Ride into the danger zone (with issues advocacy)

The danger of venturing into uncharted waters is not nearly as dangerous as staying on shore, waiting for your boat to come in.

– Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life

Companies can no longer stay in their comfort zone when it comes to taking a stand on social issues.  Immigration, discrimination, the #MeToo movement, gun control, global warming, all polarize us in our personal lives and in our professional lives as well…and the list goes on. Not only do customers expect brands to speak up and take action, but so do employees.

In February, InMoment published a report showing that 58% of millennials, 55% of GenXers, and 51% of baby boomers think it’s important that brands invest in causes they care about. As companies feel the weight of public pressure to “fill a void”, Axios states, it is important that these firms determine which issues to avoid and where to engage .

This month, Morning Consult released a report about what millennials expect from brands. The graphic below from Axios represents a range of topics companies could advocate for and whether or not each topic will make millennials like a company more, less or neither.  

As you can see, civil rights and gay rights are the least controversial, whereas abortion policy, supporting a republican candidate and stricter immigration are among the top controversial topics.

So, what does this mean for your company and filling the void? Could company values be the guiding light for navigating business decisions as well as the company’s stance on social issues? In a time when speaking up is more important than ever, organizations must use their voice and power to inspire social change. When it comes to many employees and consumers, there is no room on the sidelines.