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Vote 2020: Empower your employees to use their voices

Accessibility is more than one of our business principles—it’s also a core value. At Zendesk, we support safe, fair, and accessible elections in the U.S. and around the world.

By Tiffany Apczynski, VP Public Policy and Social Impact

Published October 6, 2020
Last updated October 6, 2020

Like many startups, Zendesk was founded with the goal of democratizing technology. We saw the pain businesses were experiencing as they tried to serve their customers well with software that was clunky, oppressive, and required so much specialized training that only select individuals were really equipped to manage it. So we set about creating customer support software that would serve the needs of large companies and small businesses just getting off the ground alike, guided by a fundamental belief that access and inclusivity are key to building a successful business.

Accessibility is more than one of our business principles—it’s also a core value.

Given the increased complexity of voting in the midst of a pandemic, it’s more important than ever that people get the time off they need to vote.

At Zendesk, we support safe, fair, and accessible elections in the U.S. and around the world. Which is why we’ve joined 1,000+ companies in the Time to Vote campaign, a nonpartisan movement led by the business community to increase voter participation in our country's elections by shifting the focus of company culture to be more overtly supportive of each employee’s right and obligation to vote.

Given the increased complexity of voting in the midst of a pandemic, it’s more important than ever that people get the time off they need to vote. Despite the heavy emphasis on absentee and mail-in ballots this year, many Americans will nonetheless choose to vote in person.

According to the Pew Research Center, voter turnout in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world. The most common reason people give for not voting is that they’re too busy or can’t take time off of work.

To that end, this fall Zendesk made the following changes to company policy to ensure our employees can vote easily and safely on November 3rd:

  • U.S. employees may take up to 2 hours without loss of pay to vote and leadership will be flexible in working with employees who vote in person
  • Exempt employees can use Take What You Need (TWYN) vacation time and non-exempt employees can use their volunteer time to vote and/or volunteer as poll workers
  • November 3 has been designated a ‘no internal meeting’ day

We hope other companies will join us in committing to make time for employees to vote. This downloadable election toolkit offers resources on voting, volunteering, and mobilizing networks ahead of the November 3rd U.S. General Election.

How else can your company encourage awareness and participation in our democratic process? Led by Zendesk’s social impact team, we’re also:

  • engaging on a dedicated “Vote-2020” Slack channel;
  • sharing social media templates and content so employees can mobilize their own networks to vote and volunteer;
  • rallying our customers and partners to join us in empowering employees and making time to vote.