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Beware: When You Talk Politics, Employees Listen

Apparently, employers play a big role in keeping employees politically informed and active.

The election is over, but that doesn't mean the office water cooler chats about politics suddenly stop. And heads up--your employees likely take your opinions on matters like health care and taxes to heart, according to an annual research report from the Business Industry Political Action Committee.

The report, which surveyed more than 500 people across various business industries, found that 35% of employees view their employer as the most credible source on issues affecting their job, company and industry--even above media (16%) and their own political parties (12%).

An overwhelming 75% said they find political information provided by their employers useful.

"Since we began our outreach and monitoring, we have seen a fourfold increase in employer-to-employee political communications," wrote BIPAC President and CEO Gregory S. Casey in a post for the Harvard Business Review blog. When BIPAC released the first of its biennial studies in 2008, only 10% of respondents thought employer-provided information was reliable.

Furthermore, 37% visit their employer's website for political information. And 51% said they would like a weekly or monthly update from their employers.

The study also revealed that employers have influence on political activity. The report found 32% of respondents credit their increased awareness and involvement in politics to employer-provided information, while 26% said it made them more likely to vote and helped with their voting decisions. 

But before you grab your soap box, there are plenty of cautionary tales against talking politics at work.

 

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