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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 04, 2018 1:00 am

Best to play it safe with politics talk at work

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

If you thought politics have been dominating conversations in recent weeks, you may not get a reprieve any time soon.

Even after the midterm election results roll in mid-week, people are bound to have opinions on the outcomes, so it's unlikely you'll be able to escape the discourse in the workplace.

Business owner and leadership coach Mary Legakis Engel provided an office etiquette reminder in one of her October Water Cooler emails.

“As you navigate the politically charged waters in your workplace this winter, I would compel you each to clarify your intentions when you express your political views,” she wrote. The question is whether you are sharing your opinion or imposing.

“If someone starts to debate your opinion with you and you find yourself defending it, you may be perceived as imposing,” she said. “In my view, the best thing to do is avoid the debate. Honor the other person's opinion without dishonoring your own.”

Salary secrecy

Millennials, those ages 18-37, don't mind people knowing what they earn, according to a new report.

The report said millennials are more likely than other generations to share their salary information with co-workers, friends outside of work, romantic partners who they don't live with, and family members other than their spouse.

Not so when it comes to baby boomers. To them, wage information is still largely private information, said in a news release last week.

While 33 percent of millennials might, for example, tell a co-worker what they make, just 18 percent of baby boomers, people ages 54-72, would do so.

Only 43 percent of baby boomers would be most comfortable telling a family member other than a spouse what they earn, while 64 percent of millennials would share that information with a relative.

Overall, 24 percent of Americans have divulged their pay to a co-worker. Men are more likely than women to have done so (29 percent vs. 20 percent), as well as those with higher income and education levels.

The study that addressed wage transparency was conducted for Bankrate via landline and cellphone Oct. 2-7 among a sample of 1,017 respondents.

Retaining workers

With unemployment low, many of the leadership and workplace emails that land in my inbox continue to focus on recruiting and retaining workers.

A report from Ameritas, a benefits provider, in one email included several reminders on why engaging and encouraging employees is crucial. The report was based on information compiled from a host of sources.

• Research shows engaged employees outperform others by 202 percent.

• More than 86 percent of American employees want to work for companies that offer continuous opportunities for training and coaching.

• 81 percent of employees say they would leave their current job for the right offer.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at