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Amid All the Noise, Build a Culture of Civility and Respect

Message from the President

Johnny C. Taylor

In the intricate ecosystem of the workplace, the ripples of our actions extend far beyond the confines of office walls and remote screens. A substantial portion of our lives unfolds within these professional realms, and the impact of our interactions not only resonates within our organizations but also radiates outward, shaping the communities and world surrounding us.

As we navigate the landscape of a presidential election year in the U.S., the political arena is marked by a discordant symphony of partisan clashes. Political campaigns, designed to evoke emotions and drive civic participation, often inadvertently sow seeds of animosity and conflict. Our society, characterized by diverse dimensions—political, social, economic, gender, religious, geographic and age—lacks the necessary tools to effectively bridge our differences.

This pervasive political polarization lays bare our vulnerabilities, fostering further divisions that threaten to infiltrate and poison workplace cultures. Left unchecked, these divisions can impede productivity, hinder collaboration and diminish engagement within an increasingly diverse workforce.

To cultivate a collaborative workplace, we must transcend labels and perceive individuals first as fellow human beings, each possessing unique perspectives. Establishing ground rules for civility becomes imperative in this context, with respect, curiosity and a recognition of shared humanity forming the bedrock of workplace interactions.

In the quest for unity, discovering commonalities and shared values becomes the bridge that spans ideological divides. Despite differing opinions on specific courses of action, an environment of open communication and mutual understanding contributes to a more cohesive and resilient workforce.

Collaborative workplaces exhibit a remarkable ability to thrive amid diverse ideas and perspectives. Artfully navigating disagreements without descending into discord enables meaningful conversations and exploration of topics. This skill, crucial in both business and life, empowers individuals to work through diverse ideas and perspectives, fostering heightened ideation, innovation and collaboration.

Civility emerges as an indispensable tool in constructing inclusive workplaces that not only function effectively but also contribute to the creation of a better world. 

It is the linchpin transforming the workplace into a space where diverse minds converge, resulting in a harmonious and innovative environment. In the grand tapestry of our professional lives, civility is the thread that weaves together better workplaces and, in turn, fosters a truly better world.  

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP
President and CEO, SHRM