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November 9, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Election results and the workplace: How to bring employees together

Excitement. Hope. Pride.

Shock. Disappointment. Sadness.

What is the atmosphere at your place of work today? This historic election has brought out myriad emotions as candidates powered through the campaign trail. As the results came in on Election Day, these emotions seemed to multiply. Waking up this morning (if you were able to sleep much at all last night) meant starting the day with a new President-elect.

Then it was time to go to work, just like any other day.

When I woke up today I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. As I got ready this morning, my son greeted me and was a surprising voice of reason. “Well at least we were given the chance to vote and have an opinion,” he said. I paused and gave him a hug, in awe that such comforting and wise words came from a second grader.

Regardless of whether you were for or against Trump, the important thing is that we all had a chance to vote and shape our future. We will continue to have that voice every four years, and even more often for many state and local races. Ultimately it’s up to us to use our voice to demand action for what is important to us, as well as hold our leaders accountable to what they have promised. Thank you, son, for reminding me of this.

As voters from all sides make their way through the workday, it’s important to demonstrate respect and empathy for each other. Today I encourage everyone to be kind to one another. No gloating or sulking. Support each other and strive to do something positive for at least one co-worker today.

In times of division, management holds the key to calm by demonstrating grace and understanding. Leadership should be sensitive to all employees and explain that the same is expected throughout the company. This might entail an email explaining company policy or a causal meeting with teams noting expectations. Go a step further and use this time to share words of inspiration.

Another idea: There’s no better day to schedule something enjoyable for teams to do. Splurge on pizza for lunch and invite everyone to the lunch room to mingle and eat great food. Take people out to coffee and ask about their hobbies or family. Schedule a group meeting during which you complete a team-building activity — no political talk allowed.

Finally, in times of change, it’s common to experience emotions of helplessness. People from all political backgrounds are feeling they have little control over their future today. Encourage focus on what can be controlled. It might be hitting a deadline for a brand-new work project. It might be an opportunity to learn a new professional skill. It might be heading directly home after a long day to have a movie night while holding your children close.

Remember, we are one country. Let’s strive to make each other stronger and focus on creating a brighter future for all.