Divided and Working Together

A recent survey from job site Glassdoor finds that today’s workers expect companies to take a stance on political and social issues. But in a country divided, is this likely to have a positive impact on the entire employee population?

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The reasoning behind taking a stance seems logical enough; corporate activism has the potential to yield results. Nevertheless, workers responding to the Glassdoor survey may not have considered that the companies for which they work may not share their views.
As they’ve probably already learned, many of their coworkers have opposing points of view.

On Different Sides

Take climate change as an example – it’s one of the hot-button issues Glassdoor mentions in its survey.
According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, a program of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 70 percent of American adults believe climate change is happening, while 12 percent do not (others are unsure).
Another hot-button issue, also mentioned in the Glassdoor survey, is immigration. Here, Americans differ greatly on solutions. For example, 64 percent of Americans oppose a border wall, according to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think and fact tank.
If a company takes a stance on either one of these issues, or if discussions among coworkers ensue, there will likely be those for and those against a position.
When releasing survey findings, Dawn Lyon, chief reputation officer and senior vice president of global corporate affairs for Glassdoor, noted: “Employers should know that taking action is not a one-size-fits-all model. When determining how and when to engage on timely issues, it is important for employers to keep the company’s mission and core values top of mind to guide decisions.”

Giving Voice

Company leaders ultimately decide if, when, and how to take a stance on hot-button political and social issues.
Meanwhile, they can find ways to get involved in issues that are not controversial, with the idea of finding common ground among members of the workforce at a time the nation is divided.
By supporting universal causes, companies become catalysts for change—and build camaraderie among employees.
Examples of where and how to become active include:

  • Providing assistance to victims of hurricanes, floods, fires, and other disasters, and engaging employees in relief efforts.
  • Participating in Earth Day community cleanup activities.
  • Supporting Habitat for Humanity by sponsoring a homebuilding project, and encouraging employee participation.
  • Helping to feed families in need by holding a company/community food drive and donating to a local food pantry or shelter.
  • Giving holiday gifts to less fortunate children, through an organization like Marine Toys for Tots.

These and other activities help employees remain connected while working together.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.

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