According to The Society for Human Resource Management, nearly 40% of U.S. workers said they have raised their voices to support or criticize their employers' actions regarding a controversial issue affecting society.

As an employer, do you wonder how to respond to employee activism? Follow the three ways to respond listed below:

1. Understand the mindset and behavior behind the activism:

Understand your employees and what is on their mind, what is important to them? A tangible way to collect this anonymously is through an employee survey.

One way to help understand their mindset is by cultivating a culture of openness and transparency. Engaging with your employees and allowing opportunities for them to express their concerns can reduce any barriers to negative employee activism.

2. Create a process for feedback and response

Building off of the first way with a forum for openness imposes the opportunity for developing a process for communication.

Here are some ways to establish a response protocol:

  • Acknowledge employees’ concerns
  • Show respect to their concerns
  • Have a process in place for soliciting employee feedback and share the results
  • Keep information flowing, both the positive and negative with transparency helping with a company's credibility


3. Ensure the company’s values are a top priority

While it is important to be respectful and acknowledge employees' concerns, aim to always have your company's values as part of the employee activism solution.

Many employers are building out missions and core values that include corporate socially responsible features. This can include diversity and inclusion, helping the planet and environment and considering the social impact on stakeholders.

One final tip to remember with employee activism is that sometimes it is a result of an organization’s or employer’s wrongdoing. During these times, try to apologize and lead with empathy when resolving the problem.  But action will need to be taken to remedy the underlying issue.

Much of the time, employee activism is a result of your employees desire to work for companies that share their values and beliefs.  Be sure to tap into this positive energy for change