With corporate leaders facing increasing pressure to speak out on social issues, FGH research finds engaged Republican voters and many Independents are strongly turned off.
So how should organizations walk the line?
The first rule of thumb is for leaders to live and speak their values. But for other insights on corporate engagement, FGH’s research team queried our TrendSpotters community of over 300 engaged voters nationwide who follow the news and politics and are civically engaged.
This engaged audience says business leaders have an obligation to speak out on social and political issues – but this desire is driven almost entirely by Democrats. “I love it and feel it’s appropriate for business leaders particularly because they have to stand for more than profits. Making the country better is good for business,” one Democrat said.
Meanwhile, Republicans and many Independents are saying corporate activism only exacerbates divisiveness. “I can pretty much guarantee that you are not speaking for each and every employee you are pretending to represent when you speak publicly,” a Republican said.
However, there are a handful of issues where both parties agree speaking out is appropriate. Your company can gain traction across audiences by speaking to how an issue relates to your core business objectives, your workforce and your community.
- 81% say business leaders should speak out on matters related to getting the country back to work, including 76% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats.
- 72% say the same for laws that impact the communities where they operate (50% of Republicans, 94% of Democrats) and laws that impact their customers (52% of Republicans, 91% of Democrats).
- 68% say business leaders should speak out on the topic of infrastructure investment (50% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats).
- While Democrats support business leaders speaking out on most issues, engaging on immigration and reproductive healthcare are still divisive within the party.