Do you remember when Facebook was about sharing pictures of kids, vacations, and favorite meals at Olive Garden? As annoying as it was to be dragged into the gastronomical adventures of our online community, I miss those days. Facebook was about connection, collegiality, and community. Sure, there were a few trolls who, from time to time, inspired eye rolls and admonition, but for the most part it was a great way to connect with friends and colleagues and see how old looking your high school boyfriend or girlfriend has gotten. Something happened in 2020, however, that changed everything…the pandemic. We found ourselves locked in our safe spaces, isolated and staring at a screen.
Human interaction has always been governed by social rules that made for civil discourse. If you and I are talking face to face, there is a communication filter that exists between us made up of manners, respect, social cues, vocal and facial expressions and the understanding that if I say something rude or insulting, I may have to face the consequences. On social media, that filter is gone. We can interact without fear of consequence or repercussions. During the isolation of the pandemic, the need for belonging became more prevalent causing people to choose sides and draw a line in the sand on everything from religion to politics to which sports team we support. If you found yourself on the other side of that line, you could be the recipient of slander, abuse, and unkindness. Unless you refuse to engage in social media you have seen the dogpile mentality of the Facebook mob. Weaponized outrage and virtue signaling have replaced understanding and compromise.
Now that the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, the self-centered, aggressive behaviors that existed online have now filtered back into the workplace. In 2019 and 2020 respectively, there were 146 and 183 investigations of unruly passenger behavior on airplanes. In 2021 there were 1099. I believe society has gotten into the habit of conflict. Have you noticed increased conflict in your credit union? It is impossible to elevate the member experience until you elevate the employee experience. Acknowledging conflict and creating opportunities for healthy and respectful dialogue among employees will rebuild the filter of respect and create a culture of kindness in your workplace. A positive workplace culture is intentional and must be supported. Let’s close the “book” on incivility in your credit union.