After the Election: The American Workforce – Are we Still a Team?
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As the American President-elect was announced in the early morning hours, many predictions followed. Few are exploring the impact on the workplace. The line between work and life, blurring for the past 20 years, allow for the strong emotions we feel at home to impact who we are at work. Like many workplaces around the world, we have a diverse workforce at Retensa, including American and International colleagues who exist across the political spectrum. Our assumptions about the next four years generates excitement, sadness, or even anger.
We discovered early on in our discussions that no matter what, we are still a team.
How we choose to move forward in turbulence and uncertainty can help strengthen or weaken the meaningful work we do. Each of our expectations, values, and intentions for this company’s culture are as true today as one week ago. We want to share with you how we focus on strengthening our team, which you can consider bringing to your workplace:
Leadership: Build Unity through Inclusion
In any crises, we look to our leaders for guidance. Ensure that leadership communicates the importance of the team regardless of how someone voted. Highlight the impact, if any, from the election to your company or to your clients. Focus your organization on working together. Let everyone know what resources they have available, such as an anonymous box for feedback, counseling resources, or open door policies. The most dangerous thing for any leader to do when your workforce is divided is to choose a side. Dismissing a group is nearly the surest way to enrage them.
Identify the Noise: Pulse Your Employees
The quickest way to understand what is going on in your organization right now is to ask for feedback. We use the TalentPulse platform to instantly survey anyone (including remote employees) at any time. A short 5 or 6 question survey can be sent when a big event occurs (e.g. change in location, leadership, or resources) to gauge how best to manage the issues before they hit the workplace. In this case, we crafted questions that unpack what impact this has on teams, individual’s lives, and relationships. Including both multiple-choice and open-ended questions help understand how the organization can provide support, and shows employees that listening matters.
Conflict Management: Leverage your Tools
We do our best to leverage the tools and practices we provide to our clients. If your employees have already had training on how to manage stress, or conflict, consider providing a refresher Conflict Management course and highlight how they can manage difficult conversations (internal and external). To make sure our team is most prepared to manage their lives in and out of the office, we also reviewed tools from our Communication course. Listening with intention brings the empathy that rebuilds connections.
Create Opportunities to Unite
People disagreed, and it may have pushed them apart. Now create opportunities for your organization to come together. Over the next few weeks, we have scheduled more departmental breakfasts, after-work events, team games, and food tastings for all of our team members. We recommend keeping topics light and fun while supporting your culture. If you are looking to improve employee morale, create “play” time that supports the values you want to see in the workplace.
Very few company’s staff all voted for one candidate. If your employees are affected, the organization is affected. It would be a mistake for leadership to pretend that everything is the same as it was before. Build unity through messaging, pulse your employees to uncover the truth about where people are right now, leverage communication tools, and create opportunities to be a team together.
Feel free to reach out if you want more information on how to roll out these services at your organization. And for Retensa’s team members, partners, and clients – we are here to support you to keep engaging and inspiring your workforce at every opportunity.
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