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Politics, Religion and Social Issues: 3 Ways to Tackle Sensitive Conversations in the Workplace

By Kerry Higley posted 10-19-2016 15:26

  

Politics, Religion and Social Issues: 3 Ways to Tackle Sensitive Conversations in the Workplace

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2016 has been a year plagued with social issues. From the 2016 presidential campaign and civil rights protests to federally-mandated gender laws and religiously-charged moral debates, this year has no doubt been the subject of conversation. And because these social issues affect each and every one of us in some way, most people have an opinion and are likely happy to state it. But when it comes to these conversations in the work place, things can get tricky.

Because of changing technologies and workplace habits--like checking Facebook at work and work emails at home--an employee’s home and work life become intertwined. So it’s no surprise then, that as workplace habits change, so do traditional rules about avoiding politics and religion at work have gone out the window.

Thanks to social media and 24-hour news cycles, employees are constantly exposed to controversial topics in public dialogue, which understandably bubble over to the watercooler at work. Which leads for the potential of these seemingly innocuous conversations morphing into something much more heated and controversial.

So, how can a manager find the delicate balance of allowing free speech in the workplace while ensuring there are no instances that may turn ugly or offensive? And how can employees be proactive in avoiding potentially heated conversations? Check out these three suggestions on dealing with and avoiding sensitive topics in the workplace:

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