Thursday, August 3, 2017

Leaning in to Social Unrest in the Workplace - ENTREPRENEUR

by Nithya Das
Originally published: August 1, 2017

The past two years were among the most turbulent in recent memory. We faced surprising shocks in the public markets, major terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, hate crimes in Orlando and Charleston, a spike in reported shootings of unarmed black men and police officers, Brexit and a bitter U.S. presidential election.

Is turbulence the new norm? It seems likely. What is certain, however, is that we have reached a turning point in how many workplaces respond to such events.

Traditionally, companies have not been expected to address the fear, anxiety and sadness that many of their employees experience in the face of external upheaval. Some companies believe those conversations simply have no place at work; others are concerned that someone might say the wrong thing, leading to workplace tension or even lawsuits. Many are more inclined to ignore the negative impact that a non-response exerts on employee productivity and engagement. There has been an unspoken divide between work life and personal life -- and it's rarely crossed.