Before you read this I want you to know, I’m not advocating for a position — this is a problem I’m trying to solve. And I’m asking the hive brain (you) to help me.
An owner of a 10-person consulting firm is very vocal about their politics on social media – they post pictures of themselves and their team at protests and repost memes from their “side.” It’s clear where they stand and what they believe.
While interviewing for a current position, a candidate who was the polar opposite on the political spectrum showed up. Would this candidate’s views disrupt the team dynamic? Would these like-minded team members be willing to accept this difference?
Another firm’s founder has strong political views, but they don’t share them. During the hiring process, they make clear to candidates that their team and customer base include folks from all across the political spectrum. They ask candidates about their ability to tolerate that diversity.
When a candidate who had obvious, firmly held political positions applied, the employer asked about the candidate’s willingness to tolerate diversity in that area. The candidate indicated they were willing to accept others but questioned whether they’d receive the same tolerance. Would the employer defend them from ridicule or mistreatment by clients?
How would you handle it?
In a big company, we expect these differences, and there’s room enough for anyone. But it can be more challenging in a small company, especially where the owner’s values strongly impact the company’s values.
Dissension and drama are the enemies of productivity! Any time spent adjudicating political disagreements is time not spent building the business.
How do you handle this kind of diversity on your team? Is it “anything goes”? If so, how are you keeping things civil?
Do you have a “no-politics” rule? How do you keep it from leaking out? How do you police it?
I don’t have a blanket answer to this question; I’m pretty sure there’s no one correct answer. I’m honestly seeking your opinions – what do you do? What do you think?
Hit reply and let me know!
P.S. Political affiliation is not a protected class; while some jurisdictions have local laws preventing discrimination – most do not. The first amendment only protects people from the government policing their speech; it doesn’t apply to private employers!