WorldBlu added its first Minnesota company to their prestigious list of most democratic workplaces. Because I live and work in Minnesota; this is exciting news for me.
I expect this is a trend for Minnesota, and beyond, because I’d feel right at home in a democratic workplace, and the rest of my generation, and probably yours, would too. But, you might be wondering what exactly I’m talking about when I say democratic workplace. This is an election year, but it has nothing to do with a political campaign.
WorldBlu is a global network that provides business leaders with programs and services to help them design develop and lead successful democratic organizations. They have been creating their list of most democratic workplaces for six years now.
What is a democratic workplace?
A democratic organization practices freedom and democracy, creates a place where rights and privileges are universal. According to WorldBlue a democratic workplace is a system of organization based on freedom instead of fear and control; it amplifies possibilities of human potential and the organization as a whole.
According to WorldBlu Founder and CEO, Traci Fenton, “WorldBlu-certified organizations model how democracy in the workplace unleashes human potential and helps build world-class organizations that change the world for the better.”
Democratic workplaces are determined by how they practice specific principals: accountability, decentralization, choice, purpose and vision, dialog and listening, individual and collective, fairness and dignity, transparency, reflection and evaluation, integrity.
Who’s doing it now?
Minneapolis-based communication agency, frank, made the list this year by demonstrating the principal of purpose and vision. Frank’s founding philosophy is based on open, honest and regular conversations with their customers, colleagues and themselves. They encourage their clients to be self aware as individuals and brands.
AIESEC, has made the list every year since 2007. AIESEC provides a platform for youth leadership development by offering young people opportunities to become global citizens, change the world, and gain experience and skills. What makes them democratic? For over 60 years, AIESEC has practiced decentralization by voting in an entirely new senior leadership team every year.
Also on the list every year since 2007, Beyond Borders works to bring justice to Haiti. They made the list for practicing the principal of choice. Beyond Borders invites staff to make significant choices through collaboration that impact the direction of the organization including which programs and efforts to continue and which to discontinue or alter.
Greenleaf Book Group, a publishing company devoted to supporting independent authors and small presses,made the list in 2011 and again in 2012 for practicing the principal of transparency. They have a monthly meeting where employees are given updates about company finances and the health of the company. In this open forum meeting, anyone can ask questions.
Why Gen X and Gen Y love it
Democratic workplaces engage us:
- It includes us
- It gives it meaning
- It’s honest
What’s in it for you?
Adopting organizational democracy gives you an edge to recruit and retain top talent and harness the collective intelligence, full self-expression, personal power and creativity of everyone you employ. Practicing the principals outlined for democratic workplaces will make your company appealing to Gen Y and Gen X and help you engage a more productive workforce.
Do you want to make the WorldBlu list of democratic workplace awardees? What are you doing to unleash human potential in your workplace?