The mid-term elections are less than a week away and it’s time for Americans to exercise their rights, make their voices heard and cast their votes. Even though this election year doesn’t have the grandeur of a presidential election, it’s extremely important nonetheless, and for many reasons.

The balance of government power of the Senate hangs in the balance, which will dictate the last two years of the Obama presidency. In addition, there are many state governor and local leader positions up for grabs. That is the message business owners should be conveying to their employees, regardless of politics.

It’s a fine line business owners and operators must walk. Regardless of political affiliations, they should be encouraging all their employees to participate in the election process. It is a privilege many take for granted and probably don’t realize how many others in other countries wish they had such freedoms.

This is not about Democratic vs. Republican, nor Liberal vs. Conservative. It is about exercising the freedoms that so many around the world don’t have. It’s about having a say as to who represents you when laws are being discussed, made and enforced.

Employers should encourage their employees to vote, allow them to come in a little late if necessary or leave a little early. Many people don’t vote because either they don’t feel their vote will matter or they just can’t make the time because of all their other obligations. Companies can take away the second excuse by giving them time.

Employers should make it as easy as possible to allow their workers to make it to the ballot box. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s good for business. Most employees know how things are going in their neck of the woods by how their company is performing, how home prices are faring and the overall cost of living.

Businesses should be as transparent to their employees as possible regarding the issues they face without becoming political. Is your company benefiting because there is a favorable tax rate that then allows you to pay employees more and be more productive? Or is the business being hamstrung by regulations forcing it to outsource more jobs overseas?

These are issues employees should know about and it is management’s responsibility to communicate them. The more educated your workforce, the better they will represent your organization.

Have local zoning laws made it easier or more difficult to expand? How has the Affordable Care Act affected the company and the cost of benefits? Has your state’s governor embraced it or fought it? Every company is different and every employee is different.

The point is that most people vote in line with their pockets. Employees should know if their local legislators, state governors or state senators have helped them and either created or hindered opportunity. Encouraging your employees to vote doesn’t have to be political; it could be good for business.