Employee Login

Enter your login information to access the intranet

Enter your credentials to access your email

Reset employee password


Educate, Don’t Advocate: The Why and How of Civic Engagement at Work

May 14, 2024

U.S. Version: May 2024

The Takeaway

As the United States faces one of the most politically polarizing presidential elections in recent years, organizations can benefit from shoring up a healthy internal climate and prioritizing business continuity now ‒ ahead of potentially divisive events that might fracture cultures and teams or disrupt business operations.

A Healthy Outlet for Civic Engagement Can Make a Difference

Help employees stay focused on shared goals at work through civic engagement programs that aim to educate (not advocate). Keep in mind:

  • Non-partisan support for democratic processes can help organizations and their employees navigate a challenging political climate more positively and constructively.
  • To weather potential disruption and division in the workplace most effectively, organizations should plan ahead and take steps to promote positive civic engagement ahead of potentially disruptive events.

Three Ways to Support Democratic Processes

Organizations can — and many already do — support employees’ civic duty by offering time off, providing information/resources and encouraging them to engage in democratic processes. Here’s how to activate:

1. Time. Organizations can support the process by ensuring employees have the time they need to vote. Federal laws don’t require that employers grant time off to vote, state and local ordinances vary, and time-off offerings depend on business needs. But organizations can offer time to vote by:

  • Encouraging employees to talk to their managers to ensure they can participate in the election process
  • Offering PTO hours, closing for the day or dismissing employees early to allow time to vote. (Organizations that operate in multiple states should be mindful of state and local variances to ensure consistent access, e.g., consider whether employees in states with mail-in voting have access to the same amount of time off as those without it.)

2. Information and resources. Organizations can encourage employees to seek out authoritative, verified sources of information, especially those that have been through editorial reviews. By providing access to resources detailing voting procedures by state as well as information about which items appear on the ballot, an employer can be seen as a trusted source of accurate and impartial information.

Other measures include:

  • Helping employees register to vote and educating them on smart voter practices and preparation leading up to elections.
    • Posting signage with information on how to register and vote
    • Making registration forms available in common areas
    • Hosting a voter registration drive
  • Launching an internal website or educational campaign aimed at getting out the vote
  • Curating a list of third-party, independent resources and making it available to employees, for example:
    • Secretary of State websites
    • County Board of Elections websites
  • Aligning with non-partisan voter advocacy groups that offer insight and guidance.

3. Encouragement. Organizations have an opportunity to reiterate to employees that, as U.S. citizens and regardless of political positions, voting is their civic duty. Senior leaders can set the tone by underscoring the importance of voting and instilling a sense of confidence in its power. Consider:

  • Sending a note highlighting the importance of education, registration and voting
  • Aligning voting and civic engagement to company values
  • Sharing a leader’s personal voting plan — and inviting others to do the same
  • Timing outreach around ongoing civic events such as conventions, debates and National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 17.

Whatever level of encouragement you provide, proactively communicate — across a variety of channels and methods — all the measures your organization is offering to help employees exercise their right to vote by:

  • Helping them register to vote
  •  Prompting ballot reviews  in advance of the election
  • Making a plan to get to the polls and vote

Be Aware of the Potential for Disruption

As you empower employees to engage in democratic processes, it’s likely that politics may enter workplace. Equip your organization to weather this period and maintain business continuity by embracing a preparedness mindset. Monitor the following dates for the 2024 U.S. election cycle events, which present added potential for impact on employees or your business.

  • July 15-18: Republican National Convention (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Aug. 19-21: Democratic National Convention (Chicago, IL)
  • Sept. 16: First Presidential Debate (San Marcos, TX)
  • Sept. 25: Vice Presidential Debate (Easton, PA)
  • Oct. 1: Second Presidential Debate (Petersburg, VA)
  • Oct. 9: Third Presidential Debate (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Nov. 5: Election Day

What’s Next

Provide a positive outlet for action and participation by evaluating, enhancing and proactively communicating your organization’s current and potential measures to promote healthy civic engagement now.

For more guidance, check out these resources on leading teams through a turbulent time:

The political landscape and related employee sentiments are changing daily and could impact your company culture and reputation, internally and externally. While these recommendations are tailored for the United States, democracy is on the ballot worldwide this year, so your organization may be called on to support democratic processes globally. Our Public Affairs and Talent + Transformation experts remain available to discuss these emerging issues.