Best Buy is committed to support employees in using their voice and exercising their rights, whether it’s through voting, volunteering or becoming an elected official.
With Election Day just around the corner (Nov. 8), we talked to a few employees to learn about how and why they’re getting involved to serve their communities.
Volunteering at the polls on Election Day
Voting locations all over the country are looking to recruit thousands of individuals to help keep polling sites open and available for in-person voting. In 2020, Best Buy introduced a new benefit to all employees to receive up to eight hours of PTO to volunteer on Election Day.
Volunteer duties range from checking voters in, confirming identities, issuing ballots, helping new voters get registered and more.
For some of our employees, volunteering at the polls is a tradition for every election year.
Enterprise product management manager Zack Johnson and seasonal planning marketing manager Tracy Varnes have been passionate about promoting democracy and volunteering on Election Day, and they both took advantage of the benefit in 2020.
“[Volunteers] are folks who enable the voting process. We can’t cast ballots without them,” Zack said.
Jennifer Salinas, retail supervisor at Store 311 in Burbank, Illinois, has been volunteering since 2016 (before she was even able to vote) and advocates for the younger generation to get involved.
“We want to let the community know we’re here,” she said. “Younger people are present, we’re volunteering, and we want to have our voices heard. That could give hope to the community.”
Elected official status
In addition to poll volunteers, Best Buy employees have found other ways to give back to their community through public service. For two years, customer engagement product senior manager Marcus Hill has served on the District 197 School Board in Suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
Now, Marcus is using his platform to create more inclusive policies and curriculum in Minnesota schools and at the legislative level.
“It’s thinking about, ‘What’s our Black history here in this country? What’s our LGBTQIA+ history?’” Marcus said.
He has started taking on issues of gender inclusive bathrooms, having conversations about mental health in schools, and addressing social-emotional learning and the direct correlation between equity issues and the achievement gap.
Marcus feels a sense of pride to see a new policy get implemented and know he was a part of the process.
“When that happens, I feel good about being on the school board and being on a committee that can have some legislative impact,” he said.
Marcus knows firsthand how daunting it can be to campaign to be an elected official with no political background, but he encourages anyone who’s interested to take that step and run. He suggests talking to local officials and researching what the responsibilities are.
“I invite anyone and everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to do the research and do it,” Marcus said. “We need all voices at the table.”
Better engagement for a better future
Marcus and other employees have said they’re grateful to Best Buy for the platform, learning experience and time to get involved with their community. As Election Day is coming up, employees can look into opportunities to serve or volunteer and make their voice heard.
“Not all companies give their employees this opportunity,” Tracy said. “I want to ensure my voice is heard in every way possible.”
The Best Buy Turn Up the Vote program encourages employees to be engaged in the communities where we do business and where we live. Not only does this mean volunteering and participating in community events, this also includes taking part in the electoral process. Best Buy encourages all employees to exercise this most important right.