Guest post: What Can the HR Department do to Thwart Destructive Office Politics?

The term “back office” often refers to day-to-day working operations of an office. It is the part of the working world that clients and customers do not get to experience. This particular part of the office can often be consumed with office politics, particularly when individuals are trying to advance in their careers, feel they are superior to other colleagues, or build alliances.

If you are an HR Manager looking to maintain credibility and influence employees to do, you will find that office politics can be very damaging to the staff and the company. The following are significant actions that can be taken to prevent destructive office politics:

Observe employees and how they communicate with others

Watch for staff that might spread rumors/gossip or initiate office feuds. Observing these individuals without interfering will allow you the opportunity to observe how the office politics play out. You might even detect who the culprits are and respond in the appropriate manner.

Sustain strict boundaries

HR Managers are not expected to befriend their employees. Thus, as your company’s HR Manager, you should avoid petty arguments or gossips. Keep your topics and tone professional and job-related when you talk to your employees.

Assert authority when needed

Your employees need to know that undermining one another’s work, gossip, backstabbing, and spreading rumors will not be tolerated.

Hold private discussions or conversations with those involved

Calmly explain to your employees that they should carry out their tasks or complete the specific job that they are hired to do. They should always stay on track and not be caught up in office politics. Additionally, it is imperative that you remind them that the way they communicate with other colleagues will be observed and recorded in their performance reviews.

Encourage respect among all the employees

You should set a good example to all your employees by treating each individual in a respectful and professional manner at all times. When office politics transpire, you should assess the situation. Thereafter, you need to make a judgment based on all the details that you have and any employee behavior that you have observed.

If you are an employee in a huge corporation or have recently started working as a new employee, it is best to start your new career without getting yourself involved in any office politics. At times, it can be relatively tempting, but at the end of the day, it will only attract more negativity than positivity.

Below are several guidelines on how you can successfully avoid back office politics as an employee:

Always be yourself

Avoid impressing your colleagues by backstabbing, spreading rumors, or talking about others, particularly if this is usually not in your nature to do.

Establish which colleagues play politics 

It would not take very long for you to discover the culprits who enjoy talking about others and spread rumors, for example, in the office. Once you have recognized the individual(s), it is wise to stay away from them with the exception of any legitimate business matters that you may need to discuss with them.

Turn your back when necessary

If any discussion related to work turns into scheming or rumors, you should simply walk away from the situation. Alternatively, you can try to bring back any type of work-related discussion.

Always prepare for power plays and politics

Even if you are not caught up or involved in any office politics, they can definitely influence you. Hence, you should always stay on top of your tasks, so that no colleague will have any reason to question your work quality, delivery time or motivations.


Trisha Vivona is currently pursuing a degree in Human Resources and is also a freelance writer and social media talent valuing innovation, hard work, and a relentless approach to creating value for clients and stakeholders. She can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.