Opinion

The Surprising Upside To Provocative Conversations at Work.

A general shot of KMC

By Bhushan Sethi and Peter Brown

By Bhushan Sethi and Peter Brown

As the world becomes increasingly polarized around a range of hot-button topics, companies often try to keep these issues from becoming a distraction in the workplace. After all, employee conversations about societal topics like climate, immigration, race, and gender equity may seem like a potential source of discord—and HR headaches. But here’s one counterintuitive approach: help your employees talk it out. According to PwC’s latest workforce survey, a majority of employees are already having these conversations. What’s more, they’re benefiting from the experience.

We surveyed more than 52,000 workers in 44 territories—one of the biggest global workforce surveys ever conducted. The questions covered a range of topics, from hybrid work to technology to factors that will push people to ask for a raise or look for another job. But some of the most surprising findings had to do with discussions about sensitive topics in the workplace.

Most leaders treat these conversations as a possible minefield, with the potential to distract employees from work (at best) and—more likely—lead to disputes if employees feel outnumbered or out-argued. But among respondents, 65% said they have these kinds of conversations sometimes or frequently. The numbers were even higher among younger employees.

Read the full strategy+business article.
____
Bhushan Sethi is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern.