Myiah Hutchens Comments on How to Engage with Employees About Election Results
Myiah Hutchens, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Public Relations assistant professor, was featured in “Avoiding an Employee Election Meltdown,” a Peppercomm 2020 Election Playbook downloadable from peppercomm.com.
In the handbook, she suggests three tips for civil discussions including allowing everyone to feel heard, avoiding repeating quips for partisan media and not going into the conversation expecting the other person to end up agreeing with your positions.
Hutchens recommended that employers engage with employees who are not interested in politics and elections, so that they don’t become resentful of colleagues who are taking time away from work to discuss. She also observed that some companies have decided to act as impartial educators and informers, so that employees can have one source of nonpartisan updates each day.
Hutchens was also quoted in “How to Engage Employees Before (and After) the Election” published in Ragan’s Workplace Wellness on Nov. 2.
The story focuses on how employers must reinforce expectations around civility and respect while exhibiting empathy during the emotionally charged 2020 election cycle.
According to Hutchens, “The important dynamic in these conversations is to create space where people can learn about each other—not a venue where employees try to persuade each other to one side or another of a political issue.
“If we’re all sitting down and we lay out the rules, and we see it being moderated rather than it being just a free- for-all at the water cooler, then that can be helpful,” she said. “But it’s important for employers to set ground rules for political conversation in the workplace early rather than trying to clean up the mess afterwards.”
Hutchens provided the following guidelines for setting up ground rules. They include focusing on civility and forbidding name-calling, keeping remarks personal and bringing in outside resources to encourage listening within an organization.