Do Your Workplace Policies Encourage Employees to Do Their Duty and Vote?

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IT’S A TOPIC that only comes around every few years, but it comes down to this: What are your workplace policies for allowing employees to vote?

A recent survey uncovered a new wrinkle about this issue that I had never thought about. It’s this: A company’s voting policies can also have a huge impact on the organization’s overall employee engagement.

O.C. Tanner, the longtime rewards and recognition company, recently asked a thousand workers across the country about their organization’s rules around voting during standard office hours (M-F, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Only 34% get paid time off to go vote

Here’s what they found:

  • Some 62 percent “said their company allows them the flexibility to leave the office during the workday to vote.”
  • However, only 53 percent of hourly employees were given flexibility to go vote during the day, as compared to 69 percent of salaried employees.
  • And, only a third (34 percent) said “their company gives its employees actual time off (e.g., two hours paid time off) to vote.”

That’s pretty straightforward, but the O.C. Tanner survey also found that when employees are given workplace flexibility for voting, there seems to ALSO be “positive correlations between their engagement and well-being levels.”

The numbers show that the “positive correlations” are pretty significant. For example:

  • 72 percent say their job allows them to balance their work and personal life, as opposed to only 56 percent of respondents who are not allowed flexibility during the work day to vote.
  • In addition, 71 percent say they support the values for which their organization stands for, as opposed to only 55 percent of respondents who are not allowed flexibility during the work day to vote.
  • Another 65 percent say they would recommend their organization to a friend as a good place to work, as opposed to 47 percent of respondents who are not allowed flexibility during the work day to vote.
  • And, 69 percent say they have a strong desire to be working for their current employer in a year from now, as opposed to only 48 percent of respondents who are not allowed flexibility during the work day to vote

What can we learn from this research?

Pro-voting workplace policies drives better engagement

Here’s my take: In the workplace, little things really matter, and giving employees the flexibility to do their civic duty and vote is a little thing that can pay big dividends in higher employee engagement.

Whenever I hear a discussion about this topic, it makes me wonder: Why wouldn’t a company want to encourage their employees to get out and vote?

Unless your HR policies were crafted by Ebenezer Scrooge, just about every organization should be encouraging good citizenship, especially when it’s something that only impacts the workplace every year or two.

Workplacefairness.org points out that “some states … designate a specific amount of time that workers must be allowed off to vote … (and) this time off may be paid or unpaid,” but really, letting employees take the time to go vote is one of those policies that sets the tone for your entire workplace culture.

You shouldn’t need a state law to get you to do the right thing.

A win-win solution for everyone

Companies giving managers broad leeway to let employees get out to vote sends the message that you have a caring, responsible culture that encourages workers to do their duty. It sends positive cultural ripples throughout the organization.

Companies that make it hard for employees to get time off to vote? Well, as the O.C. Tanner survey shows, less than half of workers would recommend a company like that as a good place to work to anyone they know.

As the survey found, the choice is pretty clear — giving employees the flexibility to go vote and do their civic duty is important, and a good thing for your managers to emphasize as the midterm elections draw near.

Despite how you feel about the current political climate, getting people out to vote is a win-win we can all agree on.

This originally appeared on the Kronos Workforce Institute blog.

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