The global workforce today is the most diverse and blended in the history of humankind. We have Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and now iGen all working and living together. Simultaneously, we are more vocal and outspoken than ever before as well. It’s an incredible challenge for human resource departments to manage the various personalities, morals, and beliefs evenly and fairly.
If you turn on the news, you will see that protests are happening more frequently all over the county–and the world, for that matter. I believe a huge part of this comes from social media, because social media shines a light on areas where there was darkness. It also gives a microphone to those who would otherwise not have one, and subsequently, everyone wants to be heard.
There have been political demonstrations and protests regarding police brutality in places like Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, New York, Louisiana, Washington, California, and Arizona. These protests have gone international with demonstrations in London, Berlin, and Amsterdam.
In Tennessee, a major bridge was shut down for several hours as 1,000 protesters gathered, causing major gridlock and problems for warehouse managers, truck drivers, and supply chain logistics for local businesses. Between wages, fuel costs, and billable hours and overtime for police officers, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost.
Are you prepared if politics and protests collide at work? Here are some real-life examples.
One day an employee wears a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt to work. Another employee is offended by this action, which prompts him to wear an “Blue Lives Matter” t-shirt the next day. And that causes yet another employee to wear an “All Lives Matter” t-shirt to work the following day. And naturally, all three come to your office to complain and file charges of racism. What’s your office policy?
It’s an election year in the United States, and it has been a very heated and divisive contest surrounded with election protests. So, what if someone wears an “I’m with Her” (as in Hiliary Clinton) t-shirt and someone else wears a “Stump for Trump” (as in Donald Trump) t-shirt and it causes a heated debate that nearly turns physical? Are you equipped to handle this type of situation?
Or what would you do if one of your employees refuses to provide service to a police officer as a protest, and the exchange goes viral? Now your company is thrown into the headlines for the actions of one employee who has a problem with law enforcement.
Companies need to work with HR and other departments to gauge the pulse of your workforce and try to maintain peace and professionalism in an increasingly unstable environment, in order to keep civil unrest and protest from infiltrating the workplace.
Are you prepared if the civil unrest will affect your company?
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Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.