Supporting Employee Activism: BPR in BBC
February 9, 2017
A while back, Constance, a Senior Account Executive in our Seattle office, asked the leadership team if she could to take some time off to fly to Washington DC to be a part of the Women’s March. Hardworking, thoughtful and determined, Constance is the type of individual who always stands up for her beliefs. Constance kept her upcoming political plans to herself, but more and more staff members began to ask her about the march and expressed their support of her activism. Not only did BPR’s leadership team accept her time off, they encouraged it, and gifted her a “protest kit” full of hand warmers, gloves, markers, and a poster board during the annual holiday party (Howie also offered to bail her out of jail if that situation arose, thankfully it didn’t). Constance, alongside hundreds of thousands of others, marched in DC on January 21st to make her voice heard on causes including rights, safety, health and families.
From Constance McBarron
Our CEO’s encouragement of Constance’s call to march led to a piece of coverage by BBC that focused on companies granting paid time off to their staff to let them participate in protests and demonstrations. Not only did our CEO’s comments lead the article, but we were proud to be named alongside business giants including Starbucks, Lyft, Google and Apple for this notable cause.
The article discusses how encouraging activism can help employees feel like they are genuinely cared about, but it also asks, is it a good idea? On one hand, companies that support time off for political activism may retain their employees for a longer period of time. If you feel supported as an individual at your place of work, you’re less likely to leave. To some, it’s the same as offering paid time off to volunteer (which Barokas Communications does too). On the other hand, businesses need to be prepared to deal with activism as employees will not always be on the same side of an issue. Howie summed up our approach by saying, “We’re not going to impose our political beliefs on employees, but we believe that activism is important.”
From Getty Images
Bottom line – activism is a part of our culture and more and more people are grabbing their clever signs and warm gloves (and hats) to take to the streets to stand up for their beliefs. While encouraging activism in the workplace is unchartered territory, many trailblazing companies are standing proudly next to their employees and saying, “Go for it”. And that, is a company I am proud to be a part of.