October 31, 2018
Over the last several decades, only about 40% of the eligible U.S. voting population has turned up to vote in midterm elections. This figure is disappointing to me because it was a short 50 years ago that the hard-fought Civil Rights movement solidified all Americans’ right to vote.
As a proud U.S. citizen and the leader of a company that provides services that help entrepreneurs to pursue the American dream, I feel it’s my duty to vote and to support my team in performing their civic duty. Likewise, I encourage other business leaders, especially small and medium size businesses (SMBs) similar to the businesses TriNet serves, to implement policies and programs that encourage employees to participate in our governing process.
Business representation at the polls can mean business representation in office
What makes TriNet incredible are our dedicated colleagues who live and work in various locations throughout the nation, as well as the 16,000-plus SMBs they work so hard to empower through extraordinary HR. While my TriNet colleagues and the hundreds of thousands of our clients’ employees may differ in our needs and political views, we are all impacted in our daily lives by legislation and regulations enacted through our governance process.
Now, imagine if each of those hundreds of thousands of people I just mentioned—the same ones who work every day in support of small businesses and the industries that drive America—were encouraged by their employers in a nonpartisan manner to take the time to cast their ballots. The more people who care about America’s industries and show it in the voting booth, the more likely the representatives elected to office will have those needs in mind when running our country.
By helping their employees remove some of the burdens voters sometimes face when participating in elections and making the workplace one that supports and encourages their right to vote, business leaders can help effect change in their community and country.
How to create a workplace environment that encourages voting
Ways to help employees exercise their right to vote include:
- Provide voter information. There is still time before the midterms to provide employees with information to find their polling place or vote early if they qualify. For future elections, businesses can help direct their employees to how they can register to vote and important deadlines for doing so. Vote.org is a great resource for this type of information and the company’s intranet page or an all-staff email can help in sharing these tips quickly and effectively with employees.
- Provide time off to vote. I encourage businesses to work with an HR expert to create a voting leave policy in accordance with any applicable voting laws in their state. TriNet has a paid voting leave policy to give employees the flexibility they need to find time to vote. Even in states where there is no specific voting leave law, it is best practice to allow employees up to two hours of paid time off to vote if there is insufficient time for the employee to vote outside of regular working hours. This can help ease any financial burdens or time constraints that may be holding employees back from voting. Working with an HR services provider to create a voting leave policy will help ensure that time off to vote is applied to all employees in a consistent manner, minimizing potential discrimination or retaliation issues.
- Communicate the voting leave policy to all employees in advance so that they are prepared to take advantage of their right to vote. Let them know what they need to do to provide notice to their manager and have their job duties covered while away from work. It can be helpful to have the business owner, founder or a member of the executive team send out communication on the voting leave policy to set the tone of a nonpartisan work environment that supports employees’ right to vote.
When voting is accessible to all, we all win
Our country remains a place where the hopes and dreams of millions of entrepreneurs, innovators and hard-working individuals can come true. The businesses I have the privilege of working with represent the best of these hopes and dreams. When we come together to support each other in exercising our rights, incredible things happen.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
About Burton M. Goldfield:
Since 2008, Burton M. Goldfield has served as President and CEO of TriNet. With more than 40 years of experience in sales, operational and technology leadership roles, he is known for driving product innovation and business growth. Under Burton’s leadership, the company has transformed into a leading cloud-based HR provider with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. Today, the company is an industry leader in providing access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll and real-time technology.