Politics is one subject where, now more than ever, everyone has an opinion, and those opinions are often polarizing. Sharing political thoughts in the workplace can be dangerous for employees, as it can foster a toxic environment, create uncomfortable dynamics, and can even lead to firings. This has caused several companies to rethink policies on political speech in the workplace.
But is it worth it for companies to implement a political discussion policy in their workplace?
According to a recent survey published by Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in Washington, D.C., 41% of companies have a policy that outlines or regulates political expression in the workplace, but only 27% of employees think their companies should have a political expression policy.
Implementing policies that can censor employees tends to be unpopular. If you think about it, however, the positives of adding a policy outweigh the negatives.
You’ve probably heard the old maxim that one should never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. That has some strong basis. When’s the last time that a person has ever convinced someone else to change their mind about a policy or politician over a steak dinner?
The same idea translates at work. In five minutes at the watercooler, an employee will not convince others that a certain viewpoint is right. Best-case scenario, everyone agrees. At worst, things become uncomfortable or hostile — affecting company culture.