The Toll Of Politics In The Workplace

As the United States prepares for the 2018 mid-term elections, a new Korn Ferry survey finds executives believe the outcome will have a significant impact in the workplace. And due to the divisive nature of this year’s elections, a majority of them can’t wait for it all to be over.

mid-term elections
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Three quarters (75 percent) of the executive respondents from across a wide range of industries say the outcome of the elections will affect their company’s future hiring decisions, with nearly a quarter (23 percent) saying the results will have a significant impact on hiring.

When asked about what concerns them more when considering future hiring plans, 13 percent say the mid-term elections, and 87 percent said the economy.

“There are many issues in play this election season that could have an impact on business and hiring,” said Bill Gilbert, a global operating executive for Korn Ferry. “As business leaders assess their future strategic priorities – including their talent agenda – they will most likely take into consideration the results of these elections.”

The survey also finds that politics overall is becoming a more contentious topic, with 60 percent saying political conversations have created a more divisive workplace in recent years, and 50 percent say they are not comfortable with politics being discussed while they are on the job.

The majority of respondents (59 percent) say they believe disclosing their own political affiliation could have a negative impact on their career. Perhaps because of this belief, more than two thirds (69 percent) say they do not discuss politics while at work.

“While election season often brings with it divisive issues that are flashpoints in the workplace, corporations should embrace this time as an opportunity to encourage constructive dialogue across divides,” said Andres Tapia, a Korn Ferry global diversity and inclusion strategist and author of The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity. “Political diversity is a new frontier in the work of inclusion. Corporations that already are nurturing inclusive environments have a unique opportunity to foster non-polarizing conversations that lead to new understandings of others’ political positions.”

As the election rhetoric continues to heat up, 83 percent of respondents say more of their colleagues will vote this mid-term election. In addition, the vast majority (94 percent) say they will be happy when the mid-term elections are over.

A total of 552 executives responded to the executive survey, which took place in October 2018. Here’s a look at the responses:

How much of an impact will the outcome of the upcoming mid-term elections have on your company’s hiring decisions?

  • A significant impact: 23 percent
  • Somewhat of an impact:23 percent
  • Little impact: 29 percent
  • No impact: 25 percent

What concerns you more when you are considering your company’s future hiring plans?

  • Mid-term elections: 13 percent
  • Economy: 87 percent

Compared to the last mid-term election, do you believe more of your colleagues will vote in this election?

  • Yes: 83 percent
  • No: 17 percent

Have political topics created a more divisive workplace in the past few years?

  • Yes: 60 percent
  • No: 40 percent

Do you feel that disclosing your political affiliations in the workplace could negatively impact your career?

  • Yes: 59 percent
  • No: 41 percent

Are you comfortable with politics being discussed in the workplace?

  • Yes: 50 percent
  • No: 50 percent

Do you personally discuss politics in the workplace?

  • Yes: 31 percent
  • No: 69 percent

Are you going to be glad when the mid-term elections are over?

  • Yes: 94 percent
  • No: 6 percent