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What to Consider Before Taking a Public Stance on Social Issues

What to Consider Before Taking a Public Stance on Social Issues

Over the last few years, there has been no shortage of polarizing headlines in the news, resulting in an uptick in political conversations and interest in social issues. Along with increased discussion comes the added pressure for organizations to publicly state where they stand. And while many have already publicly voiced their stances on these issues, many are still reluctant to do so. 

60% of employees think CEOs should speak publicly on political and controversial issues, and 53% of consumers feel the same—furthering the expectations of organizations to speak up. Here are some things to consider before your organization takes a public stance on a social issue.  

 

What to Consider Before Taking a Public Stance on Social Issues

Social issues are sensitive matters, and taking a public stance should not be taken lightly. Here are some things for your executive leadership team to consider while deciding what course of action to take:

 

  • Revisit your company values and mission to make sure the statement you’re making aligns with your organization’s beliefs. A well-aligned statement is likely to be better received by your audience and internal employees.
  • Think with the end in mind. Instead of making a statement “just to make one,” think about why your company is feeling empowered to do so and what outcome you are hoping for. This is also a great time to consider any repercussions that may occur. 
  • Put your employees on the priority list. Making a public statement will affect them, as they are an extension of your brand. Be sure to consider all angles of who your statement will affect, positively and negatively. It may be wise to ask for internal feedback before going public with your statement to cover all bases.
  • Keep external stakeholders in mind as well. Make sure your public statements remain consistent with your organization’s mission without distancing it from important stakeholders.
  • Make a plan to hold your organization accountable. Making a public statement is powerful, so before releasing a public statement on an issue, ensure your organization has examples of how you plan to uphold it. This is a great reminder to revisit your organization’s DEI efforts as well.

 

Keep a Pulse on Employee Sentiment Around Social Issues

Polarizing conversations around social issues and politics can be draining on employees, in and out of the workplace. Checking in on employees and gauging how they feel about these issues can make them feel valued and heard. It can also help your organization take action and make a public statement if you decide to do so.

BerniePortal’s Performance Management feature offers a variety of survey tools for your organization to gain insight into how employees feel. Surveys are completely customizable to fit your organization and can be structured as a short answer, yes or no, or 1-10 scale response. Surveys are a quick and efficient way to take the pulse of your organization on sensitive topics like social issues.

For a more personalized touch, managers can meet with their direct reports about social issues, using the 1:1 tool to set an agenda beforehand. Talking to employees one-on-one allows managers to build relationships and talk through any hard-pressing concerns. Documenting the conversations with employees allows your organization to use the feedback to formulate a plan of action for speaking publicly about social issues.

 

 

Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

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