The Race to 270 is over. Now what?

It’s been forty-eight hours since Former President Joe Biden has been the projected winner of the 2020 presidential elections. Rumors of civil unrest have been growing in major US cities such as Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Authorities have had to shut down several pro-Trump supporters’ demonstrations throughout the week of November 2nd to November 8th to prevent the disruption of the counting of the electoral votes. Anti-Trump supporters such as Stand Up America, a nationwide activist group, have organized hundreds of local events to support the counting of elections and are ready to mobilize a national coalition to prevent Trump supporters from undermining election counting operations or sabotaging the results.

The worst is that this social unrest is observed online on many social media platforms. An article by the Financial Times stated that “calls” for pro-Trump supporters to attend a protest at the Detroit, Michigan vote-counting station late on Tuesday were made via a private Facebook group of 79,000 followers. Another Facebook group called the “Stop the Steal” grew in a couple of days to a following of a hundred thousand people with the mission to stop the alleged fraud committed by the democrats. Some even posted, “Get out your guns and take over the streets.”

The Financial Times continued its citation by stating that:

"many extremism experts have flagged the risk of electoral violence for weeks, citing a recent rise in extremist groups, online campaigning, political polarization, a high-stakes election and the impact of dueling rival protests over the summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, some of which turned violent."

In all to say this, if employers want their workplace to be free of such violent behaviors, criticism, or prejudice, they need to be aware of what is happening in the nation’s streets. They must set methods to keep their work environment free from destructive electoral discussions and provide guidance and support to employees deeply impacted by the electoral outcomes. Here are some explicit but straightforward solutions the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends.

 

Keep the Workplace Productive with SHRM Solutions

Earlier this year, a survey conducted by Reflective showed that 54 percent of its 1,000 participants said that if their candidate loses this election, it will impact their work performance. Over 75.5 million American voters celebrate Joe Biden’s victory, while 71.1 million Americans are disappointed, bitter, and perhaps enraged by the outcome.

What should employers and managers do to manage the heavy emotional atmosphere? And let us not forget, we are still living in a post-pandemic climate with millions of Americans unemployed, quarantined, working with kids at home, sick, or fighting against contracting Covid-19. Meanwhile, many others are fighting for the racial injustice, socio-economic disparities, and discrimination observed over the summer.

In light of these events and recent elections, mental health issues may have reached a new peak. The emotional state of US employees should not be taken lightly.

  • Create a safe zone for open discussion and start talking !
    A wise person said the first step to deal with an issue is to start talking. But one cannot just lash out to say whatever they’d like to say whenever they’d like to say it. That’s why creating an open space for communication with rules and boundaries is extremely important.

    The Chief Human Resource Officer of Reflective, Rachel Ernst, encourages business leaders, particularly HR administrators, to revisit their diversity and inclusion guidelines for direction; to make sure everyone feels included. If their organization does not have one, they should create one. In addition, use active listening and empathy to support your employees through the discussion.

    Finally, share the mental health resources offered through an employee assistance program. Ernst provides additional strategies to guide employees’ conversations:

    • Speak from your own experience.
    • Never invalidate someone else’s experience.
    • Remind employees they are responsible for their statements and actions, and their impact on their colleagues.
    • Be nonpartisan and objective while also being authentic. Share feelings rather than opinions.
  • Recognize Anxieties
    Employers should let their employees know they care by acknowledging their worries and well-being. Lindsay Lagreid, the senior advisor of the Limeade Institute, said, “Having the CEO or another well-known leader of the business post a video that acknowledges the situation [of the presidential elections] and encourages them [employees] to take care of themselves is helpful…”

    Besides, Lagreid encourages executives to inform their managers to check in with their employees regularly. Take the time to ask, ‘How are you doing, really?’ She says it is OK to talk about the election’s emotional impact, especially if it is important to the employee.

    One of the benefits of showing employee support is increased loyalty. A LinkedIn survey reported that 69% of employees would improve their work performance if their efforts were appreciated and valued.

  • Give Space
    In addition to allowing employees and managers to share their feelings and opinions on the recent 2020 presidential elections, SHRM recommends giving employees space to digest the rich informational content shared on the news and online media. Creative ideas shared were canceling any physical or virtual meetings on November 3rd and 4th, 2020. Some companies choose not to publish any commercial content to reduce distractions. Others even provided employees time to vote, volunteer in local socio-political events, and engage in self-care.

There are many more ways that employers can use their resources to support their employees at work. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our hotline at 1 (800) 776 – 0076. XcelHR is here to help you Xcelerate the growth of your business.