Employees Want Bosses Who Take a Stand — and a Side

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The rules about keeping your work life and your personal life separate have been strict and nearly unspoken for a very long time. Unless your job is political in nature, you aren't supposed to go public about your political stances. Attitudes change, though — even for something as controversial as closely held beliefs.

Researchers in the U.K. and France have just released a study about social issues in the workplace. In particular, the team looked at how employees expected their leadership to address their personal principles. "People are over 20 percent more likely to want to work for a company where the CEO takes a humanistic stance on a political issue unrelated to their business," according to a press release from the University of Bath.

It gets even more interesting, because the study found this held even when the jobseeker didn't agree with the boss's position. Furthermore, the effect vanished when corporate heads expressed activism opposed to humanistic values, like same-gender marriage or indigenous rights. "People are more likely to want to work for a company with a CEO that takes no stand whatsoever than one where he or she comes out against such issues," said co-author Christian Voegtlin.

Traditionally, your free speech rights often take a backseat to your job security, but attitudes within the workplace are changing on all kinds of hot-button issues. If you keep it buttoned down, sorry: Silence is complicated too. That said, we do look to our employers and their morals, like it or not — and we're a lot more willing to buckle down when our bosses walk the walk.