You give your people July 4th off in order to celebrate the beginnings of our democracy. Should you also consider giving them November 8th off this year in order to participate in its continuation?

A new campaign called (appropriately) TakeOffElectionDay is arguing the answer to this question is clearly yes. The campaign started last week "with  some tweets," reports VC Hunter Walk, who is involved in the effort, on his blog. "Since then, more than 100 companies have signed-up, including Spotify, TaskRabbit, SurveyMonkey, Wikimedia and The Skimm." 

You probably don't have to give your people the day off, but you should.

The movement is necessary, Walk explains, because many jurisdictions don't mandate paid time off for the most central requirement of a healthy democracy -- voting. (In contrast, in much of the developed world, elections are held on the weekend or on a public holiday to encourage maximum participation.)

But while bosses often don't have to support their teams in exercising their voting rights here in the U.S., they certainly should, Walk insists. According to him, CEOs, particularly in the tech sector, have being abdicating their political responsibilities. "For too long the tech community has been accused of apathy around social issues," he asserts.

It's time to make a change. CEOs, he feels, need to take a more active role in urging their employees to participate in this election. "We shouldn't rely upon individuals to exercise their right in the face of passive or obstinate CEOs," he writes. "Let's flip the script and have the CEOs inform their teams of their right to go vote -- and encourage participation."

How to join the movement

Convinced that nudging your people to fulfill their basic responsibilities as citizens is both the right thing to do and in all our interests long term? Walk explains that joining the campaign with a pledge to give your people time off to vote is simple. "If you're a CEO or executive who wants to make sure their company is listed, please reach out to me (hunterwalk@gmail.com)," he writes.

The campaign also offers tools if you are an employee hoping to make getting to the polls just a little bit easier. "The TakeOffElectionDay website even has the ability to anonymously email an executive in your company to pose this question if you don't feel comfortable sending the query directly," Walk adds.

Are you giving your people time off to vote this November?

Published on: Aug 4, 2016