It appears this election has been one of the most exhausting in our history. Many Presidential Historians and Unaffiliated Political Analysts, have also declared that our election results were extremely unique, because of the massive focus on class based, racial and regional voting divides. In addition, according to most unaffiliated researchers, based on existing data, there is a massive difference in the electorates beliefs and perception about the President elect, Donald Trump. The other candidate, Hillary Clinton, had she been elected, it appears from data and research, would have engendered the same massive differences in beliefs and perceptions.
It appears that emotions after the elections are extreme, and swing in either direction–joy or fury. I enjoin everyone to maintain an open mind, and eagerly expect GOOD outcomes over time, as opposed to embracing extreme fear or unwarranted anger. Many employees sincerely believe that we have elected a president who finally represents the older and greater version of America, with its strong values and familiar societal structure. Other employees believe that his election represents a return to Jim Crow hate, and an embrace of modern methods of “lynching” minority groups by discrimination and other violations. These are ALL perceptions at this time. Yes, a lot of negative things were posited during the elections, but nothing as happened at this time to engender a emotional hysteria of any sort. Instead have an attitude of positive expectation. That is the better approach to all change.
It is unwise to allow your life to be driven by untested assumptions– regarding events which have not occurred. According to reporting during the elections, both candidates were both hugely imperfect in historic proportions. Therefore, based on statistics, data and reporting collected during the elections, it appears that we would have elected a very polarizing figure, no matter who was selected. However, ours is a strong democracy, and the candidate chosen by the majority wins. Great Nationalist Leader or a polarizing president elect, no matter your analysis or belief, the fundamental goal is to prevent any election based polarization, from fracturing our workplaces. Political polarization at work, generally creates an unhealthy culture of fear and suspicion— which often results in long term conflict, and measurably reduced productivity.
Here are some guidelines for boosting organizational and employee growth, healing and collaboration. To foster a spirit of peace and teamwork, the outcome of the elections/change should be addressed in a practical and effective manner:
Train managers on how to discuss the outcomes of the election with employees. Their job is to explain that the election is part of a democracy, and that is the American way. Despite the conspiracy theories of Russian manipulation of election results making its rounds in many offices, there is no valid proof of it! Someone had to win at every level, and someone did.
Acknowledge the feelings of fear and concern of minorities— especially fears by members of certain religious groups, people from other countries, temporary immigrant workers, women and people of color. The assurance to these employees from religious and minority groups should be predicated on our Constitution and Organizational Fairness/Justice— as embodied in organizational policies and the Law. Employees should also be reminded that America has a justice system, in which people can seek redress in event of injustice at work, or away from work.
Mandate training on implicit and explicit bias as soon as possible, and continue it on a regular and scheduled basis. Based on the data obtained from such implicit and explicit bias training, continue providing tools to executives and all employees, to enable them recognize their biases and overcome them. PS: We ALL have Implicit Biases, not because we are bad people, but because we are human.
Do not dissuade people from exercising their Constitutional rights to stage protests AWAY from work. Yes, we recognize the right to protest against whatever injustice an employee perceives has occurred in the election, however, this cannot be staged, at work.
Be active and proactive in eradicating fear, despair and conflict. Focus on team building, kindness projects and other activities to enhance cohesiveness and trust. Strongly encourage an awareness among your supervisors, about the possibility of a general perception by employees of of the work environment as biased, corrupt and non-inclusive.
Monitor religious freedoms at work. This is one of the most polarizing issues of this election, and it cannot be ignored—because it could have measurable consequences on employee productivity, organizational profits, and teamwork. In the past day, we have been contacted about a few instances where Documented Indian employees have been deliberately and wrongly been informed by supervisors, that they should await deportation. Such threats are wrong, and actionable, and employees who make such threats should be disciplined. The workplace should not be one of fear, otherwise it has a domino effect on other employees, and work processes.
Our humanity does not cease when we are at work. Successful and Progressive Human Resources Professionals, recognize that high performing teams view employees as humans first. The jubilation, wounds and fears from this long and exhausting election, must be addressed with employees for a healing process at work. Otherwise, over time, unaddressed tension will create toxicity in the organizational culture, and could reduce productivity and collaboration at work.
Despite the sometimes extreme rhetoric about certain groups during this election, let us remember they were made during a political environment, in an election campaign. Remind employees that the Law, Regulations and Organizational Policies regarding equal treatment, are Constitutionally guaranteed. Based on historical antecedents, political rhetoric, no matter how strange, do not always translate into adverse action against particular groups in our society. We are a nation of Laws.
The most efficient way to work and live, is to face the future with hope, optimism and excitement. Do not feed on fear, hate and hysteria, it is damaging to do so. Do not make negative assumptions about your fellow employees, no matter what candidates or ballot initiatives they supported. Instead, rise above the negative chatter, and be positive and collaborative at work.
Whether you decide to be positive during times of change, is a CHOICE, your choice. For your success and joy at work and away from work, we encourage you not to focus on uncertainty. Change brings some uncertainty, it is always does. This is no different. Instead of worry, gloating or fear, expect the BEST of this change. Be buoyed by your hope, and uplifted by your unwavering ability to create success for yourself and others. Drive the events in your life positively, daily. Be unstoppable.
Be hopeful, Be strong, Be HUMANE.
I wish you well.