Welcome to Ask an Expert Business Series with Misty Lambrecht, the owner of Webfoot Marketing and Design, sharing valuable insights based on her extensive 15 years of experience in business startups and advising in Lincoln County. In today's world, political discussions can quickly find their way into the workplace, impacting not
just employee interactions but also customer relations. I can personally relate to this issue as I've worked in an environment where politically charged emails were circulated among all staff, political newsletters sent to work email, and political discussions assuming everyone agreed caused uncomfortable tension. Discussions escalated into heated arguments later leading to a breakdown in communication on essential business matters among staff.
There are potential pitfalls of bringing politics into the business environment. Political
discussions can create divisions and animosity among employees, leading to a hostile work
environment. Differing political views may result in strained working relationships and decreased team cohesion. Making no political policy discussion within your work environment including no political clothing, no passing political material, no emails, wearing earphones if you choose to listen to political news at work and no candidate discussion openly among staff.
Taking a political stance can alienate customers who hold opposing views. They may choose to take their business elsewhere, causing financial repercussions. Expressing strong political
opinions as a business may draw unwanted attention, and not always the positive kind. It can
make your business a target for activists or critics who disagree with your views. Just as public
opinion on political topics can shift rapidly, your stance on a trending issue might later be proven wrong or based on incomplete information, leading to reputational damage.
If political discussions arise, establish ground rules to maintain a civil and respectful
Encourage employees to focus on work-related matters. Offer training to help
employees understand the potential consequences of political discussions. Make them aware
of the impact on staff unity and customer relationships. Be cautious about your business's
online presence. Encourage a workplace culture that is free from discrimination based on
political beliefs. Instead of taking political stances, focus on corporate social responsibility. Support causes and initiatives that promote positive change and align with your business values without taking political sides.
The intersection of politics and business can be a treacherous one, leading to division, customer loss, and unwanted attention. Maintaining neutrality is often the safest path for businesses, allowing them to focus on their core mission and values. Crafting a clear business personal policy statement, setting ground rules, and fostering inclusivity can help create a harmonious work environment where differing political views do not disrupt the overarching goal of the business. Businesses that prioritize unity and respect for diverse opinions are better positioned o thrive and build lasting relationships with both employees and customers.