Yesterday, I stood in line on the first day of early voting with my tumbler of coffee in one hand and documents to review in the other. From a business perspective, my mind was focused on trying to help our customers prepare for holiday communications in the middle of a pandemic and racial unrest. Then it hit me that the next major shared experience for all of us, is the upcoming election!
We are fewer than 20 days away, and if you haven’t developed or started executing your internal communication plan on voting, you are behind.
So, here are four quick things you can do to catch up…
1. Say Something
If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that our employees are paying attention to what’s going on in the world and they expect their employers to at least acknowledge it, if not show some degree of support. More and more, employees want to work for a company that takes a stance on important issues and whose values align with their own. Supporting everyone’s right to vote is not a difficult position to take, and, in addition to it being the right thing to do, employees will appreciate your acknowledgement of their feelings, and they will reward your support with increased engagement.
Pro tip: A letter from the CEO encouraging employees to vote is a great place to start.
2. Be a Resource, Not the Source
Communicate to your employees about when where, and how they can vote. The more locations you have, the more difficult this becomes, so I’m not saying you need to have someone who is an election expert on staff, but find reputable nonpartisan sources, to which you can direct employees to get more information. Many county and municipal websites have dedicated pages with voting information.
Pro tip: You can make these communications part of your regular internal communication rhythm (emails, posters, newsletters), or you can do a special campaign focused on voting.
3. Communicate How You’re Supporting Their Voting Plan
This year, we’ve all been encouraged to create a voting plan to ensure we can make our voice heard. Think about what you can do to support your employees’ voting plans. The make-up of your workforce (e.g. hourly/non-desk workers, distributed workforce, exempt professional staff, etc.) adds to the complexity of how you can provide support, but you can do something. Many organizations have offered flexible scheduling and additional time to vote for hourly employees, extended lunches for exempt employees, and some have gone as far as to give the entire organization off for election day. In addition to enabling employees’ voting plans, some organizations have provided employees the opportunity to participate in the overall election process by offering days off to serve as poll workers.
Pro tip: You can always do something. If you’re not sure where to start, randomly sample employees to better understand their voting plans. Once you have a general idea of their plans, you can tailor your support and communications around their approach vs. trying to “boil the ocean.”
4. In Case of Emergency, Call Cardigan
We get it. This isn’t everyone’s thing…but it is ours, and we’d love to help you. If you need it done right the first time and quickly, we’re your resource.
Pro tip: Don’t wait. Click here to start the conversation.
And not to stress you out, but if you haven’t thought about your communications plan post-election, you should start thinking about that too. I’ll save that one for another post.