Politics talked about in the workplace and part of it too


US CongressMost employees in the United States leave their political opinions out of the office, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder. But that still means there is a lot of such talk – 36% do discuss politics, and 43% expect they will be doing so as the 2012 election campaigns heat up. Unfortunately, in some cases, the talks get a little hot; on the other hand, many believe office politics are more vicious than the electoral type.

The two sub-groups mentioned above both consist of about a fifth of the survey pool. 23% say their on-the-job political talks can become heated; and 19% say it’s the political interactions within the company’s own hierarchy that get hot.

Men are more likely than women to engage in political talk or debate, and such talk also tends to increase with age. Here are age demo breakdowns:

* Ages 18-24 – 25 percent
* Ages 25-34 – 30 percent
* Ages 35-44 – 34 percent
* Ages 45-54 – 40 percent
* Ages 55 and older – 43 percent

“Most workers opt to keep political debates outside of the workplace,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Anytime you’re dealing with subject matter that is sensitive or potentially inflammatory, it’s important to always be respectful of your colleagues’ opinions and avoid emotionally-charged exchanges.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This topic poses a special challenge for media companies, which are often in the business of producing serious balanced journalism which includes a great deal of political coverage. On the other hand, some media outlets purposely discuss politics from a particular slant, and such discussions are just a part of doing business.

With some opinions tending to run white-hot in all bands of the ideological spectrum, including members of the far left, the far right and even with very loud and strongly opinionated raging moderates in the mix, it is very possible for a reporter to write a story with every intention of providing a fair accounting only to be attacked as biased in comments attached to the story.

Because of that, we strongly advise any company that is able to stay far away from politics in public. Conservatives and liberal alike use toothpaste, and we would hate to chase one ideological group to another brand because we opened up our mouths to state a political opinion.