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6 must-know tips on how to boost your employees’ well-being during election periods

In every democratic society, everything in our little part of the world comes to a standstill during elections. And rightfully so. Elections, through the power of balloting, are a monumental time and exercise that gives people the opportunity to play an active role in societal change and the political reform process. An opportunity Lyndon B Johnson perfectly described- “The right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their destinies.” And since democracy is not a spectator sport as Marian Edelman once said, here are ways employers can support this process and their employee’s well-being during this electioneering season.

  1. Conduct listening sessions before and after the elections

Listening sessions can be organized semi-formally to allow employees to share their thoughts about what the elections mean to them and to address any concerns they may have regarding its impact on their work. The goal here is to give staff a safe space to express themselves politically within the bounds of the office setup as well as reiterate your commitment to enabling them to participate in this important process.

2. Organise civic education sessions

You can freely consult with election officers in your region to help sensitize staff on registration and other important aspects of the elections. If your organization has over 1000 staff on-site, you can also help them do a registration run.

3. Emphasize covid guidelines

Use this period to continue doing your best to protect your facilities and staff against Covid infections and spread. During elections, the majority of your staff may also wish to take a leave of absence to travel to their respective voting areas. Because of the social nature of elections, it may be wise to do a covid vaccination exercise before the elections and afterwards.

Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

During

4. Allow staff time off to vote

Yes, employees may be able to take their annual leave to travel or vote, however, you can go further and give all staff some days off if that’s possible or flexible work options during that week. This allows them the freedom to plan around their work and travel plans comfortably without suffering because of their participation.

5. Share guidelines on political discussions in the workplace

This includes dos and don’ts on what type and levels of political conversations can happen and in which communication spaces. Clarify questions employees may have such as whether they can share campaign posters or other election content on the all-company Slack channel. If possible, you can also allow the creation of a temporary channel during the elections and assign a suitable moderator.

After

6. Provide mental well-being support & resources

From sharing counsellors and counselling resources, telemedicine and on-demand wellbeing support e.g. etherapy or live support and others before the elections, acknowledge how heavy a toll this period can take on some employees more than others. Whether it’s your sales team worried about possible election violence and the impact on their performance numbers, business leaders pondering over the loss of traction on strategic income-generating initiatives, or an employee depressed because their favourite candidate didn’t win, you will need ready-on-hand support to ensure your company is positioned to bounce back quickly whatever the outcome. And all in all, as Nelson Mandela said, “May our choices reflect our hopes, not fears.” Let hope & empathy sail you through gently through this electioneering season.

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Stella Ngugi

Stella Ngugi

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HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech& Entrepreneurship meet| Eat. Pray. Code. Blog. Hire | 🇰🇪 IVisit stellangugi.com for more info.