What to Know About Voting and the Workplace

Election Day is fast approaching, but some employers aren't making it easy for workers to vote.
By: | October 15, 2018 • 2 min read

All eyes in the political world are on Nov. 6, as the most anticipated midterm election in recent memory draws nearer. However, political pundits may not be the only ones who should be gearing up for the election, as new research highlights the intersection of voting and the workplace.

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O.C. Tanner recently surveyed 1,000 Americans about workplace policies toward voting on the clock, finding a slim majority of organizations permitted flexibility on Election Day, though most companies did not give employees dedicated paid time off to vote. However, the firm found, more generous voting policies may pay off, as they were linked to better employee engagement and wellbeing.

Specifically, the survey found:

  • 69 percent of salaried employees are given flexibility to vote, compared to 53 percent of hourly workers;
  • one-third of employees get time off specifically for voting;
  • 71 percent of those allowed flexible scheduling for voting say they support their organization’s values, compared to 55 percent who aren’t granted flexibility;
  • 65 percent of workers given flexibility would recommend their company as a good place to work, compared to 47 percent of those who don’t; and
  • 69 percent of those at companies with flex policies for voting want to work there a year from now, compared to 48 percent of those who aren’t allowed flexibility.

The study authors suggested in a blog post that employers can make small adjustments for Election Day—letting employees come in later, take a longer lunch or leave early—that can have big results.

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“Workplace leaders will do well to recognize this opportunity to connect with their teams by allowing and encouraging them to complete their civic duty during work hours,” they wrote.

As politics increasingly touches all facets of society, and companies in turn grapple with issues like how to regulate workplace communication on potentially sensitive topics, the recent data suggest that formal policies regarding voting and the workplace should also be on the radar of HR leaders.

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected]

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