Politics in the workplace

It is a worldwide issue; should you allow or encourage or discourage politics in the workplace?

There may not be an election at the moment but there are always things happening and being decided and so the question is always relevant as your employees will have an opinion on everything.

A related question is if the company can or should have a political view?

Another related question is if the company can have moral values or beliefs? What does that have to do with your business?

One answer could be that all is well and allowed as long as it does not interfere with business, but that may not satisfy some owners who founded the firm and have some opinion on moral values and want to keep the workplace in sync with how they view the world.

If thousands or millions of shareholders own the company it will be difficult to find one set of values that needs to be highlighted in the company, unless the history of the company has created that.

So there isn’t an easy answer and much of what happens will be a function of views and history, ownership and severity of the issues at hand.

Clearly, if something in the nation’s politics has the potential to hurt the company it will be understandable and allowed for the company to use all their options to oppose the proposed measures. Companies do that often by hiring firms who will lobby on their behalf with the politicians.

Also by giving support to certain politicians who seem to understand the company’s views influence can be applied.

Discussions among the workforce though of politics should really stay outside the workplace, as are discussions about sex, religion and when important matches are in view, maybe even sports. Does that artificially stop the debate? Well yes but you are at the company not to convince other people of your political, religious or moral beliefs but to accomplish the goals of the company.

So unless you are an owner, and unless the company’s mission is in danger due to some political action, stay away from bringing politics into the workplace.

Performance appraisal

Just the word does people shiver. There are so many things that can be wrong with performance appraisals that you don’t have to dig deep to find them. Just ask the first manager or supervisor or just a regular employee to get a whole story about what is wrong with it in general and with the system in their company specifically. It seems that not many people are happy about their performance appraisal system and the fancy elaborate computerized systems have not improved this much over the years.

The world without performance appraisal

Having worked for a company that did not actually have performance appraisals, I can say that the encouragement of regular discussions about how things are going is more powerful to increase productivity than any performance appraisal system I know.

Salary increases were not determined by the actual performance of the individual but determined by the market. If the market decides on average to raise the compensation for that job, then the individual would get a raise and if the market remained at the same level or even dropped, the individual would not progress, unless they were still young in the position and were growing to the full salary for the position.

It is difficult to capture this system in a simple blog post as I would not give the system behind it enough credit. Feel free to contact me if and when you are curious about this system. I can wholeheartedly recommend it and will be happy to discuss how to introduce the system in your organization.

New Year’s resolutions?

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions made? Lose weight, be more active, balance work/life? Things like that? Great, good for you and we hope you’ll accomplish them all.

Any point where you stop and review what you are doing and re-check your priorities is good. At your office, you should do the same. Take stock of what is on your plate, what is not moving forward and why not. I keep this easy spreadsheet that lists the topics/projects that need to be done. I have a column for what the result needs to be, a column for the status, a column for the obvious next step I should take and most importantly a column for why I am not taking that step,

That last column is crucial. You need to be aware of why it is that you don’t move the project forward. Often it has to do with fears for reactions from others, or resistance that you anticipate. Well here is the thing, unless you move, nothing moves and the project will continue to be stalled and you will continue to have to think about it and have it contribute to your workload and worries.

My recommendation is to make that list, review the columns and develop at least three strategies to take that next step. You’ll be glad you did!