People Management

Employees and Election Anxiety: How to Survive This Week

Chances are, yesterday’s election is causing your employees a lot of anxiety and stress, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum. And it’s not just American employees; the implications of our election are affecting everyone across the globe. Here’s what you need to know to help your employees right now:

Employees Need Your Support, and Work Flexibility to Cope

According to a survey done by the American Psychological Association, 77% of Americans say that the future of our nation is a significant source of stress in their lives, up from 66% in 2019. 68% of all adults say the presidential election was a significant source of stress – and this was before last night’s brutal night of uncertainty, which is far from over. You can’t do anything about this stress, but you can help your employees cope. One company we know of offered employees the day after election day off, knowing that people might need that time. Consider reducing unnecessary meetings this week. Have managers check in with employees and make sure they are okay – really okay – and offer extra time off or flexibility if needed.

Remember that Uncertainty is Harder on Employees than Bad News

OrgVitality CEO Jeffrey Saltzman conducted research that showed that employees are significantly more negative when dealing with the unknown than dealing with definitely bad news. For example, employees who know they are going to get laid off are actually more positive than those who are unsure. Not knowing the outcome of something is much more stressful than knowing the outcome, even if it’s not the one you want. Understand that your employees, regardless of affiliation, are living in this intense uncertainty.

Talk about your values, not about politics

Take a step back from politics and think about what your organization stands for. If leadership is communicating with employees about the election, it’s helpful to frame those communications through that lens. The same holds true for any external communications, such as leadership statements or social media postings.

Help Unite Your Employees Moving Forward

One of the hardest things for employees might be working with others who don’t share their views. Regardless of the outcome, there will be people who are heartbroken and won’t want to engage with those with opposing views. Help your employees support one another and unite under the common goal of improving the organization. This year has been a difficult and divisive time. It is possible for work to be an outlet, or even escape from the political context, so long as the work environment is safe and supportive.

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