Emphasize the importance of maintaining a positive work environment free of discrimination or harassment.
  • Address Inappropriate Behaviour – political discussions that lead to harassment, discrimination, or other inappropriate behaviour should be addressed promptly according to company policies and procedures. Employees should understand that such behaviour is not tolerated in the workplace.
  • HR Support – if conflicts persist or escalate, encourage employees and managers to ask the HR department to provide guidance and support in resolving the issues. Highlight how we can offer interventions, mediation services, and additional resources to address workplace conflicts effectively.

Navigating the tensions that politics can bring, as well as the stresses that accompany it, requires an approach that is both proactive and compassionate. By ensuring that company values remain promoted, as well as a culture of respect and belonging, employers will be able to effectively support their people and avoid any blows to productivity and engagement.

To discuss how we can help weave inclusion and belonging into your company culture, please get in touch with me at

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