Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DING! DING! DING! And The Nomination Goes To . . .

Well, no one knows just yet. It certainly has been an exciting several months for the campaign trails of many of the candidates. That can lead to exciting discussions in the workplace, too. Co-workers asking who is getting whose vote. Debates about the debates that took place the night before. Discussions on the "true" issues and attempts to peel away "fluff" from candidate speeches. E-mails pinging between mailboxes sharing the latest YouTube clip showing a gaffe by one of the candidates. Sorry--is my political science degree showing? Yes, this is an exciting time for me, I admit it.

For some companies, the campaign season (on whatever level) sometimes leads to heated discussions--many people feel passionately about their political beliefs. It never hurts to have an idea in mind of how much, if at all, you want to foster such discussions. Some companies take a very active approach, viewing these exchanges as a way to build relationships among co-workers. Other companies would rather not have the additional emotion that can accompany an exchange of political views.

Wherever you may fall in that spectrum, take a quick look at your handbook policies (think Ethics, Professionalism, or even Non-Solicitation) to ensure they appropriately address your company's position on the matter. You should also consider talking with some of your managers/supervisors about their roles (big, small or non-existent) in the discussions, too. Remembering that employees can take political discussions very personally, the potential ripple effect when a manager engages with those whom he/she supervises or is viewed to have authority over can turn into a tidal wave rather quickly.

It's campaign season! Happy candidate hunting!

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