Given the current state of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent election, it is hard to avoid discussing the news with each person you interact with. However, for business owners and their team, it is advisable to avoid talking about controversial topics such as politics, religion and economics in your professional interactions and communications.
As employees interact with the clients, vendors, suppliers and other team members, they should avoid sharing personal views, getting into heated debates about current topics or making aggressive remarks in regards to politics.
Developing guidelines and communicating them to employees - and anyone representing your brand - will be an essential part of protecting your business during this challenging time.
We have created a customizable template that can be personalized to your brand before distributing to your employees. These guidelines can help employees stay professional in their communications and interactions, which will go a long way in protecting your brand.
Determine a point person who can review communications for employees and that can be responsible for protecting the brand and the company's values and mission.
After distributing the guidelines, request that each employee responds to the email, acknowledging that they received it and will abide by the rules and suggestions.
Customize the areas in [PINK] below and distribute to your team:
We are offering employees a few guidelines to help navigate these challenging times as it pertains to professional interactions with vendors, clients and others. This also includes everyday interactions amongst the team.
First and foremost, you do not know the situation, impact or feelings of the person you are interacting with. Be considerate of other peoples’ feelings, beliefs and values by refraining from discussing sensitive topics. Do not ask personal questions, make assumptions and/or make negative remarks about the current situation. You may risk offending someone.
Avoid political discussions
Addressing the current situation may not be avoidable, but we are strongly asking all employees and anyone representing [COMPANY NAME] to please exclude political and personal views in any and all professional communications and conversations, including interactions amongst the team. In addition, we are asking all employees and anyone representing the company to not disclose or discuss the current state of our company operations.
Shift the topic
If political or sensitive topics of discussion are unavoidable, respectfully shift the topic back to a professional on-track conversation.
One way to shift the conversation from a potentially controversial topic is to compliment the other person. Flattery acts a distraction and helps avoid an awkward or heated discussion. Compliment your client, vendor or team member on one of their projects or accomplishments to help shift their mindset.
Another tactic to try to deflect unwanted debates is enlisting the help of someone around you. Pull another colleague or team member into the conversation, while changing the subject. Keep it casual and polite.