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How to cultivate belonging in the workplace despite a polarized electorate
February 29, 2024

A Charged Election Season and the Need for Belonging

Super Tuesday may be just a few days away, but the 2024 presidential election season is already in full swing. The stakes – and tensions – are high. A recent Associated Press poll found that 66% of Americans believe democracy may be at risk depending on the outcome of the election, with majorities of both Republicans and Democrats worried (albeit for different reasons).

For business leaders, this polarization among the electorate is a call to action. According to a January report by the Polarization Research Lab, 25% of employees avoid colleagues due to differing political views, and one-third choose not to express their true beliefs at work because they know a colleague disagrees with them. 

As we move deeper into this year, the need to reinforce a culture of belonging will become even more pressing. 

We reached out to our community of thought leaders for guidance on how to reinforce belonging throughout this election season, and have included a few of their insights below.

Insights Uncovered

What steps can employers take to reinforce belonging during a charged election season?

"In times of heightened social division, it's so easy to allow our differences to completely rob us of opportunities to find common ground and support one another in the ways we need it most. Employers have the platform to remind their workforce that regardless of where different peoples’ political beliefs sit, they all share some common forms of struggles and stressors from daily life. Encouraging employees to connect during times of difference is one of the best things they can do to promote belonging, and hopefully, some empathy."

HAA Newsletter_Melissa Doman

Melissa Doman, MA, Organizational Psychologist,
Mental Health at Work Specialist, & Author,
Melissa Doman LLC

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"During election seasons the pull toward “either/or” thinking can feel strong and even produce fear — but belonging is best built beyond the binary. Employers can help turn the temperature down by reminding teams of the shared purpose they work on together, which in most cases endures beyond election day. By keeping shared purpose in sight and ensuring that employees who feel afraid or anxious have access to non-judgmental resources, employers can help foster a culture of belonging in the workplace before, during, and after election season."

HAA Newsletter_Kimberly Serrano

Kimberly Serrano, Director,
Center for Inclusion and Belonging,
American Immigration Council

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"As we experienced four years ago, navigating a charged election season in the workplace requires proactive steps. A few examples include: set clear guidelines for political discussions, clearly communicate expectations regarding behavior and language, offer educational resources and training sessions, provide safe spaces where employees can discuss political issues if they choose, and reinforce the organization's core values."

HAA Newsletter_Natasha Bowman

Natasha Bowman, Best-Selling Author,
Attorney, Mental Health Advocate,
Natasha Bowman Consulting Company,

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