Blog article

Companies should make it their business to get out the vote

Voters across the United States are casting ballots in what’s likely to be the most expensive election in the country’s history, projected by the Center for Responsive Politics to cost US$10.8 billion. But despite record-breaking spending by the campaigns and the possibility of a once-in-a-century surge in turnout, voter participation in the U.S. is comparatively underwhelming. Only 55.7 percent of eligible voters participated in the last presidential election, below recent voter turnouts in other countries (for example, 66 percent in Mexico, 76 percent in Israel, and 87 percent in Belgium). That means about 100 million U.S. citizens did not exercise their fundamental right to vote four years ago.

Political parties and civic action groups are working hard to increase voter turnout this time around. But they’re not the only ones. Joining forces with them to help get out the vote is a new entity: corporate America.

Hundreds of leading

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What business leaders think about the U.S. election

With only three weeks left before the U.S. presidential election, business leaders are anticipating new policy risks regardless of the outcome. According to the latest PwC US Pulse Survey, which polled 537 U.S. C-suite and other executives between September 30 and October 6, respondents are most concerned about changes in tax policy, followed by the federal government’s response to the global pandemic. In some respects, the two issues are interrelated, as the question of how to fund recovery efforts looms.

The survey also revealed that executives are significantly more likely to be concerned about tax policy changes under a Biden administration (62 percent) than under a second Trump administration (39 percent). However, most respondents (76 percent) agree that business tax rates will rise to pay for COVID-19 relief regardless of which party controls Congress, up from 70 percent who expressed the same sentiment in early September.

Meanwhile, tax directors

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Working parents need flexibility and technology support

This year has brought unprecedented upheaval to American parents. With kids at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, sick loved ones needing care, and rising unemployment, mothers and fathers have been under tremendous strain.

The American Psychological Association’s survey on Stress in America 2020, published in July, found that “parents are, on average, feeling significantly higher levels of stress than adults without children.” On a 10-point scale, the parents surveyed put their stress at 6.7 on average, with nearly half saying it’s between 8 and 10. When I asked the APA for a breakdown by gender, they informed me that there was no “statistically significant difference” between mothers and fathers.

But there is a gender difference in how this time is affecting people’s participation in the workforce. A reportPDF by the National Women’s Law Center found that in September, four-fifths of those who dropped out of the

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The lasting impact of 2020 on leadership

There are still a few months left in the year, and given what has happened in 2020 so far, there’s probably still time for yet another seismic event. Already, we’ve had two: the global pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, which heightened awareness of systemic racial injustice, led to protests across the world, and spurred pledges and commitments to change from hundreds of companies.

These events are fundamentally changing the way senior executives act and lead. They have made it safe, even necessary, for leaders to be comfortable saying the words “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure.” But they also have shown the need for more listening and flexible thinking.

Leaders who believe they have all the answers to navigating the tectonic shifts and disruptions caused by the pandemic will quickly lose credibility with their team. “The days of macho leaders are absolutely over,” said Tanuj Kapilashrami, group

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COVID-19 places a heightened emphasis on mental health

The COVID-19 crisis forced organizations worldwide to make immediate decisions about how to protect their employees from a mysterious, fast-spreading, sometimes deadly pathogen. Among their actions were requiring employees and customers alike to wear face coverings, deploying testing, adopting best hygiene practices, rolling out health monitoring and reporting apps, and encouraging people to work from home. In short, businesses quickly acted on the social determinants of health by adapting policies and physical environments to protect employee and customer well-being.

Once largely the purview of governments and social services organizations, social determinants of health in recent years have begun to draw employers’ attention. As a 2019 PwC report notes, businesses have a role to play, not just as individual actors addressing the social factors affecting their workers’ health, but as partners in collaborations addressing community-wide needs. The COVID-19 outbreak intensifies the urgency for employers to address these issues. That’s because beyond

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Creating a powerful ecosystem to sustain competitiveness

The potential to create value sometimes entails creating a completely new industry, one in which companies that have never interacted before come together. Of course, a new market that brings them together can sometimes do the job. But a market is unlikely to be effective in promoting the kinds of knowledge exchange and co-learning required to build a new industry, especially when its future is shrouded in uncertainty.

Creating the new mobility industry, for instance, will not just involve automotive companies. In fact, automakers may be one of the less important contributors. A new mobility industry will need infrastructure providers, designers, and manufacturers of new types of sensors (both on-board and embedded in the environment), software and artificial intelligence (AI) companies, entertainment to occupy the passenger in an autonomous vehicle, and regulators and municipal governments, to name just a few of the likely participants. Hence, a new ecosystem that promotes

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