If you haven’t planned for how your company or organization will respond to this year’s presidential election results, specifically what occurs once the winner is announced, you should.
This year’s vote for president is unlike any other we have seen. The specter of fraudulent election results has been raised continually over the last several four years. Last week the FBI announced that Russia and Iran obtained U.S. election data to influence voting. Early balloting numbers suggest this year may have the highest percentage of voters since 1902. No matter who wins, a large swath of your stakeholders will be disappointed, with some downright angry.
Response to election results
While the likelihood of something unprecedented occurring is unlikely, at least one corporate CEO is concerned. JP Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Diamon sent a memo to employees stating, “While we understand there is tremendous passion and strong opinions, the responsibility each of us has to respect the democratic process and the election outcomes is paramount.”
Like JP Morgan Chase, it behooves all companies and organizations to prepare in advance for a non-traditional post-election response. Taking a more proactive role in civic responsibility by corporations is not unprecedented. From Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “CHI-VOTE-LE” T-shirts to Nike’s ads on racism, brands are weighing in on social issues more frequently. The reason is simple. It makes good business sense.
Civic/Social responsibility is a sound business strategy
Numerous studies show consumers are making buying decisions with a company’s social responsibility initiatives in mind. In fact, research found that companies with corporate responsibility programs are more profitable than those without.
To help you with your post-election response planning, here are three tips.
Guidelines for employees
While COVID limits the amount of in-person interactions among your employees, they are still communicating with one another. It is important to walk a fine line between allowing the freedom to express oneself while keeping differences of opinion from impacting the workplace. Remind employees through your internal communication channels that their response to the election results may negatively impact future relationships with colleagues.
For election results, I recommend having three standby statements ready. The first is in response to some type of civil unrest. The second addresses a discrepancy in the vote tally or a prolonged period between the end of the election and the announced results. The last is a generic statement that you can release no matter the circumstance. The goal of a standby statement is to have language written and approved in advance so when the need arises to issue comments, you can do so quickly. Once it is out, you have time to write something more substantive.
Process to listen
Leadership requires listening, especially when it comes to civic responsibility and social justice. When you go out with a statement, expect a small group of individuals to disagree. You also will have many who are pleased. You need way for both groups to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Not only will this help with understanding what they are thinking and feeling, but it also demonstrates empathy. While brands say they care, very few show it.
About The Gotfried Group
The Gotfried Group helps companies, nonprofits, and governments increase awareness, manage their reputations, and solidify relationships with customers and stakeholders. What makes us unique is our use of behavioral science. For you, our client, this means better results, faster.