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FEI Featured in IAEM Bulletin

16 Oct. 2017 Posted by aadams

Civil Unrest and Employees: When Community Concerns Become Workplace Challenges

The global workforce today is more diverse and blended than ever before. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and now iGen all work and live together, and it’s an incredible challenge for managers to balance the various personalities, morals, and beliefs evenly and fairly.

With so many diverse viewpoints within each generation, not to mention between generations themselves, conversations in the workplace can sometimes become argumentative. We’ve all been advised to tread lightly when discussing politics and religion in public, but recently other issues have become sources of workplace disagreements.

In recent years, we have seen the rise of discussions on racial and gender inequality, income inequality, gender discrimination, opiate abuse, health care, and more. In particular, the internet has become a tool for both public discourse and mobilization. More than ever before, people across the world are able to voice their opinions on social issues, disagree or find common ground, and even organize for protests or large gatherings in response to the issues facing our modern world.

Emergency and human resources managers need to understand, then, that their employees don’t exist in a bubble. Internet-driven interconnectivity means that employees are not only aware of the issues in their community, but also the issues in the world at large. Managers must know how to handle crises in the workplace, yes, but sometimes crises outside the workplace can have equally dramatic effects on employees, and can be much harder to control.

At FEI, we’ve received an increasing number of calls at our employee assistance program (EAP) service center about problems in the workplace thanks to civil unrest and polarized public opinion, and we’ve developed strategies to help emergency managers handle the intrusion of outside events into the workplace.

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