As we get closer to the election, politics are more and more likely to become a common topic of conversation around the office. If you have a strong political preference, it can be difficult to navigate these topics with your coworkers who have differing views.
To help you keep things peaceful and professional, we’ve compiled a list of tips for navigating political conversations in the office.
Unless you work for a political campaign, there’s no reason to be discussing politics at work - and especially no reason to bring them up in an interview.
However, if you believe it is absolutely necessary to discuss your political views, do so with reason. Courtney, a Hiring Expert at ADP, points out that you must “be sure you can connect with the values and leadership within any organization.” Therefore, if you can’t justify a reason for bringing up your views (i.e., in an interview, a story about your political beliefs somehow showcases a value shared by the company), err on the side of caution and don’t mention them. More from Courtney
Be Aware Of Your Environment
Some spaces and companies naturally lend themselves to open discussion. Rachel, a Hiring Expert at Eaton, explains that “If you are in a very free-thinking company that encourages differing thoughts and ideas both personally and professionally, and they have company policies and procedures in place that support such discussions, you may be able to be freer with what you share and with whom.” More from Rachel
However, this won’t be the case with every company. Jamie, a Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries explains that because each company has a different policy, it’s important to “steer clear of speaking about Politics and Religion in most organizations, at least until you've been employed long enough to know the culture.” More from Jamie
Ultimately, Rachel points out that the easiest way to judge the environment is through the company’s policy guidelines. The best way to be sure talking politics won’t get you fired is to “Speak with your HR representative to understand clearly what is and is not acceptable at your company.” If you’re going to talk politics, make sure you’re in a setting where it’s allowable first. More from Rachel
Keep It Professional
If you do decide that your political beliefs need to be revealed and discussed in the office, speak about them rationally. Never belittle or attack someone else for their opinions, even if you disagree with the rationalization behind their beliefs.
As Stephanie, a Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., points out, “The conduct expected of me is to treat my peers, customers, clients, etc. with respect and consideration. Using that as my baseline has helped me avoid distressing anyone with my conduct.” Follow Stephanie’s example and remain civil, even in the case of disagreement. More from Stephanie
Politics are a tabooed subject for a reason. Although they might seem like good water cooler talk, keep your beliefs to yourself. If you must discuss your views, do so rationally after evaluating the environment.