With the 2022 U.S. midterm elections just a few months away, there are many hot topics to debate and citizens to hear — gun violence, the climate crisis, the persistence of COVID-19, and more. At the same time, as employees are looking for new jobs – known as the “big resignation” – compared to past years, consumers are also paying more attention to where they’re spending their money. Both employees and consumers are paying more attention to company policies and practices when deciding where to work and what to buy. All of this raises corporate governance questions for organizations that are unsure of what to do next: What does this change mean for organizational leaders in addressing social issues, especially political ones? What are the best practices for companies considering taking a stand?
In this PROvoke Media podcast, ROKK Solutions co-founders and partners Rodell Mollineau and Ron Bonjean discuss the current political situation in the US and its implications for business and PR. After all, in many cases it is no longer possible to avoid engaging in public political debate. Too much pressure from customers and employees. But on the other hand, not every conversation is a company that needs to be involved.
“It’s not just about inflation and crime anymore, and I think Republicans are going to love this election,” Molino said. “It’s still about inflation, it’s still about crime, but it’s also about reproductive rights. It’s about the rule of law. When voters go to the ballot box in November, they’ll have a lot of questions on their minds.”
In June, a new CNBC|Momentive survey found that more than half of American workers said they supported business leaders speaking out on politics. Women are more likely than men, younger workers are more likely than older workers, and — most strikingly — blacks, Asians and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say they approve of business leaders who speak up.
According to Bonjean, it’s important to have a plan now, as stakeholders will demand it in November.
“A company’s supporters, whether it’s employees, suppliers or customers, expect them to play a more active role in what’s happening in society,” he said.
Molino agreed, saying it was just a matter of lining up a company’s ducks.
“Companies have the tools,” he said. “It’s just a matter of organizing them the right way. That’s why they need a process and a framework. These [political involvement] Decisions cannot be made only at the top management level, which is often where decisions are made. Need to discuss how these decisions affect different lines of business, how they affect internal and external stakeholders, how they affect your government affairs function.
3:40: Who wins the House seat?
7:43: What a divided government means for business
12:23: Political topics to focus on
18:45: Awakeningism: what it is and why it matters
23:03: Aftermath of January 6th
27:13: STAR: Social Threat Assessment and Response Service
32:55: When to speak and when to sit
37:28: How to prepare for future changes