How HR Can Foster Workplace Civility in Divided Times

If you have watched the news at all over the last year, you know that tensions might be running high in the U.S. (and in the world, really). Feelings over politics and social justice can easily spill into the workplace. Maintaining workplace civility can be a challenge. 

With more people working from home and meeting virtually, many of the visual cues and verbal filters that restrain discussions are missing. Employers can play a crucial role in helping staff to relate to one another politely. However, employers must be careful not to overstep protected speech when they try to enforce civility. This article suggests that building a civil workplace can be done by focusing on simple, small actions that avoid controversy. The author contends that HR can begin the conversation on civility in the workplace by modeling it. They should encourage employees to relate professionally and commit to common courtesy—such things as saying “please” and “thank you”—can make a big difference.