A return to company core mission & values
If you want to refocus on your core mission, and end political discourse at work, now is a window of time to do it
This post is not about whether a company (or other organizations) should, or should not have, viewpoints on every political and current event. That is ultimately up to the organization’s governance.
However, if you run an organization that is being distracted from its core mission and fatigued on politics at work- now is a good window to let employees know your organization is refocusing on its core mission. Broader politics is no longer part of the day to day at the company, while other performance & cultural values have returned back into focus.
You could potentially tie this to a bigger view point on the nature of work at the company or organization, and a re-affirmation of key cultural values. For example, that you are a performance-based culture, focused on your customers as primary stakeholders of your business, etc. Shopify did this extremely well and gracefully back in 2021.
There is a grace period right now between the Israel Oct 7 terror attack and the Biden / Trump election. It is possible 2024 will be a bumpy year, so acting now in relative calm might be the easiest time to make a change. In this window of relatively few, new politically charged events it is a good time to make a statement, that your company will no longer be making statements on every news event. :)
What to let people know?
Your organization’s focus is on your core mission or business. It may be useful to enumerate your mission, some of the core cultural values, and a reminder of which customers you serve, etc.
Your organization is not the government or political adjudicator. Your organization will no longer make political statements on broad based societal topics. It may occasionally comment on areas unique to its specific business. For example, it may be important for a fintech company to engage in financial services policy and regulation, or for a healthcare company to work on healthcare policy.
Your organization will not allow for internal political conversation on official channels (e.g. slack) for political discourse. Not everyone wants to participate and many find this distracting. If you want to have political conversations you are free to do so on your own time with your own personal chats, platform etc.
People tend to self select into organizations that they will thrive in. If you are explicit in terms of company values through the interview process, all hands, website etc you will select out people who view work as a primary political venue.
A small subset of people may resist change of any sort (be it this one, or any other), and when change happens act out or disrupt work. This may lead to the voluntary, or involuntary, departure of a handful of people.
You may get tested in the next political event. Staying firm and unapologetic tends to work well and prevents slippage of focus and mission. You have told people about the change and now you are sticking with it.
You do not necessarily need to potentially tie this to a bigger view point on the nature of work at the company or organization, and a re-affirmation of key cultural values. If you want you can just send a short note about the shift and mention it at the next all hands. However, it is an opportunity to remind your fellow employees of what mission you serve, or that for example, that you are a performance-based culture, focused on your customers as primary stakeholders, etc. Shopify did this extremely well back in 2021.
For some organizations refocusing back to organizational core mission is a smooth and easy transition. For others there are a few bumpy weeks and then things resolve and life moves on.
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