Politics Without Polarization
Welcome to the election hangover, people! Like me, I’m sure many are still processing yesterday’s outcomes and how they impact our future. No matter what side you’re on, I know we’re all hoping that those who won the honor of representing us in our government will take that responsibility seriously and bring their highest selves to the game. Fingers crossed.
Given that my interests lie in how business can and will shape our future, this election got me thinking about how employers can encourage employees to make their voices heard. I understand the importance of separating politics from work but believe there is a way to encourage action without politicizing it. We’ve seen it done with brands that lead, like Starbucks, who encourage a dialogue with their partners about issues that matter and then give them the tools to take action. That is a true form of leadership. Understanding your role as an employer is about the employee as a whole – not just the work they do for you when they show up to work each day.
But more fundamentally, simply having access to the democratic process is a crucial component of a healthy society. This is the perfect place for business to step up. Finding avenues to make the process of engaging easier is essential - whether it be programs to help employees get to the polls, technology to ease communications with their representatives or hosting or attending community events. Doing this demonstrates two things; 1. A deep understanding that employees are three-dimensional and share concerns about issues outside of the workplace and 2. That true leaders help their people act on the issues they care about.
It’s great to see organizations emerging that can make this process easier. I came across one such organization in a conversation with a colleague last week. Countable builds what they call ‘Action Centers’ for organizations to “galvanize their employees.” These action centers act as an educational tool, breaking down issues into plain English, as well as an advocacy platform – making it easy to take action on issues directly through the platform. Brands are using tools like Countable to help their employees participate in the political process and by doing this, are providing real value to their employees, especially in our current political environment.
The only question that remains is why not? Why not dive in as leaders and help employees engage in the civic process? It sends a clear message that you care about your employees and about making real and beneficial change in our country.