It’s Politics as Usual in the Workplace

Oct 9, 2008

It’s Politics as Usual in the Workplace

Survey finds only 35 percent of organizations restrict political activities at work.

Alexandria, Va. – Almost two-thirds of organizations surveyed recently have no written or unwritten policies on political activities in the workplace. However, 55 percent of all employers allow staff to take paid or unpaid time off to vote, according to the survey released today by the world’s largest human resources association.

In the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey of nearly 450 employers, those 35 percent of organizations with policies on political activities reported one or more of the following restrictions:

• Prohibited use of company assets in support of any political party or candidate (71 percent);

• Employees not allowed to devote any work hours to any political party or candidate campaign (68 percent);

• No political activities on company premises (68 percent), and

• No employee may use position to pressure vendors, suppliers, or other staff members to show support for or make contributions to any candidate or political party (66 percent).

“Employers who elect to go without official policies on political activities in the workplace are making a mistake. Clear guidelines help HR professionals handle employee relations problems that can arise around election time or stop them before they occur,” said Lawrence (Lon) O’Neil, president and CEO of SHRM.

In a related election survey by SHRM, Important Attributes for the Next President of the United States,HR professionals chose the following as the five most vital attributes of the next president: ability to choose effective advisors and delegates (68 percent); leadership skills (65 percent); judgment and decision-making skills (63 percent); strategic and critical thinking skills (59 percent); and crisis management and conflict resolution skills (47 percent).

These surveys are part of a series of SHRM surveys on the upcoming election. Other election survey topics include health care and immigration. Complete copies of the surveys are available at


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 245,000 members in over 130 countries, and more than 575 affiliated chapters. Visit


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