Businesses don’t normally publicly endorse a candidate for office. And while human resources policies commonly prohibit such explicit political moves in the workplace, some tech startups have decided it’s time to speak up.
When 145 leaders in the technology sector signed an open letter condemning GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, they included a disclaimer: The message reflected only the signees’ personal views, and not those of their companies or organizations.
Keeping work and politics separate is standard practice for most business owners and employees. Roughly three-quarters of human resources professionals say their workplaces discourage political activity in the office, according to a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). But in this heated election season, a handful of startups are bucking convention.
Riding the momentum of the open letter and venture capitalist Hunter Walk’s call for companies to give workers time off for voting, the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based app company Winnie wrote a post on Medium on August 9 declaring that her company was endorsing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president.
“This is what we as a company really stand for,” Sara Mauskopf says. “We just chatted about it–we do a lot of our talking over Slack–and everyone was really in agreement that Hillary Clinton’s values are really in line with Winnie’s values.”
Mauskopf followed up the post with a list on Quora of other businesses that have informed her they are endorsing Clinton. The list of 11 companies includes child-care startup Trusted, which posted its own Medium entry asserting that Clinton has stronger stances on family issues than Trump does. Other tech companies on the list include KYA, weeSpring, and Managed by Q.
Mauskopf, whose startup counts Walk as an investor, says its endorsement largely came down to what she describes as Clinton’s record of supporting women, children, and families. Winnie, known as the “Yelp for parents,” provides information about family-friendly amenities at businesses at other locations, such as highchairs, changing tables, and kids’ menus.