Workplace politics is present in every organization, only the level differs. Office politics can be very subtle but can result in biases - both conscious and unconscious. This can cause rifts between employees and divide them into teams which can be very destructive to an organization’s growth.
Corporate politics often occur due to weak leadership and employee’s insecurities. It emanates from a need to know what’s happening. If the HR does not play its part in creating frameworks where the employees’ thoughts reach leaders, some employees can engage in politics and thereby bring issues up to the leaders.
The HR of a company plays a major role in curbing corporate politics. Corporates with employees who are over 3-5 years of tenure are less prone to such gimmicks. Most of them feel they have built the organization and thus, there exists a deep sense of ownership. This prevents undue hostility, conflicts or politics. In fact, it leads to greater collaboration and teamwork. In addition to this, multiple forums for employees to voice themselves such as open houses, town halls, ask your leader emails, ethics hotline, open door policy, and grievance redressal forums help in this. HR should be easily approachable by employees. This allows for issues to get resolved in real time, preventing escalations or festering of issues.
In the absence of these forums, workplace politics causes sides, creates conflict, negates competence and gives precedence to who-said-what, who-is-close-to-who and who-networks-with-whom etc. Most employees look for growth. The internal job postings sites usually list all open postings and policies that are available for all to access and read. This ensures transparency and fairness and hence employees love to work in such organizations. Not only this, the HR organizes multiple employee engagement activities and a healthy budget is set aside to ensure an annual calendar of events around sports, festivals, fun, and purpose is paid heed to.
The HR should focus on the financial, physical, food, mental and work-life balance of the employees. Regular talks ensuring the health and development of employees goes a long way in making them feel cared for, thus keeping politics away. The employees need to be kept engaged and focused on want they want and need – their issues need to be addressed fast and they should be allowed to grow and learn in a transparent and open environment.
From before an employee joins till he/she exits, there should be a touch-point program that tracks their progress. An annual employee survey is an additional touch-point. Most importantly, the HR thus plays an important part in designing and deploying frameworks that are robust and in partnership with business in keeping the work environment politics-free and fun to be in with a focus on learning and growing, collaboration and teamwork.
In the end, organizations that have embraced practices such as Great Place to Work exhibit or create their own benchmark for a healthy workplace where all employees understand what the company wants and where it wants to go.