Take a moment to think about the word and consider what it means to you. Are you a civil person? Where do you see others displaying civility? Or, perhaps a better question: Where do you see others being uncivil?
Today, the country feels decidedly split, as evidenced by ongoing protests. Everything, from health care to mass shootings, has been transformed into a partisan conflict. Social media offers as an unabashed platform for the darker side of human interaction. With some of us moving forward, others moving backward, and the rest stuck in-between, what can managers do to safeguard civility?
The workplace is far from immune to the range of ongoing challenges facing our communities. Disagreements in the breakroom could turn into full-fledged arguments between peers, creating a precarious balance between opinion, expression of self, and professionalism.
Maintaining a civil workplace requires effort from everyone within an organization. Managers are often considered the nexus of communication between the C-Suite and entry-level staff; however, a top-down coordination of workplace expectations works best in cooperation with human resources and, if possible, an employee assistance program.
Along with the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, its social enterprise FEI Behavioral Health is hard at work addressing the many concerns of employers, employees, and their families during these uncertain times. We’ve listened to organizations and established best practices for developing organizational resilience and cultivating a healthy workplace culture:
Set the Tone for Appropriate Workplace Behavior
Professionalism is fortified by respect for others. Executives and managers can set the bar for how employees are expected to act by modeling respectful behaviors towards co-workers, peers, and clients.
Encourage a Diverse and Inclusive Culture
Building a workforce with a diverse voice creates a stronger sense of representation. Diversity leads to a better understanding not only of the larger world, but also of the people and cultures present in the surrounding community.
Establish Policy and Process for Conflict Resolution
Healthy conflict resolution protocols engender a sense of workplace safety. Including a diverse group of managers, department heads, and human resource representatives into the decision-making process can invest the whole organization when appropriately handling interoffice conflict.
Adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Employer Responsibilities
These guidelines ensure organizations offer safe workplaces for all employees, including during times of community unrest.
It is all employees’ responsibility to conduct ourselves in a respectful, tolerant manner, and to treat others as we wish to be treated. Remaining civil is a community effort, after all, and our communities are healthier for it.
For more on preserving professionalism and what your organization can do to foster cultural well-being, read FEI Senior Director Terri Howard’s Civil Unrest and Employees: When Community Concerns Become Workplace Challenges.
Curious to learn more about FEI and our work with Alliance member agencies? If you are attending the Innovation Design Summit: Building a 21st-Century Social Sector Workforce in Tampa, Florida, reserve a seat with FEI President Ted Uczen at Thursday morning’s Power Breakfast.