Though 2024 may have just kicked off, there’s already plenty of division brewing across the nation. From culture wars to heated elections, Americans are confronted with a cauldron of conflict that has led to a polarization of political persuasions more than ever. And the one place where people of all backgrounds and beliefs are forced to come together in today’s society? The workplace. Since work has become the most common place where socialization of people from diverse backgrounds occurs, the workplace has become the battleground for all the division and conflict that has been brewing in the U.S. People who wouldn’t normally discuss politics openly at work are finding themselves nose-to-nose with their colleagues in debate.

Adding to the fire is the fact that it’s the first time that we’ve had so many generations all at work at the same time, and naturally, each generation differs in how they work and view work. For example, the younger generation prioritizes their mental health and work/life balance more than older generations. When employees don’t feel valued or heard in the workplace, they may become less engaged in their roles or leave their jobs altogether. Workplace conflicts can be particularly damaging to employees when individuals undermine their colleagues’ success through bullying or withholding support. The result is a toxic work environment that leads to high employee turnover rate, unfocused work, and a loss of business productivity.  

By recognizing the systems at play and how they divide us, we can take steps toward building a more united and effective workplace. The first step is to figure out where your divisions are. There are plenty of divisions that show up in the workplace, such as remote vs. in person teams, and field vs. central offices. Other common demographic differences that you may find are between gender, races, and generations. To help understand the current state of your organization, we use Engagement Surveys. We take a comprehensive approach to engagement surveys using research-based qualitative questions, inclusive data collection, and the use of data analytics.  

The data you collect from your Engagement Survey gives your leadership team the ability to see what is working or not working in your organization. The data also shows the critical drivers of engagement for your particular workforce – what is most important to work on – so you can prioritize your actions and target your resources effectively.  

To put your engagement goals into action, your executive team will need the 21st century leadership skills necessary to manage a divisive workplace. That includes the ability to build a safe environment where employees can speak up and feel heard, whether it’s during difficult conversations or team meetings. They’ll need to know how to integrate the best ideas for both in-person and virtual meetings, so that all team members can contribute meaningfully and proactively. Psychologically safe environments lead to employees having more natural collaboration and innovation so that your organization benefits as a whole.  

By addressing the divisions that plague our workplace with comprehensive approaches and leadership, we can look forward to reaping the benefits of more effective organization in the new year and beyond. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can support you in 2024. 

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