MENLO PARK, CA -- Presidential candidates aren’t the only ones campaigning this election season. In a recent survey, more than half (53 percent) of employees interviewed said the level of office politics in their workplaces has increased compared to five years ago; just 12 percent of respondents reported a decline. While most workers don’t advocate jumping into the political fray, a majority agree that a little knowledge can be power: More than half (54 percent) say it’s wise to be aware of political undercurrents in the office without becoming directly involved.
The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 522 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.
Employees were asked, “In your opinion, has the level of office politics in the workplace increased or decreased compared to five years ago?” Their responses:
Neither increased nor decreased
Don't know/no answer
Employees were asked, “Which of the following best describes your opinion on office politics?” Their responses:
It's best to know what's going on but not participate directly
It's best to stay out of office politics completely
It's best to participate so you can get ahead
Don't know/no answer
Because a certain amount of workplace politics exists in nearly every organization, it’s wise for employees to recognize office dynamics, according to Accountemps.
Following are some common “political players” and tips for interacting with them:
The Pundit. This person loves to talk office politics and rarely tires of speculating about what’s really happening. While the Pundit may provide useful insights on occasion, it’s best not to share too much information with this individual, as it could fuel the rumor mill.
The Lobbyist. The Lobbyist is a strong advocate for his or her projects and is adept at gaining buy-in for ideas. While some Lobbyists are effective at building cross-departmental support, others may be unreceptive to outside points of view. When interacting with this person, be aware of the agenda being pushed, and be willing to stand up for your ideas.
The Covert Operator. The Covert Operator often uses manipulation rather than hard work to get ahead. While this type of person can be charming, keep your guard up when dealing with anyone who criticizes a coworker or takes credit for other people’s projects.
The Activist. This professional likes to facilitate change within an organization and is quick to take on causes, even those that don’t necessarily advance the company’s big-picture goals. While the Activist can be a valuable advocate, carefully evaluate the merit of the issues when asked for support.
The Advisor. This person often is closely aligned with a company’s leadership and serves as their “eyes and ears.” For example, the Advisor could be a senior aide or an executive assistant. Because the Advisor wields significant behind-the-scenes influence, develop a good rapport with him or her.
Accountemps has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.