If you are a one-man or a one-woman army at work, this article might not be your cup of tea. However, for everybody else that works with a group of people, workplace democracy is the way to go. But this is one of those things that is easily said, but not so easily done. Ways to accomplish workplace democracy are not so easily found or applied. So, let’s see why workplace democracy is important and how can you implement it in your workplace.
Why is workplace democracy important?
Every employer or company leader wants to have employees that are engaged in their work. It is known that such employees are significantly more productive and responsible for their work. In the modern workplace, people are not very fond of dictatorship. Many have experienced it and as a result, quit their job. Sometimes such an issue becomes so extreme that relocating your entire business becomes the only way to salvage it. To avoid such situations, start showing your employees that they matter. Workplace democracy is a great way to start your new agenda.
How to accomplish workplace democracy?
There are countless ways to start implementing workplace democracy as your main management method. As we already mentioned, a democracy is a much better way to go than a dictatorship. You would like to make this positive change, but you have no clue where to start? No worries! Here are a few ideas.
Strive towards transparency
You can draw a parallel between your own position and that of the government. People want to know what their government is doing and the same goes for employees. Certainly, you will still have some classified information that you just cannot share, because of the greater good of your company. Yet, you want to start sharing with your employees as much as possible. You can start small and build on that. As soon as you start being upfront, you can expect to see a change in attitude. Workers tend to be more engaged, motivated, trustworthy and the sense of unity will only grow from there.
You must be the first person to light the fire
Remember, you are management and workers might not feel very free to come up to you and say something. Especially if what they have to say is criticism. Therefore, you will have to be the person to get the ball rolling. Encourage your employees to speak up and ask them questions. Explain to them that the purpose of this is improvement and if they want things to change for the better they should feel free to speak up. Of course, once somebody does, be sure to listen, as well as react. There is no matter too small to address. One helpful tool in this situation can be online voting tools. You can send out an anonymous survey to employees to feel out the mood and the mindset of your staff.
We must clarify really quick. Do not eliminate your leadership positions. What we are referring to is the dominance between internal departments within the company. For instance, your sales department might bring you the biggest revenue. However, other departments should not be overlooked, because they also play a crucial role in your company. So, accomplish workplace democracy by reminding everyone that the business cannot function without all of those departments. For example, if the HR department goes down, the rest will follow. Keeping this perspective is hard but effective. Thus, try to keep the balance.
Delegate work and responsibilities
Delegating things that need to be done is a big part of democracy. When doing so you must be crystal clear who has which responsibility and what is the deadline for the assigned tasks. This way you will give everybody an opportunity to shine. Accomplishing workplace democracy means delegating to all and not neglecting some employees. If some are left behind, this plan will backfire.
Accountability is key
Once you have delegated all the tasks, you must make sure that all are followed through. In case they aren’t, address them in a tactful and professional manner. Don’t embarrass somebody for being a little tardy. Also, it is always a good idea to give a critique in private. Good employees will appreciate a second chance and you will give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. How a person reacts to failure will give you a great idea of what to expect from your employees. So, give them the opportunity to bounce back and prove themselves again.
Continually assess your actions
When trying to accomplish workplace democracy we can draw countless parallels to the US government. Still, we all know it is not the same. It is very likely that there are no checks and balances in your firm for higher management, so the burden will fall in your lap. If you want your company to grow, you will have to do the same. The best way to do that is to get feedback from your employees on a frequent basis. What you want to accomplish is for people to speak up. Just like when the governments try to increase voter turnout, you want to do the same with your workers’ feedback.
Remember that there is a time to give credit where credit is due. Unlike criticism, kind words should be expressed in public. This way, you can show others that hard work and greatness are indeed recognized.
You will not be able to accomplish workplace democracy if you forget a few simple but crucial facts. Your employees are people, first and foremost, and you should treat them as such. Just like anybody else, they want to feel a sense of belonging and gratitude for what they do. It is easy to get carried away during work, but do your best not to forget this. So, let democracy in your front door and give your employees a voice.