- Most U.S. workers believe that employers have a critical voice in political and social causes, a new Glassdoor survey shows. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the job site, found that 84% of respondents want employers to take a stand on regulations, legislation and presidential executive orders that could impact their lives and their employers' businesses. The poll results suggest that politically and socially engaged employers might have an edge in recruiting, says Glassdoor.
- Young workers are especially passionate about their employers being involved in the political and social hot-button issues of the day. Among workers ages 18 to 35, 75% expect employers to take a stand on equal rights, climate change, immigration and constitutional rights. The majority of other age groups also want employers to be engaged politically and socially, but less so; 67% of 33 to 44 year olds and 49% of those 45 and older favor employer involvement.
- Most workers believe in giving back to their communities through donations or volunteerism. Three-quarters of respondents (75%) expect their employers to donate money to people in need in their own communities or allow workers to volunteer their time for such causes. The level of giving back differs among age groups, with the highest among respondents ages 18 to 34 (81%).
Businesses have created corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments to demonstrate corporate citizenry and commitment to communities and their residents. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of millennials in one study said they considered a company's CSR program when job hunting; the same number said they wouldn't consider a company without a CSR program.
A separate study found that 81% of millennials favor working for a good corporate citizen. A separate 2015 survey showed that 62% of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for an organization with a CSR program. Clearly, younger employees have strong feelings about the impact their work will have on both local communities and national policy issues. And the fact that the majority of other age groups responded similarly in Glassdoor's survey shows that those younger workers aren't alone.
Regardless, there is a time and place for politics in day-to-day business. In the months before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, employees across industries reported high levels of stress, and some complained of political arguments with co-workers that crossed the boundary between healthy disagreement and workplace toxicity.
What HR can't afford to lose in this discussion is civility. Ultimately, an organization's culture must promote collaboration and respect in order to play down the division that exists in larger society. Leaders are responsible for setting the tone.