With the U.S. Election Day (November 3) nearly upon us, most
employers are anticipating disruption
to their workforce cultures both before and after the election,
according to the latest data from the Institute for Corporate Productivity
Of the 114 larger organizations polled (those with
workforces of >1,000), nearly half (48%) reported that they expect
disruption to their workforce cultures due to the 2020 election.
Less than half (47%) consider their organizations to be
moderately or very prepared for that potential disruption.
The data suggests that most organizations will rely on the
strength of their cultures to tackle any disruption that may bubble up in the
days leading up to November 3rd, primarily by reminding employees of their
existing codes of conduct, issuing communications about civility, and the
modeling of appropriate behavior by leaders. Some are working on skill building
for leaders on navigating political discourse that may come up in the
But some organizations seem to be frozen in the headlights—a
few noted that they are still in the planning phase or trying to determine what
may be needed and how to meet those needs.
Others indicated that the focus in their companies is on
remaining flexible in order to react quickly to any issues that may arise. With
emotions running high, worst case scenario planning—such as how to deal with
demonstrations of civil unrest or worse—are keeping plenty of leaders up at
What years of i4cp’s research has made clear is that
employees look to their leaders for guidance and reassurance in times of
uncertainty. And while it’s common to
have policies of refraining from
communications at the corporate level regarding political issues, to say
nothing in fact says something. Drafting contingent communications from the CEO to have on hand in
case it’s needed just makes sense.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made evident the importance
health and well-being benefits for employees, just 22% of survey respondents
indicate that they are stepping up communications about these offerings as part
of their post-election mitigation planning.
a communication from the CEO is planned by 20% of employers. And some are
preparing communications in the event that there is a drawn out, stressful
post-election period of uncertainty about the outcomes of races. There is also
some planning for post-election day absences and work slowdowns.
is of concern is that far more survey respondents (32%) reported that there is
no communication or mitigation planning in their organizations for what may or
may not happen following Election Day.
If this isn’t a conversation happening in your organization
right now, it’s well worth noting and sharing the words of one survey
participant, who said:
“In a recent pulse survey, we discovered that the U.S.
elections was a top concern for everyone and causing a lot of anxiety. We
created a guide for managers to facilitate discussion with a focus on how
people can take care of themselves. It is purposefully non-partisan and about
our values; how people are stressed; and how we can support each other.”