Politics are drawing heavy attention this year, as people who are usually indifferent are talking about issues that matter to them and taking sides. This includes a number of tech companies.
Is getting involved a good move for a company? I asked 11 members from the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
Facebook’s CEO recently spoke out about the US being a nation of immigrants, Lyft pledged million to the ACLU over the next 4 years, and many other tech leaders are speaking up. Should tech companies take a stand on politics, and if so, how should they go about doing so?
Their best answers are below:
1. Use social media platforms
Speaking out on social media and sharing data that they’ve gathered that can illustrate what politics needs to focus on would be very useful, and difficult for politicians and government to ignore. Tech is a reflection of society and its viewpoints, so speaking up would help share those perspectives and empower more to join with these executives. This mobilization could help bring change. – Zach Binder, Ranklab
2. Develop a plan of action
Without immigrants, our tech industry would be woefully unprepared to meet the current business challenges facing us today. Some of our greatest technological advances came through our immigrant population. If you curtail the ability to bring in the best and the brightest, we may lag behind to a significant degree. Follow the models of other tech companies and develop a plan of action. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
3. Counter false narratives
We have to talk back to politicians who talk up American entrepreneurship while talking down immigration and other pro-business principles. We have to counter the false narratives of immigrants as leeches and job-stealers by sharing stories proving that immigrants are often job creators, and that multiculturalism and equality are good for business. The future of American innovation depends on it. – Manpreet Singh, TalkLocal
4. Don’t speak as a reaction
If a CEO at tech company wants to speak out or take action, they should. They just need to discuss it with their team, and be ready to handle whatever happens after that. However, I don’t believe that somebody should speak out just because they are receiving backlash. It becomes reactionary and unauthentic at that point. Speak up if you want to do it, not because you feel like you have to. – Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf
5. Make the split between company and personal politics clear
I have no problem with CEOs of companies taking a stand on political issues. I just wish it would be characterized as “Joe CEO” is taking a stand, not his entire company. I believe it’s easy for people to assume that just because the head of a company feels a certain way about an issue, that everyone at the company does too. It could very well be that the majority of the employees disagree with them. – Travis Smith, V.I.P. Waste Services, LLC
6. Get involved with panels and fundraisers
It’s important for tech companies to get involved in politics, especially considering the growing regulatory environment online and new industries that are emerging. Tech is responsible for so many areas of life, so publicly getting involved in panels, organizations or fundraisers are great ways to participate and help guide the process. – Peter Daisyme, Due
9. Donate to organizations
We are a nation of immigrants and our lives and careers wouldn’t be what they are today if we weren’t. Tech companies are made up of people from all over the globe and they need to support those people, whether that’s by donating to an organization that supports immigrants or even embracing a general work strike. This isn’t about left or right, but about right or wrong. – Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media
10. Speak up and show compassion
I recently helped draft a joint response from Canadian tech leaders: I do think business leaders should speak up about the effects policy have on their businesses. However in my case as a Canadian, I’m reminded that U.S. politics are not my business. My aim is to reaffirm Canada’s policies and show compassion for those affected south of the border. – Hongwei Liu, mappedin
11. Don’t cut out half of your market
The country is divided politically right now. Why in the world would you cut out 50 percent of your market? Don’t speak on behalf of your employees. Don’t speak on behalf of your customers. They need to have their own voice. If you want to do anything, donate to a non-political charity as a corporate sponsor. – Bill Lyons, Revestor
12. Lobby and be supportive of individuals
As significant portion of tech employee talent are first and second generation immigrants, tech companies need to take a stance to represent their employees. Tech companies can support open and inclusive policies through lobbying and policy support at the corporate level and being supportive of individuals in exercising their political rights (e.g. allowing time off to vote). – Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.