This Election Season, Companies Are Helping Employees and Customers Vote
A public health crisis and a high-stakes election present new challenges this fall for U.S. voters, but businesses and other organizations are stepping up to help by launching new programs and building in support systems. Certified B Corporations are among the businesses leading this charge as they build on existing programs for employees, customers, and community — their key stakeholders.
The events of 2020 — the COVID-19 pandemic, the racial justice movement, and the resulting economic uncertainty from both — have created new challenges and opportunities for B Corps and other businesses, which are navigating the uncertainty while also serving as resources for their employees and other community members.
By serving as a stable source of information and encouraging employees and customers to vote as a way to use their voice to shape a better future for themselves and their communities, B Corps amplify their work of creating a more inclusive and regenerative economy. This year, B Corps and other businesses are doing their part to make sure their employees and other community members can vote safely, whether by providing paid time off for voting and volunteering or encouraging them to make a plan to ensure their ballots are cast.
To learn more about the initiatives and policies B Corps are adopting this election season to encourage employees to vote and volunteer, B The Change reached out to companies on the B Hive, an online communications site for B Corps. Here’s a sampling of how B Corps are helping to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) in 2020.
Ensuring Workers Have Paid Time Off to Vote
Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR), a Florida-based hospitality company, has several initiatives and partnerships in place to ensure employees will have the time and resources to get out and vote this election. To identify opportunities to improve election participation and civic engagement, the B Corp used an anonymous employee survey. With those results in mind, LVR joined business partnerships including the Time To Vote initiative, a nonpartisan movement that includes many B Corps and other businesses ensuring employees have the time they need to vote, and Business for America, a business partnership working to ensure a safe and secure 2020 election.
Jared Meyers, CEO of LVR, sent a newsletter to employees, customers, and his network that highlighted additional voting resources, deadline information, and other businesses participating in the voter engagement efforts.
“The call has never been greater for business leaders to show their capacity for humanity and to engage their employees in the voting process,” he says. “When businesses fail to proactively make accommodations for employee voting, employees feel disengaged, devalued, and disinterested, which stands in the way of your success and of our economy.”
LVR also held motivational contests to encourage registering to vote, as well as educational programs for employees on why voting is essential to shaping the world they wish to see.
Grove Collaborative is offering all employees paid time off to vote at the home care products company’s fulfillment centers in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Missouri as well as its corporate locations in California and Oregon. Employees voting by mail are encouraged to use the time toward advocacy and engagement. Grove also is donating about 85,000 units of hand sanitizer to the Pennsylvania National Associate for State Election Directors to support Election Day efforts.
The Myers-Briggs Company is providing paid time off on Election Day to encourage voting. The B Corp, which specializes in personality assessments, is limiting internal meetings to enable employees to take the time they need for voting. As Helen Denny of Myers-Briggs says: “It’s all very well allowing the time but no good if it looks impossible because your schedule is full.” The human resources team sent emails to employees with information about polling places, drop-off voting locations, and voter registration sites — small things aimed at helping to make voting easier.
MaCher USA, which creates sustainable promotional products, provides employees with eight paid hours during the election season (on top of the two hours to vote) to volunteer and help others get access to vote. The B Corp also partnered on a campaign to help Black men to access the vote through Shape Up the Vote in barber shops across the country.
As part of Time to Vote, Montana-based pet toy and bedding company West Paw is providing all employees with paid time off to prepare for voting by researching candidates and issues, as well as additional paid time off to cast their votes by mail or in person.
Providing Education and Resources on Voting and Issues
ReVision Energy, a solar energy B Corp based in Maine, put together a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) advocacy task force of employee owners focusing on education, internally and externally, to get out to vote this election.
The task force’s work led to creation of a website page, Vote for Justice, with state-specific pages for the three states that ReVision Energy serves, including important dates, volunteer organizations, candidate information, and a short video about why some ReVision Energy employees vote. As a member of the Time to Vote campaign, ReVision Energy is encouraging employees to use two hours during the day to go vote in person, research candidates, vote by mail, volunteer, or help in another way around the elections.
Provoc is part of a GOTV effort with racial equity organizations known as TogetherWeVote. The campaign aims to increase voter turnout among 18- to 35-year-old People of Color by building on the momentum of the racial justice movement, encouraging them to plan to vote with their friends, and uniting them around priority issues.
As part of its GOTV efforts, LOACOM in Santa Barbara, California, put together an online Be Vote-Ready guide with information and resources for individuals and companies. The guide includes information on volunteer opportunities, voter registration, time off for voting, and how to spread the word about the resources.
Working with other industry leaders, Denver-based Chook Chicken has provided restaurant operators with information on how to mobilize their staff to vote through a campaign called Restaurants Rally the Vote. More than 150 restaurants in Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, California, Arizona, Illinois, and other states have signed the pledge.
Giving Assistant, an e-commerce rewards platform, created an election resource guide for its employees that includes voting FAQs, state-specific voting info, important dates, and links to learn more about ballot measures. Additionally, Giving Assistant offers a floating half-day holiday that employees can use to vote in person on Election Day, vote in person early, prepare to vote by researching ballot items, fill out their vote-by-mail ballot, volunteer with a local or national election-related organization, or recover from election night.
Connecting Workers with Volunteer Opportunities
Beehive Strategic Communication in St. Paul, Minnesota, has expanded its programs to encourage volunteering and voting this election season. Rebecca Martin, VP of Culture and Talent, says the B Corp has added flexibility for its eight hours of voting time off so team members can use that time for election activities anytime before or on Election Day in one-hour increments.
“Previously, we had closed the office on Election Day. With most folks working from home, we shifted this approach,” she says. “Employees can now use VTO hours to write postcards to underrepresented voters — four of our team of 10 volunteered with Reclaim Our Vote. Or they can share voting resources on social media, make phone bank calls, help register voters, drive people to the polls, be an election judge, vote in person — anything else election-related.”
Through a shared resources document, Beehive team members can contribute information on volunteer opportunities such as organizations that need help or how to become an election judge in Minnesota. Beehive also has signed the Time To Vote initiative for the third year in a row and is a corporate member of Electionday.org.
As a business in Oregon, which is a vote-by-mail state, Idealist Consulting gives employees eight extra hours of volunteer time off — in lieu of time off on Election Day — and encourages employees to use that time to get involved in helping with voting and social equity causes. For employees who can’t volunteer their time, Idealist Consulting donates to a certified 501(c)3 of their choice.
During this election season DialogueDirect USA has organized national volunteer days so employee teams can safely go into their communities to help people register to vote. The B Corp also partnered with the nonprofit organization When We All Vote to share resources and other tools, including a state-by-state guide on registration and voting options plus information on poll worker opportunities, mail-in ballot guidelines, voting rights, early voting, and creating a personal voting plan.
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