Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Unforeseen and Unintended Consequences

By Tatyana Fertelmeyster - 02.02.2017

For many years I have been working with foreign executives coming to the US on international expat assignments. Here are a few things I would normally tell them:

  • There is almost always some kind of elections season going on. And when elections are over we all go back to work. Politics is politics. Business is business.
  • We don’t talk politics at work.
  • We don’t bring our emotions to a workplace either. Keep them to yourself.

As I am figuring out a new approach to this conversation, I want to pose a few questions to Human Resources and Employee Assistance Professionals:

  • Do you have employees who cannot reenter the country right now? What kind of a leave from work are they on? Is it a paid leave? Will they have a job when they finally manage to board the plane and clear passport control?
  • Is there any provision to support their families? Especially if a person who is stuck in limbo for at least next 90 days is a main or only breadwinner? Do they continue to be covered with an employment-based health insurance?
  • Are EAP services being offered to your employees who cannot return home? Or to your employees whose loved ones cannot return home?
  • What is happening to your work teams considering different strong opinions people have in an aftermath of a stormy weekend?
  • Do you have employees who are hot from protest lines? Do you employ Muslims who feel that their community is under attack? Do you employ people who believe that the Executive Order on Immigration is the best thing ever? How is it going for all of them to be at work today?
  • Is yours a global company and if so – what is happening to your global teams today? There are many cultures in the world where people are used to bringing both politics and emotions to work.

There are so many more questions to ask, to consider, to search for answers.

Human Resources are about Humans.

How are Humans doing today at work?

As promised – No Politics, Just Business.

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