Taking on controversial issues in the workplace

By Bryan Brenner, CEO and founder, FirstPerson

When Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was making headlines, a number of Indiana companies stepped up to make their support or opposition publicly known.

While companies’ taking public positions on pending legislation isn’t a frequent occurrence, it also isn’t unusual. In the past, we’ve seen Indiana firms of all sizes take positions on matters such as gay marriage, education standards, mass transit and even global geopolitics.

The firms’ positions might seem straightforward and logical, and their involvement might be relatively minimal (sometimes it’s nothing more than adding a signature to a group letter), but, if they do it right, their approach to getting involved in such issues is well-planned and transparent to their employees. Otherwise, they run the risk of increasing their standing among peers but losing their standing among their own people.

How do companies manage this balance?

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