Policymaking doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it is a highly collaborative process between policymakers and the various constituencies they represent. Companies engage in this process to ensure the development of informed public policies that not only enable them to thrive and bring their products and services to the customers they serve, but also advance important societal goals. In this way, corporate advocacy is playing an increasingly crucial role in helping to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society today, including health disparities, climate change, and economic inequality.
But companies are ultimately just communities of individuals working together to achieve a shared purpose. As such, as companies build their public policy agendas and develop strategic plans for realizing their advocacy goals, they should consider policy-focused employee engagement as a critical component.
Below are just a few of the reasons employee engagement on public policy can bring value for companies, employees, and the policymaking process.
The Benefits of Engaging Employees on Public Policy
- Engagement provides information that employees want. The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), a bipartisan organization promoting the political interests of the business community, has extensively surveyed employees across the country about their views on policy-focused employee engagement programs. Their research has consistently found that the majority of employees want to hear from their employers about policy issues impacting their company and/or industry and that employees view their employer as the most credible source for this information. In fact, of the employees that had received public policy information from their employers, more than 80% said that the information was helpful in deciding how to vote in an election.
- Engagement helps employees have a stronger appreciation for their company and their industry. Policy-focused engagement can help employees understand the value of their company and their industry within the context of the broader economy. This knowledge also helps demonstrate the various ways their company and industry are contributing to society by advocating for public policies that help address major societal and economic problems. According to BIPAC’s research, employees that receive policy information from their employers are more likely to think their company is a good corporate citizen, that the information fosters a stronger employer-employee relationship, and that they have a deeper understanding of their company’s mission and values.
- Engagement empowers employees to become advocates. By educating employees about how significantly public policies can impact the ability of businesses to succeed, policy-focused engagement can build an army of champions that can help advance a company’s and/or industry’s policy agenda among policymakers and enhance its reputation among the general public. As BIPAC’s research has found, engagement programs make employees more informed citizens, increase their likelihood of civic participation, and make them more likely to say positive things about their company to friends and relatives. Why do engagement programs have such a significant impact? As former congressman and current BIPAC CEO Jim Gerlach notes, “employees care about their jobs and the success of their companies, and they want to have their voices heard in the electoral and legislative processes.” Ultimately, employee engagement programs can encourage those on frontlines of the business to participate in the public policy process, which can help support more sound and informed policymaking.
How Reservoir Can Support Policy-Focused Employee Engagement
As health policy and strategic communications experts, the Reservoir team is uniquely positioned to help healthcare companies develop impactful policy-focused employee engagement programs. From multi-session workshops with issue-specific modules, to FAQ resources that let employees have compelling responses to common tough questions at their fingertips, to detailed speaker’s notes to facilitate engaging presentations – our team can create a full suite of materials and programming to help companies educate their employees about the public policy issues that matter most to them and their industry.