Political Volatility in the Workplace Rises as Election Day Approaches

SHRM research: Percentage of organizations experiencing greater political tension doubled from May to October

Oct 25, 2016

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The workplace is not immune from the rising volume of rhetoric from the presidential campaign.

After a May survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that political volatility was affecting some workplaces, SHRM repeated survey questions in October to determine whether Campaign 2016 was continuing to have an impact.

“As we approach Election Day, tension from the presidential election has spilled into the workplace,” said Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of workforce analytics.

“More than one-half of organizations indicated that there is greater political volatility in the workplace in this presidential election compared to others,” she reported. “This was double the percentage that said there was greater volatility in May of this year.”

SHRM surveyed randomly selected HR professionals across the country.

When asked to elaborate, 70 percent of respondents said employees were more concerned (candidates seem unfit; overall dissatisfaction) regarding the candidates than in previous election years. Sixty percent said employees were more vocal about their opinions, and 5 percent said employees have violated their organization's policy on political activities.

SHRM Research has created an infographic detailing the results. 

The inspiration for the October research — the Policies on Politics in the Workplace Survey, which was conducted in May and released in June — is online at https://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/pages/policies-politics-workplace.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kate Kennedy at Kate.Kennedy@shrm.org and 703-535-6260 or Vanessa Hill at Vanessa.Hill@shrm.org and 703- 703-535-6072.

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