Today's post is an updated repost from an article I originally wrote on November 6, 2018. With the current U.S. election looming this week, it felt important to reemphasize not only the importance of voting, but the responsibility that we as HR professionals have to ensure all our employees have an opportunity to participate in the election.
Photo posted with permission from @urphillypal Check our more of his work here.
Have you voted yet or do you have a plan to vote tomorrow? I hope that all our #VillanovaHRD faculty, staff, and students have a plan to vote. While we don't all fall on the same side of the political spectrum, it is important that we all respect each person's right and responsibility to vote. Voting is an important civil liberty.
Villanova HRD Students, Faculty, and Staff showing off "I voted" stickers on the 2018 election day.
More than your own vote, as HR professionals, it is important that we consider whether our organization provides the right support and benefits for all our employees to be able to vote. Federal law does not require that employees be given time off to vote, but many state and local ordinances mandate voting leave time. But consider this, if you are an hourly employee living paycheck to paycheck, even if your organization gives you time off to go vote during polling hours, if you are required to clock out during the time you leave work to vote, what are you sacrificing to vote? An hour or two of pay for some employees might be too much a cost to get out and vote. But if your organization took the time to make sure every employee had paid time off to get out and vote, consider the benefits.
In this SHRM.com article, former Villanova HRD Assistant Professor and current George Washington University Assistant Professor, Katina Sawyer, Ph.D., said that, "Giving employees time off to participate in civic or community activities tends to improve worker performance. Employers who are offering paid time off to vote will likely reap the benefits through improved employee attitudes and performance." More than 500 companies have voluntarily pledged to give paid time off to their employees on Election Day. Is your organization on this list? If not, what are you doing to ensure the employees in your organization are able to vote?
VOTE. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. And remember, whichever way this election goes, you have colleagues, employees, and friends on both sides. We must learn to move forward together.
Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP is an Associate Director in the Graduate HRD Program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!