Mar 7, 2024 - Business

New report: Employees agree — no politics at work

Share who say employers should take these actions this election year
Data: Weber Shandwick; Chart: Axios Visuals

As the 2024 presidential election looms, employees and consumers agree there's no place for politics at work, according to a new survey from Weber Shandwick.

Why it matters: This presents a major challenge for business leaders, brands and employers in an age in which everything has the potential to turn political.

By the numbers: Weber Shandwick surveyed 1,009 U.S. adults from Feb 9-12 and found that over 70% of employees and consumers want political neutrality in the workplace ahead of the 2024 elections.

  • Roughly 60% say companies need to avoid even the appearance of political involvement inside the workplace.
  • And a majority of Americans don't want to see businesses lobbying for specific legislation or donating to specific candidates or political parties, per the report.

Between the lines: The findings highlight a major conundrum for business leaders, says Weber Shandwick chief public affairs officer Pam Jenkins, because a majority of those surveyed still expect businesses to speak up on social societal issues, even controversial ones.

Zoom in: 8 in 10 Americans from across party lines believe businesses play a role in encouraging a free and fair election.

  • During the 2022 election cycle, many companies in battleground states executed large, internal get-out-the-vote campaigns to promote a fair democratic process.
  • For example, The Home Depot and Delta Airlines — both headquartered in Georgia — created resources for employees to check registration status, locate polling places, review candidate platforms and vote early.

Zoom out: People aren't just avoiding politics at work. Most say they avoid these topics in social conversations, and many "cancel" people they disagree with on social media.

  • 30% of consumers and 34% of employees report that electoral politics have divided their family.

What's next: As the election approaches, communication teams are reminding all employees of corporate social media and civic engagement guidelines.

  • "We're actually talking with a lot of clients about setting up internal task forces so that they have some rules of the road — and this is the first time we've ever suggested that to clients," Jenkins told Axios.
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