A harmonious office is the secret sauce to a happy workforce and maximum output. It encourages better communication, understanding, and operational efficiency. All these traits contribute to better employee engagement and fewer disputes in the workplace.
Though a peaceful workplace is a trait desirable by all companies, it is only attainable by a few. The reason for this being the many aspects polluting a workplace. Of "these" many aspects, one of the common being the dreadful office politics.
Office politics is a behavior to manipulate individuals to compete for status at an office. In layman's terms, it is a process of fighting for power in the workplace through wrongful ways. Some of these ways can be credit hogging, gossiping, workplace favoritism, etc.
These practices can affect the workforce's level of job satisfaction, thereby rendering a toxic work environment. Therefore, an HR needs to manage office politics at all costs. To do this, you must first understand a few things about office politics. Let’s have a look at these first.
Things an HR must understand about Office Politics.
1. It exists at almost every office, accept it.
Office politics happens at every workplace, and your company won't be an exception either. You must understand the fact that this is unavoidable. In some form or way, your workers will be subject to it.
The sooner you accept it, the better will be your response measures.
2. Know your office
Every office has its structure, rules, and organizational hierarchy that it follows. As a manager, you should understand the flow of command well within. You should be able to pinpoint any change in this structure due to the influence of office politics.
Here, also look out for the workers with power and influence in an office. These are the ones that can turn people and opinions into their favor. While this is acceptable for operational efficiency, the same people must not have the edge in all matters elsewhere.
3. Plan your moves
Amidst everything, you must make sure not to fall prey to office politics yourself. In this regard, your opinions and decisions must have an influence in the company. A good HR needs this influence to maintain a fair atmosphere in the office.
Here, before disclosing your plans, you should have the support of most decision-makers in the company. It will help pass your goals without any friction and also ensure that the suitable measures get approvals.
4. Be professional
As an HR, you must behave professionally at all times. At times, one may lose cool when facing such adversity in the workplace. It is imperative in these moments to learn how to navigate the situation and behave rationally.
Also, if you find concrete proof of workers participating in office politics activities, you should take strict steps. Here, proper employee disciplinary action is advisable for severe measure.
Before moving forward to manage or prevent negative office politics at your workplace, these were the points you must understand. Now, let's get to the part of how to manage workplace politics; the prevention.
How to Prevent Office Politics
1. Hire the Right Fit
While hiring, most HR makes the mistake of favoring competency more than personality, which you must avoid. While you can train and get fruitful results on skills, you won't change a person's nature. It is something that stays the same forever in most cases.
So, it would help if you also looked at the right cultural fit while hiring other than the career success stories. It includes the candidate's behavior, perception of things, attitude, etc. In this regard, you must also know the different employee persona of your organization as well.
Related Article: 6 Employment Personality Tests Every Employer Must Know
2. Open Communication
It is vital to have open discussions in the workplace on matters affecting the majority. A few workers in the office must not dictate the law for everyone's concern. You should have open channels of communication to get the entire work staff's opinion on vital matters.
Failure to promote individual opinions will only force your workers to discuss among themselves. It can lead to eventual gossip and office politics.
3. Team Bonding
A team must be understanding and supportive of one another. This can only happen with proper bonding among team members. You can encourage this fact with team outings, office parties, social networks, unofficial meet-ups, etc.
Related Article: 32 Company Outing Ideas To Strengthen The Bond Within Your Team
There should be respect at all levels of a company, be it at the top, middle, or lower-level executives. Workers should respect each other despite their differences in work and status in a company. This brings a sense of belonging to the workplace.
Furthermore, it will also help keep the negativity away. All this contributes to fewer workplace politics issues.
5. Uniform Policies
Most companies may have a different set of policies for various departments like production, marketing, sales, etc. This difference in policies may bring favoritism in the workplace, which is the birthplace for politics.
You should pay attention to this regard and keep uniform policies for all departments. It will promote equality in the workplace.
6. Fair Recognition
Wrongful recognition through credit hogging is one of the many negative effects of politics in the workplace. Taking credit for another's work is the signature unethical move for career advancement. In this regard, you should take proper steps to eliminate this practice.
Here, you should cross-check the work of the executives with their reporting managers to get confirmation and credibility of their work. Before giving recognition at work, always ensure that the person getting the recognition is the one who did the work.
Always have channels for proper effective feedback from your workers. Feedback will help you understand what's wrong in a system. This will help you rebuild a better one. It will also limit your worker's gossiping among themselves for better results.
In some cases, you should also practice anonymous feedback. It is because, in some cases, workers may find it difficult to come out with the truth about politics in the workplace.
An anonymous messaging system will help resolve this issue with ease.
These were a few of the steps that can help you prevent office politics at your company.
Negative politics has always been the sign of bad omens for a company and rightfully so. It can ruin employee satisfaction, employee motivation, and give rise to attrition. In some cases, it can also be a primary cause for workers leaving a company.
Given the gravity of this situation, it will only be beneficial for you to control this at all costs.