Majority of Employees Believe Large Companies Need to Play More Active Role in Addressing Important Societal Issues

A new survey, reveals that more than half (57 percent) of those working in America’s largest companies feel that their employers should play a more active role in addressing important societal issues. And there is even greater support when looking at specific issues like equal opportunity in the workplace, healthcare reform, and renewable energy. Other key findings from this nationwide survey include:

  • 50 percent of workers feel their company and/or CEO is facing growing internal and/or external pressure to be more vocal on important societal issues.
  • 45 percent say corporate America’s role in addressing issues is more important than it was a year ago compared to just 11 percent who say less important.
  • 44 percent foresee corporate America’s role in addressing societal issues increasing over the next year; only 18 percent see it decreasing.

Despite these figures, only 35 percent of respondents feel assured that their CEO has a finger on the pulse of employee attitudes towards today’s major societal issues. This is significant because roughly half of those surveyed (45 percent) indicate that the actions a company takes to help influence important societal issues impact their decision to maintain or pursue employment with a company. More specifically, 38 percent say they would be less likely to continue working for the company long-term if their company and/or CEO made zero effort to make a difference on an important societal issue.

Using a series of segmentation questions, Povaddo estimates that 15 percent of the workforce in corporate America can be categorized as “employee activists.” The survey finds that Millennials are three times more likely than Boomers to fall into this category (26 percent versus nine percent, respectively); there is also a significant gap between those who are in management positions (20 percent) and those who are not (eight percent).

Povaddo defines employee activists as those who meet the following criteria:

  • agree that it’s important to work for a company that’s not afraid to be vocal on important societal issues;
  • would like to see their company and/or CEO be more vocal on important societal issues;
  • strongly agree that it is important to work for a company that shares their values; and
  • are very interested in news, politics, and current events.

The full survey and additional insights can be obtained by contacting Povaddo at

Photo: Members of the California Chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals work with Habitat for Humanity transform home in Riverside, California.