26 | Developing Leaders Issue 37: 2021 Leadership C ompanies spend considerable energy and resource on maintaining their corporate reputation―aiming to protect and enhance their brands. The idea they should allow the mixed and multiple voices of employee activists to contaminate the corporate message can be anathema―the CEO’s and CIO’s nightmare. But, as our research suggests, employee activism is on the increase and is here to stay. So, organizations need to address it, lose this perception of a ‘nightmare’, and help engage with activist employees to achieve positive outcomes for the organization and for its stakeholders. Today’s well-educated, informed, and social media savvy employees are often deeply concerned about the enormous societal and environmental challenges of our times and are increasingly unlikely to tow the corporate line if it goes against their better judgement. With employee activism becoming a defining feature of the mid-21 st century workplace, business leaders can no longer avoid or merely superficially engage with the contentious social and planetary issues that their employees, customers and other stakeholders will be only too aware of. By Megan Reitz and John Higgins Embracing Employee Activism