Update Nov. 5: Outreach will no longer host the Democracy Day event due to low RSVP numbers. Employees will still have the day off to vote and volunteer.
Every election year, there’s some debate over whether Election Day should be a national holiday to encourage voter turnout. But for most Americans, Nov. 6 will be an ordinary workday — unless they’re one of about 300 employees at Outreach.
The Seattle software startup is creating its own holiday for employees, dubbed Democracy Day. On Nov. 6, work will be optional to remove barriers that might discourage Outreach employees from voting. Those who do come into the office will be greeted with a celebration of democracy, complete with bubbly, food, and political discussions.
“I wanted to honor the importance of the right and duty to vote by creating an observation of Democracy Day, and make it easy for all Outreachers to participate in what is a critical day of citizenship in our country,” Outreach CEO Manny Medina said in an email to employees.
Encouraging voter turnout is a noble goal but giving employees the day off would make a bigger impact in another state since Washington residents vote by mail, rather than at a traditional polling place. But the extra time could help Outreach employees who drop off their ballots on Election Day.
Outreach is a four-year-old sales engagement platform that helps customers like Adobe, Microsoft, and DocuSign streamline communication with leads and prospects. It tracks all points of contact, like phone calls, email, and LinkedIn messages, in one place.
In his email, Medina suggested that employees use Democracy Day to encourage others to vote in person or using Outreach software.
“You may even help a friend or peer vote for the very first time and talk through policies with them,” he wrote. “Whatever you do, exercise your right to vote, help someone else do the same, and make a positive difference.”
Outreach is growing fast. The company raised a $65 million funding round in May, bringing total funding in the 4-year-old company to $125 million. In August, Outreach made its first acquisition, buying sales-oriented media company Sales Hacker.
Outreach employs 300 people, including 200 in Seattle. The startup has an appetite for growth and is moving into a new headquarters, the previous home of Big Fish Games, to accommodate new employees.
Continue reading for Medina’s full email to employees announcing Democracy Day.
With the recent climate of our country, I have been thinking about, more than ever, the importance of exercising our civic duty in this country of voting.
As many of you know, I am an immigrant and built my professional life here in the United States. I owe much to this country, from my education and the opportunity to build a company here to the safety to raise a beautiful family in an encouraging, inclusive, and diverse society. It is important to me that the country my children will inherit is a better one than the one that took me in: aiming to achieve more and bringing everyone along. Voting is how we ensure this country moves along our ideas and dreams for who comes after us.
Every vote is crucial to keep a government that is for the people, by the people.
As I thought more about this, I wanted to honor the importance of the right and duty to vote by creating an observation of Democracy Day, and make it easy for all Outreachers to participate in what is a critical day of citizenship in our country.
On November 6, Outreach will honor its first ever Democracy Day. It will be an optional day to come to work. You can come to the office, discuss candidates, policies, the benefits and drawbacks of our representative democracy, etc. with your peers. Diversity of thought is an important piece of our company and our country. It’s important to remember that not everyone will see eye-to-eye on candidates or policies, but that we can still have meaningful and respectful conversations about it and learn from each other.
We will also show live results on different screens, will have food and drinks, bubblies to celebrate our right of suffrage, and block off MadMax for Election Central. You can also chose to go out and volunteer at a local precinct of your preference to call on people to vote. You can even use the Outreach infrastructure to make calls and get people out vote, too! You may even help a friend or peer vote for the very first time and talk through policies with them. Whatever you do, exercise your right to vote, help someone else do the same, and make a positive difference.
Discuss candidates, discuss policies and more importantly, GO VOTE!