WorldBlu - Freedom at Work

WorldBlu Awards

2012

The WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ 2013 is comprised of 51 organizations from a diversity of industries including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and services, with a combined annual revenue of over $15 billion. These organizations include public, private, non-profit, and educational institutions. They range in size from five to 50,000 employees and are located in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Malaysia, Haiti, New Zealand and Singapore.

An organization makes it onto the WorldBlu List through a survey process their employees complete, which evaluates the overall design of an organization along a fear-based to freedom-centered continuum based on the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy. Those organizations scoring 3.5 or higher on a 5.0 scale become WorldBlu certified democratic workplaces.

  • Wb Aiesec
    AIESEC International

    Rotterdam, Netherlands  aiesec.org
    Industry: Leadership  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: AIESEC International 12-13 Invitation For the Next Generation

    About:
    Located in over 113 countries with more than 86,000 members, AIESEC is the world's largest youth-run organization providing a platform for youth leadership development.

    I enjoy working in the kind of environment that not only allows, but strives to empower team members to voice their opinion and give input on strategy - no matter what their role or position is. This is possible because our team is transparent across all levels of leadership and gives the freedom to people to take an active interest in initiatives and concepts that are important to the success of the entire organization, not just to a specific bottom line.
    - Katrina Oropel, Global Business Development Manager, AIESEC

  • Wb Axiom News
    Axiom News

    Peterborough, Canada  AxiomNews.ca
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Axiom News is a news network supporting a "renewed and thriving world."

    The most important reason to practice democracy is to live an intimate human experience at work. Democratic practices give us the patterns of behavior that make us responsible and empowered to make our work space the place we want it to be. Each person shares more of themselves in a democratic culture and that makes work a more meaningful life experience. We get to shape our work schedules, the kind of work we do, who we work with, within the constraints of teamwork and customer service of course. That enables us to live meaningful work lives.
    - Peter Pula, CEO, Axiom News

  • Wb Barrett Values Center
    Barrett Values Centre

    Asheville, NC and Bury, UK valuescentre.com
    Industry: Professional Services  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013
    Video: Barrett Values Centre's Transformational Work

    About:
    Barrett Values Centre develops metrics and culture assessments used in over 3,000 organizations in 50 countries.

    Barrett Values Centre practices the democratic principle of Dialogue + Listening by using the "Blueprint of We" process, which asks individuals to document what brought them to the company; what they look like on good and bad days; to define expectations of how to best work together; and an agreement about what they should do to return to a state of grace/ peace if for some reason they have lost it.

  • Wb Beyond Borders
    Beyond Borders

    Washington DC  beyondborders.net
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Beyond Borders is an international nonprofit assisting Haitians working to liberate themselves from oppression and isolation.

    Simply put, democracy just works better. Empowering everyone on our staff to compete in the arena of ideas brings out the best in our organization by encouraging innovation, creativity and accountability. The practice of democracy in the workplace is a reflection of our founding organizational values and it affords our organization a measure of authentic and integrity as we promote democracy in Haiti through the empowerment of ordinary citizens to hold their government and each other accountable.
    - David Diggs, Executive Director

  • Bitestudios
    Bite Studios

    Brighton, UK  bitestudio.co.uk
    Industry: Internet  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Bite Studio is an award winning boutique digital agency with a wealth of experience in creating fantastic user experiences online for brands and inspiring start-ups.

    Bite Studios practices the democratic principle of Accountability with a big whiteboard with wheels on that sits in the middle of their offices. Key tasks for the day / week / month are agreed and reviewed collectively during morning meetings and every team member agrees on which elements will be completed and ticked off at the end of the day before they leave.

  • Wb Boost New Media
    Boost New Media

    Wellington, New Zealand boost.co.nz
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013

    About:
    Boost New Media designs websites, web applications and CD-ROMS for a variety of clients including ACC, the Families Commission, and Telecom.

    At Boost, we believe that practicing democracy is the best way for us to achieve our goal of creating a high performing and equitable workplace. We want our employees to have tangible means of influencing the business’s direction, and to understand how their individual work and their personal contributions lead to our success as a whole.
    - Nathan Donaldson, CEO, Boost New Media

  • Wb Brandwatch
    Brandwatch

    Brighton, UK brandwatch.com
    Industry: Software  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Brandwatch is the most powerful social media monitoring and analytics tool, chosen by pioneering brands and agencies all over the world.

    Brandwatch practices the democratic principle of Choice with "Funky Fridays." Every other Friday the product development team of 50 people choose what they work on and who they work with, often researching new areas of interest or emerging technologies, personal project or ways they can improve their products which aren't on their roadmap. At the end of the day the team gets together with the remote offices by video conference and have a show-and-tell, complete with clapping and laughter. As a result, over 20 Funky Friday projects have made it into the Brandwatch platform in the last year.

  • Wb Cedars Camps
    Cedars Camps

    Lebanon, MO cedarscamps.org
    Industry: Youth  Type: Non-profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Cedars is a not-for-profit camp with a purpose of "giving each camper an appreciation of spiritual sense and an abundance of wholesome and joyous activities."

    Cedars Camps practice the democratic principle of Purpose + Vision by beginning each camp activity with an inspirational sharing session in which counselors and campers commit to embracing the possibilities for growth in character, leadership, followership, and faith offered by the upcoming activity. Staff members approach each activity - from horseback riding, to waterskiing, to the ropes course - not only as a fun event, but also as an opportunity for cultivating greater freedom-centered living in themselves and their campers. Staff members know by heart and strive to practice daily the camp's Five Fundamentals vision statement.

  • Wb Chaordix
    Chaordix

    Calgary, Canada  chaordix.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Chaordix is the global standard in crowdsourced market intelligence.

    As a start-up technology company, we don't have the luxury to leave innovation in the hands of a small group. At Chaordix, it's an all hands on deck activity. Principles like transparency, decentralization, purpose and vision are critical factors in building an environment that encourages and rewards innovative thinking. This democratic philosophy has lead to greater employee retention, increased productivity, constant market competitiveness and ongoing corporate growth.
    - Shelley Kuipers, Founder and CEO, Chaordix

  • Collective Agency
    Collective Agency Top Practice
    Collective Agency

    Portland, OR  collectiveagency.co
    Industry: Specialized Customer Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Collective Agency is the cooperative/democratic/co-working workplace located in Old Town, Portland.

    Collective Agency practices the democratic principle of Dialogue + Listening by holding 'Lightning Talks'. Ten different member-owners at Collective Agency suggested these talks. As a result, every Wednesday at 2:00 pm select members do mini-TED Talks lasting 5-10 minutes each. Conversations happen as a result. Members start talking, become friends, offer advice, and sometimes recruit each other to work on other projects. Photos get shared. Referrals get made. Mentoring happens. Members learn what each one cares about and initiate new collaborations as a result.

    Collective Agency Top Practice

    Collective Agency practices the democratic principle of Fairness + Dignity through a two-house democratic system, embodying both checks and balances. Members clarify their diverse needs and desires during weekly "civics meetings." Members say what they want and if two-thirds of the members and two-thirds of the elected council vote yes, then the council makes it happen.

  • Wb Davita
    DaVita

    Denver, CO  davita.com
    Industry: Healthcare  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita - Voices of Experience

    About:
    DaVita is a $12 billion Fortune 400® healthcare company with over 50,000 employees.

    We embrace democracy at DaVita HealthCare Partners because it's fundamental to being a community first and a company second. As in any community that works well, our citizens' input helps determine how the "DaVita Village" is shaped. DaVita citizens are often called upon to vote on important issues and to provide feedback on Village/company practices. And democracy rules. There have been numerous issues where I've disagreed with the outcome of a vote but the vote prevailed.
    - Kent Thiry, CEO + Mayor, DaVita

  • Wb Delivering Happiness At Work
    Delivering Happiness at Work

    San Francisco, CA  deliveringhappinessatwork.com
    Industry: Professional Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Delivering Happiness at Work is the new workplace consultancy from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com which helps organizations of all sizes become more successful through the science of happiness.

    Delivering Happiness at Work practices Purpose + Vision by everyone having the opportunity to randomly give out a "super-wow" to another employee who has Delivered Happiness (our higher purpose) at work that week. When they do so, they ring their DH cowbells, clap and cheer!

  • Wb Do Something Different
    Do Something Different

    Brighton, UK  dsd.me
    Industry: Professional Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013
    Video: Changing behaviour by Doing Something Different

    About:
    Do Something Different is an online behavior change program that makes it easy to embrace new behaviors and break the habits that limit us.

    Do Something Different practices democracy in the workplace because we are all motivated by the same purpose. A purpose that seeks to make the world a better place by helping people do something different. Because our interests are aligned, because we all understand the benefits of and are motivated to help people do something different, our people pull in the same direction. We all stand to gain equally from success and as a result it's essential that everyone has an equal say. Essential because we value difference. The benefits of difference run through the core of our people and our business and are based on the simple notion that if you want to get different results, you have to do something different. And if there's one thing we do know, it's that everyone has the ability to do something different.
    - Ray Richards, Co-founder, Do Something Different

  • Wb Dreamhost
    DreamHost

    Los Angeles, CA  dreamhost.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: A Day at DreamHost
    Video: DreamHost Harlem Shake

    About:
    DreamHost is a leading web hosting and cloud services provider with over 300,000 customers and 1.2 million domain names hosted worldwide.

    DreamHost practices the democratic principle of Choice by having all messages that are sent to their technical support team go into a central queue system where techs are free to choose which ones they want to work on. If they want to stick with their areas of expertise that’s fine, but DreamHost also tries to give them the ability to stretch beyond their comfort level and take on new subject matter as well.

  • Wb DYN
    Dyn

    Manchester, NH dyn.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013
    Video: Don't outsource your culture, scale as a startup team
    Video: Dyn Indoor Dodgeball

    About:
    Dyn (pronounced 'dine') is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) leader with over 14 million users.

    Dyn practices the democratic principle of Decentralization by having no social media policy. They want their employees to have a voice to become brand ambassadors for the organization on their own terms. They've found this attitude of seeing employees as assets rather than threats drives creativity, ownership, productivity and flexibility.

  • Wb Explore Communications
    Explore Communications

    Denver, CO  explorehq.com
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Explore Communications is one of the largest full-service media planning and buying shops in the Rocky Mountain region.

    Explore Communications practices the democratic principle of Integrity through a one-sheet that states their company mission, mantra, goals, brand equities and company values. This one-sheet then guides who they take on as clients and who they decline.

  • Wb Frank
    Frank

    Minneapolis, MN areyoufrank.com
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013

    About:
    Frank specializes in ERP communication.

    Frank practices the democratic principle of Choice through an "open vacation-time" policy which allows frank team-members the freedom to choose to take the time they need to rejuvenate when it works for them.

  • Wb Fusionfarm
    Fusionfarm Inc

    Cedar Rapids, Iowa fusionfarm.com
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Fusionfarm provides creative and integrated marketing solutions for small and medium size businesses.

    Fusionfarm practices the democratic principle of Decentralization by including many aspects of a start-up culture into the way they do business. Everybody is encouraged to be both a creator and owner of the business. Programs are set up to help team members learn new things completely outside of their comfort zone and experimentation is celebrated whether it results in a win or a just a lesson learned. Speed, agility, and the ability to work in small cross-functional teams is highly rewarded.

  • Wb Future Considerations
    Future Considerations

    London, UK  futureconsiderations.com
    Industry: Consulting  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Future Considerations is a boutique management consultancy.

    Future Considerations practices the democratic principle of Decentralization by holding annual elections to select each member of their core leadership team as well as their Managing Director.

  • Wb Great Harvest
    Great Harvest Franchising Inc

    Dillon, MT  greatharvest.com
    Industry: Food Products  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 2013

    About:
    Great Harvest Bread Company has over 230 "freedom franchise" retail stores across the US.

    Great Harvest is made up of smart, capable individuals whose ideas, creativity and ability to collaborate for the greater good are crucial to our long--term success. We're into our third decade in business and truly believe the democratic principles we follow have kept Great Harvest relevant and agile.
    - Mike Ferretti, CEO, Great Harvest Bread

  • Wb Greenleaf
    Greenleaf Book Group

    Austin, TX  greenleafbookgroup.com
    Industry: Publishing  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Working at Greenleaf Book Group

    About:
    Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor dedicated to independent authors and small presses.

    Practicing organizational democracy empowers employees in our core focus areas and helps them to be more productive, take a greater sense of pride and ownership in the daily operations of the business, and deliver top service to customers. We believe that client satisfaction is highest when we put our employees first and empower them to be change agents.
    - Clint Greenleaf, Founder + CEO, Greenleaf Book Group

  • Groupon Malaysia
    Groupon Malaysia

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  groupon.my
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Groupon Malaysia offers daily deals at restaurants, retailers and service providers throughout the country.

    Groupon Malaysia practices the democratic principle of Transparency by having monthly town hall meetings on the first Friday of each month. All their employees from across the country are flown in and they use this platform as an opportunity to be transparent reagarding the company's current reality. They keep their leaders accountable by having them share performance updates for the month, targets and future plans for the business. They also open up the floor to the team to see if there are any questions or concerns they would like to bring up to the management team/leaders.

  • Wb Haiti Partners
    Haiti Partners

    Port au Prince, Haiti  haitipartners.org
    Industry: Education and Community  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Education, Democracy and Development

    About:
    Haiti Partners is a non-profit organization building schools and training thousands of teachers, leaders and students in the principles of democracy, social enterprise and education.

    Haiti Partners practices the democratic principle of Reflection + Evaluation after every project and activity through a face to face meeting where the people involved sit in circle and discuss what worked and what didn't, which all goes into a Google doc for future reference and in a Google doc that invites people who weren't at the debrief to share input as well.

  • Wb Happy
    Happy Top Practice
    Happy Ltd

    London, UK  happy.co.uk
    Industry: Computer Services  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2013

    About:
    Happy helps individuals use their desktop software more productively, creates interactive online learning workshop and helps creates happier workplaces.

    Happy practices the democratic principle of Choice by having one very important choice: Employees get to choose their manager. Research indicates that 48 percent of the UK's working population would take a pay cut to have a different manager. Other research indicates most people leave their company because of their manager. At Happy, they avoid these problems by letting people choose the person best able to support and challenge them.

  • Wb Learn
    LEARN

    Laval, Canada  learnquebec.ca
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    LEARN is a non-profit foundation providing educational technology, learning materials and e-learning materials to the Quebec English education community.

    Our interest in a democratic workplace stems from the firm belief that everyone within the organization plays a vital role in helping the organization fulfill its mandate, and that without their full engagement and commitment this is not possible.
    - Michael J. Canuel, CEO, Learn

  • Wb Menlo
    Menlo Top Practice
    Menlo Innovations

    Ann Arbor, MI  menloinnovations.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Speaking Up at Menlo Innovations
    Video: Extreme Interviewing and Menlo's Social System
    Video: The Benefits of Our Workplace
    Video: Menlo's Special Walls
    Video: Rewards and Promotions
    Video: Pairing Programming at Menlo

    About:
    Menlo Innovations is a software development company with a vision to end human suffering as it relates to technology.

    Menlo innovations practices the democratic principle of Integrity by intentionally designing employee roles with specific purposes for which to advocate. For example, Developers advocate for the code, High-Tech Anthropologists® advocate for design, Quality Advocates advocate for quality, and Project Managers advocate for the client. Each role and purpose for which it advocates carries specific moral principles. Collectively, this ensures they do the right thing for each other as well as for their clients and customers because they advocate from the perspective of roles versus personal prejudices.

  • Wb Mindvalley
    Mindvalley

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  mindvalley.com
    Industry: Publishing  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: A Day in the Life of Mindvalley
    Video: The MindValley Team Retreat

    About:
    Mindvalley is an internet incubator that shares their management and business practices freely through an online university.

    Working at Mindvalley offers me an incredible opportunity to develop both personally and professionally. My team and I are given the freedom and trust to work in a way that allows for independence, creativity and innovation. Transparency is highly valued here - I hugely appreciate our company-wide weekly A-Report meetings which give employees valuable insight into the focus and progress of all areas of Mindvalley as well as a clear understanding of the company's financial health. I also love the weekly media meeting where we all share key learnings and best practices with the goal of making each other better in everything we do. Upper management often solicits input and feedback from employees which is taken into account when developing MindValley's focus and vision. Our company culture encourages imagination and believes that good ideas can come from anywhere - it's really inspiring to see how easily a good idea can take flight at Mindvalley.
    - Andrea Vega, Manager of Mindvalley Channels

  • Wb Namaste Solar
    Namasté Solar

    Boulder, CO  namastesolar.com
    Industry: Solar Energy  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Namasté Solar is an employee-owned cooperative propagating solar energy.

    Namasté Solar practices the democratic principle of Transparency through open-book management, educating their co-owners on all aspects of financial literacy, including balance sheets, cash flow, and profit and loss statements. Meetings, notes, and all other company information is also accessible and open to co-owners – including salaries. The only exception to this rule is legally protected HIPAA and other Attorney-Client Privilege documentation. They also summarize the most important issues in monthly "Big Picture Memos" and distribute it to co-owners. Any co-owner may also listen in on Board of Directors and high-level strategy meetings.

  • Wb Nearsoft
    Nearsoft

    Hermosa, Mexico and San Jose, CA nearsoft.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Inside the Nearsoft Culture

    About:
    Nearsoft is a product software development service.

    Nearsoft practices the democratic principle of Decentralization by having the people who will work with a new hire actually select the new hire through an intensive interview process. On one occasion they chose to hire a person who made more money than everyone else on the team because they believed he could "help us be more successful."

  • Wb New Belgium
    New Belgium Brewing Company

    Fort Collins, CO  newbelgium.com
    Industry: Brewers  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: New Belgium Brewing Company | Alternatively Empowered

    About:
    New Belgium Brewing brews artisan beers and is known for their popular "Fat Tire" beer.

    New Belgium practices the democratic principle of Dialogue + Listening by teaching and practicing the "crucial conversations" method. They also developed technology to bring their conversations on-line as well, making it possible for people to have conversations and collaborate using discussion boards.

  • Wb Nixon Mcinnes
    NixonMcInnes Top Practice
    NixonMcInnes

    Brighton, UK  nixonmcinnes.co.uk
    Industry: Social Technologies  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Happiness at Work at NixonMcInnes

    About:
    NixonMcInnes is a social business consultancy whose clients include First Group, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, PanMacmillan and WWF.

    NixonMcInnes practices the democratic principle of Transparency by having two open seats at their company board meetings, which all employees are able to volunteer to take. This avoids any feelings of secrecy at the board level and encourages employees to participate in running the business. It also prevents the board from becoming removed from the employees. Often the most valuable contributions and questions come from the employees in the guest seats.

  • Wb NRI Distribution
    NRI Distribution

    Kamloops, Canada  nri-distribution.com
    Industry: Transportation Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013
    Video: Inside NRI
    Video: The CEO of NRI Distribution Talks About NRI in Kamloops

    About:
    NRI is a premium branded warehousing and fulfillment company designed to serve the needs of the action sports, outdoor/lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories marketplace.

    NRI Distribution practices the democratic principle of Dialogue + Listening through the creation of a team charter with guidelines on how to have respectful conversations, including trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Additionally, they have an open door policy where team members are able to speak with anyone in the organization and regular town hall meetings including an open Q&A session with the CEO.

  • Wb Podio
    Podio

    Copenhagen, Denmark  podio.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Public (acquired by Citrix in 2012)
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Podio is the collaborative work platform that helps thousands of teams achieve more, together.

    Podio practices the democratic principle of Decentralization by using Podio internally as well as externally with partners, customers and vendors. Podio empowers individuals to 'work the way they want to' by creating the very tools and workflows they need to be successful in their jobs. Podio allows for self-determination and autonomy to flourish in the working-world by helping teams avoid the pitfalls of centralized or rigid IT-deployed systems. Because Podio is a social platform, it fosters an inherently transparent and democratic environment, which naturally supports decentralization by allowing all employees within a company, regardless of title or influence, work together or gain visibility into all the work happening within a company.

  • Wb Pai
    PAI Top Practice
    Productivity Associates

    San Diego, CA  gotopai.com
    Industry: Computer Associates  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: What Does Freedom in the Workplace Mean to You?

    About:
    Productivity Associates, Inc., (PAI) provides contact center outsourcing.

    Productivity Associates practices the democratic principle of Purpose + Vision with a "Change the World" segment during their Friday financial meetings. During this segment they pass a microphone around and anyone who wants to share something they did that week to advance PAI vision to change the world. PAI then captures each of these entries. To date they have collected almost 1,000 entries with an average of 20-25 per week. Employees have done everything from small to "above-and-beyond" acts including having a customer tell them that the actions they took saved the lives of 50 police officers during a crisis situation. This "Change the World" practice demonstrates to everybody the role they have in working towards PAI’s collective vision and how even the smallest action can have a significant and meaningful impact others.


    PAI Top Practice

    Productivity Associates practices the democratic principle of Individual + Collective by not managing their people, which is a very unconventional approach in their industry. Instead, PAI focuses on building a company of leaders in every role. To support this idea, they have developed a one-page personal leadership plan for each individual. This plan involves working with each person to develop their vision for their role and a personal mission statement. There is also a goal-setting element as well as a measurement and 360-evaluation component that holds people accountable to their plans. Their department heads, who act as coaches in their development, supports this process. This leads to unbelievable ownership within PAI teams as well as a shared understanding of how employee efforts roll up to help PAI achieve its’ goals and mission.

  • Wb Propellernet
    Propellernet

    Brighton, UK  propellernet.co.uk
    Industry: Internet  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013
    Video: The Power of Sharing

    About:
    Propellernet is a search marketing and social media agency, with additional expertise in content marketing and conversion optimization.

    Propellernet practices the democratic principle of Purpose + Vision by supporting individual dreams via "dream balls". Each person writes their dream on a ball and puts it into the "dream machine" (a reimagined old–fashioned candy dispenser). Every month (and provided the company is on target) one ball is drawn at random and they make that person's dream come true.

  • Wb Quick Left
    Quick Left

    Boulder, CO  quickleft.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013
    Video: The Real Story behind Quick Left
    Video: Quick Left Office Tour

    About:
    Quick Left is a software development consultancy, specializing in web development and design.

    Like most people, I was more idealistic early in my career and approached each new job with a sense of optimism that this time will be different in terms of breaking the entrenched patterns of control and conformity in the corporate workplace. My expectations had been tempered by experience until I landed at Quick Left where a culture of mutual respect, autonomy, individualism and transparency is alive and well thanks in large part to the actionable principles fostered by WorldBlu.
    - Owen Silver, Business Development, Quick Left, Inc.

  • Wb Round Pegg
    RoundPegg

    Denver, CO  roundpegg.com
    Industry: Software  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013
    Video: RoundPegg on Cultural Fit
    Video: TEDxMileHigh: Natalie Baumgartner on Fit

    About:
    RoundPegg's socially-centered web-apps allow you to measure, manage and monitor your company's unique culture by pulling the right levers to hire, develop and engage your employees in alignment with your culture.

    RoundPegg practices the democratic principle of Reflection + Evaluation through a quarterly "State of the Pegg" week where every employee gets as much time as they need to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly in a one-to-one meeting with the company's Chief Psychologist. Themes are presented back to the founding team, discussed, then new solutions are discovered and implemented.

  • Wb SAYS
    Says Top Practice
    SAYS

    Petaling Jaya, Malaysia  says.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013
    Video: The Making of the SAYS Culture Code

    About:
    SAYS.com is a country-specific social news network. Social media users, discover, curate and share trending local news, videos, social causes, and get paid when they broadcast relevant advertiser-sponsored content. The Malaysia community has 420,000 members and has accelerated over 600 advertiser campaigns across social media.

    SAYS practices the democratic principle of Decentralization through "Smoke Signals". A 'Smoke Signal' is a shout out to every member of their team to participate in an event or activity, fully sponsored by their organization. Anyone can send out a 'Smoke Signal' for any activity. No approvals are needed and there are no rules as to what a Smoke Signal should be. As long as more than one person participates, the company pays for it. This is a ritual that shocks most new employees. It creates a powerful experience and reminder that this culture has immense trust in the power of every individual to impact the entire team. This also decentralizes the need for the company or any single person to organize 'team activities' for 'team bonding'. Ever since SAYS rolled out "Smoke Signals" they've seen their team engage in everything from weekly badminton clubs to mountain hiking to philosophical debates about 'happiness' to shopping trips for design books to trying new restaurants, all of which are fueled by an individual's authentic passion for the activity and the willingness of colleagues to join in. No centralized team-bonding department is ever needed. Everyone has the power to share their passions with their colleagues, knowing the company's funds will support them.

    Says Top Practice

    SAYS practices the democratic principle of Reflection + Evaluation through 'Great-itude' sessions. Every last hour of Friday, they have a ritual that involves all members of the team present in the office and invited clients, partners, friends, and special guests to join them in a weekly 'Great-itude' session. Every team member shares one thing they're grateful for that has happened that the week. This allows them to tune into one emotional moment from each team member, helping them learn about who they are, and what they value. This helps everyone (especially if they're from different teams) to stay connected via this weekly-shared experience. Additionally, the practice of gratitude has been proven to increase happiness levels. This is SAYS most enduring ritual, held weekly for over four years. They've had over 50 guests attend, and some have even brought this ritual to their own companies as a result.

  • Wb Sparc LLC
    Sparc LLC

    Charleston, SC  sparcedge.com
    Industry: Software  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Sparc's solutions provide customer-focused results for clients such as government agencies, contracting organizations, and consumer software solution providers.

    Sparc practices the democratic principle of Accountability by running the entire company with an Agile/Scrum philosophy. When a team member commits to a project or task within a set sprint, that team member is held accountable to themselves, their team, and their leads. This accountability at a personal, team, and project level helps keep team members involved, motivated, and ultimately successful.

  • Wb Statsit
    STATSIT

    Singapore  statsit.com
    Industry: Market Research  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    STATSIT is a pioneer in using naturally occurring online conversation for research.

    STATSIT practices the democratic principle of Individual + Collective by placing importance on group success and each employee understanding their contribution to the whole. STATSIT has three pillars for individual development - the ability to push beyond self-perceived limitations, diligence, and being a good person.

  • Wb Sweetriot
    Sweetriot

    New York, NY  sweetriot.com
    Industry: Food Products  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Sweetriot is a social enterprise producing chocolate-covered cacao nibs and bars.

    Sweetriot practices the democratic principle of Fairness + Dignity by not having an HR department and instead having a "Thumbprint Committee" which takes care of health care, vacations, and other HR policies.

  • Wb Tafeel
    Taf'eel Design Studio

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  tafeel.my
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Taf'eel Design Studio is a next-generation creative agency.

    The Taf'eel Design Studio practices the democratic principle of Transparency by giving employees full access to information, the company's account, everyone's salary and sales figure. When the company makes a profit, everyone knows and it is shared equally according to percentage of involvement in any particular project.

  • Wb Takingitglobal
    TakingITGlobal

    Toronto, Canada  takingitglobal.org
    Industry: Internet  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    TakingITGlobal is the world's largest online community of youth interested in global issues and creating positive change.

    WorldBlu principles of organizational democracy such as dialogue and listening, fairness and dignity, choice, integrity, purpose and vision have been a part of our practice since the founding days in 1999, and extend from our core team based in Toronto, to our global online community where volunteers from all corners of the world contribute to our active and vibrant network. The principles are an essential part of helping us to empower youth globally to understand and act on the world's greatest challenges.
    - Jennifer Corriero, Founder and Executive Director, TakingITGlobal

  • Wb Linkschool
    The Link School

    Buena Vista, Co  thelinkschool.org
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: The Link School
    Video: Questions and Answers With The Link School Director

    About:
    The Link School is a private, experiential high school.

    We choose to work in a democratic environment because we are a school and it helps our students develop a voice that is heard and respected. Students are much more invested in their own education when they know that, rather than school being done to them; they have a genuine voice in shaping their own experience. Students then take responsibility for their academic program and community, ensuring that it is helping them be prepared for life. Faculty, staff and students choose to live in a democratic environment, and we all choose to practice the principles of democracy to make a healthier and more vibrant community.
    - Bobby Lewis, Founder, The Link School

  • Wb 401k
    The Online 401(k)

    San Francisco, CA  theonline401k.com
    Industry: Investment Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013
    Video: The Online 401(k) Culture

    About:
    The Online 401(k) brings affordable, Web-based 401(k) plans to small and growing businesses.

    The Online 401(k) practices the democratic principle of Individual + Collective whenever there is a company-wide need or problem that comes up through their "Red Rover" committees. The committees come together based on the individual strengths needed to solve the challenge. An example is their social media team, "The Twitterazzi" which, while plugged in with the marketing team is comprised of people from accounting, systems development, business development, web development, and people & culture. It’s a great cross-section of roles that are all participating together to share their internal voice and culture with the world.

  • Wb TRAVOD
    TRAVOD

    London, UK  travod.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    TRAVOD International offers professional language translations in more than 120 languages.

    It is really important to me have my opinion respected and listened to at my workplace. A freedom-centered, democratic workplace means that you can express your thoughts every time you have something to say and your rights are respected. This is very important for a person who wants to improve themselves and to grow in his/her professional path, because feeling important motivates an employee, thus his work is more qualitative and he is interested in the company's success. In order to do your work well, you need to like what you do and like the atmosphere of the workplace, but a healthy atmosphere can be only in a democratic organizational-type.
    - Ana Boisteanu - Head of the Project Management Team, TRAVOD

  • Wb Trov
    Trov

    San Ramon, CA  trov.com
    Industry: Software  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013

    About:
    Trov uses web and mobile applications to help their clients track their possessions and assists with wealth and estate planning, property management, insurance coverage, private social connectivity, asset disposition, charitable giving, and more.

    We recognize that the best leaders give the most away. We are focused on becoming a large and influential company that leads the way in Tangible Wealth Management. To accomplish our goal we recognize that we need to grow and multiply leaders. The best way to do this is by making everyone an owner and by being as transparent as possible while building the capacity of each team member to solve problems and deliver a world-class service. In addition we believe that people give their best when they are given freedom with clear accountability.
    - Scott Walchek, CEO, Trov

  • Wb Valtech
    Valtech

    Copenhagen, Denmark  valtech.dk
    Industry: Internet  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013

    About:
    Valtech A/S is a global digital marketing agency.

    Valtech practices the democratic principle of Transparency through an open door policy, monthly town hall discussions, weekly team meetings, and daily stand-ups in order to communicate where they are and where they want to go and to invite everyone to contribute and challenge their envisioned path.

  • Wb Wd40
    WD40 Top Practice
    WD-40 Company

    San Diego, CA  wd40company.com
    Industry: Non-durable Household Products  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: The WD-40 Tribe
    Video: Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 on Helping People Win at Work

    About:
    The WD-40 Company is the publicly-traded maker of the WD-40 lubricant, with over $330 million in annual sales.

    The WD-40 Company practices the democratic principle of Fairness + Dignity through one of their six core values: "We value succeeding as a tribe while excelling as individuals." Living that value means the company rewards team performance first, but also recognizes individual achievements. The company's incentive bonus program is built on the successful efforts of teams. The individual earns recognition through advancement in pay, according to demonstrated competency. Also, the executives methodically highlight individual excellence through personalized awards presented without prior notice at group conferences or celebrations. Most importantly, leadership sets the example by sacrificing personal gain when the team would suffer if that were not done. For example, the CEO has declined pay advances for three years, ensuring that deserving members of the company receive recognition first. The CEO has foregone bonus payments otherwise earned when, the message needed to be sent was that it would be inappropriate for senior leadership to "win" when a significant portion of the company had not.

    WD40 Top Practice

    The WD-40 Company practices the democratic principle of Accountability through the "Maniac Pledge" which states, among other things, that each individual is "responsible for taking action, asking questions, getting answers, and making decisions." The WD-40 company's mantra on the subject of accountability is "No victims," which means that blame is useless and unproductive, while taking initiative is expected and encouraged.

  • Wb Projekt
    Woohoo Inc. (formerly The Happy at Work Project)

    Frederiksberg, Denmark  woohooinc.com
    Industry: Consulting  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: TEDxCopenhagen: Alexander Kjerulf on Arbejdsglæde
    Video: What the heck is Arbejdsglæde!?

    About:
    Woohoo is a boutique training company specializing in happiness in the workplace.

    Democratic workplaces are happier, and happy workplaces are more efficient, productive, innovative and successful. In short, happy companies make more money!
    - Alexander Kjerulf, Founder + Chief Happiness Officer, Woohoo!

  • Wb Zappos
    Zappos.com

    Las Vegas, NV  zappos.com
    Industry: Retail  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    Video: Zappos Company Culture
    Video: Zappos Family Music Video

    About:
    Zappos.com is the #1 seller of shoes online by emphasizing customer service, with over $1 billion in annual sales.

    A democratic workplace for us = Happiness. We choose to practice democracy in the workplace because it not only blurs the line between managers and employees but it also drives the distribution of power, encourages innovation, and helps attract the best talent. It is important that any employee, from our call center to executive team, have the ability to make changes that impact how the organization operates, develops, and grows. Our call center employees are not required to read from scripts because we want to empower them to service our customer in the best way they can - in a way that is suited for that customer. We want to see employees at all levels make decisions without having to get a manager or supervisor involved. Running the organization with a lot of freedom offers our employees the time to collaborate and get work done but have fun doing it.
    - Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com

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