Social injustice, civil rights, and discrimination issues have been long-standing issues in the workplace for years and affect businesses across the nation in some way. During these times of social unrest, employees may experience mental health issues and lower engagement. Oftentimes, employees look to employers for a stance on social issues or some sort of support for their employees during these times. However, businesses may face the challenging decision on the fine line between taking a political stance and demonstrating support for all walks of life.
So how can employers manage workplace politics and effectively support employees without crossing ethical boundaries? Here are some tips for addressing workplace politics and social unrest.
Foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have only grown more relevant in the workplace over the years. With social unrest on the heels of breaching the workplace culture, it is imperative for employers to initiate diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies to promote a healthier, stronger workplace culture. Instilling a safe, inclusive workplace is the best response to such socially charged events.
Consider implementing an employee assistance program (EAP).
EAPs are employer-sponsored programs that extend services or referrals to assist employees with personal issues, such as familial, financial, legal, medical, and professional. An EAP should include resources, tools, and professional guidance to help employees navigate stressors that may be a result of social unrest.
Acknowledge your dedication to support employees.
Sometimes the best way to ensure your support for your employees is tangible and real is simply communicating that. Simply showing that you care can reinforce employee engagement and satisfaction. A simple organizational statement on commitment to supporting employees and their well-being amid social unrest can make a meaningful impact.
Develop formal policies and procedures for conflict resolution.
Social unrest can cause workplace conflict between co-workers. Developing formal policies and procedures addressing these issues can provide guidance on mediating conflicts, stating clear repercussions for engaging in unethical or unacceptable workplace behavior (i.e., harassment, violence), and resources to de-escalate a situation can help prevent future conflicts.
Your formal policies and procedures should include a clear tone for appropriate workplace behavior, guidelines for respecting said policies and procedures, and following OSHA regulations. Civil disturbances and workplace violence are covered in OSHA’s definition of “workplace emergency.” Familiarize yourself with relevant laws, regulations, and best practices for workplace conflicts and resolution to better prepare, prevent, and address any future incidents.
Craft a strategy for safeguarding your business.
If your business is located in an area experiencing heightened social unrest, it is critical for businesses to remain proactive in mitigating risks and prioritizing employees’ safety. In reviewing your strategy, consider the following precautions:
- Evaluate vulnerable property liabilities
- Address security measures, such as installing security cameras, doors and windows locked, and investing in an alarm system
- Modify work schedules
- Train employees on best practices for addressing workplace conflicts
Navigating workplace conflicts, especially in times of social unrest, can be difficult for businesses. To better support your employees and protect your business, please contact VensureHR. Our HR specialists have years of industry experience to provide human resources best practices, tools, and resources to ensure your workplace remains safe, happy, and inclusive.