- More companies are urging workers to serve as a voice for the policies and political candidates the employers support, reports the Washington Post. According to a new book, Politics at Work: How Companies Turn their Workers into Lobbyists, by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, employers are increasingly urging employers to rally behind policies and vote for candidates that serve company interests.
- The Post cited a survey in which corporate executives said mobilizing employees was as effective in changing policy as hiring lobbyists. Among executives in companies with PACs, 17% rated PAC contributions as the top strategy for getting the policies they want, but even more (25%) rated mobilizing workers as the best strategy.
- Companies are soliciting employees' help with influencing policy and politicians in response to the succession of business regulations passed in the 1960s and 1970s that they considered costly and burdensome. The trend is also taking off because communicating political ideas with employees is less costly than before, thanks to technology. Political groups, like the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), are urging companies to recruit employees to help elect particular candidates.
The trend is particularly interesting, as employees increasingly expect their organizations to take a stand on certain issues or at least allow for their support of causes. In turn, more companies are granting employees time off for volunteerism to show their support. Companies are also kickstarting corporate social responsibility departments to better track these initiatives, as younger workers, especially, consider CSR programs as part of their job hunt.
But employees also want to protect the businesses they work for; 84% of respondents in a recent Glassdoor poll want employers to take a stand on regulations, legislation and presidential executive orders that could impact their lives and their employers' businesses. Employers are paying attention. Executives at companies like Apple have protested President Trump's immigration stances, for example, as such policies would directly impact their business.
Employers need to tread carefully in encouraging a politically outspoken workplace, however. Remember how charged up the office atmosphere can get running right before and after a presidential election? Employees may need to be reminded about proper time and place, and civility should be encouraged at all times.