WorldBlu - Freedom at Work

WorldBlu Awards

2014

The WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ 2014 is comprised of 41 organizations from a diversity of industries including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and services, with a combined annual revenue of over $13 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, Belgium and Romania.

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 0-5.0 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, 2014
    Video: The AIESEC International 2013-2014 Team

    About:
    Located in over 124 countries with more than 100,000 members, AIESEC is the world's largest youth-run organization providing a platform for youth leadership development.

    As a youth-led organization, democracy is crucial to us, and in fact this is the only way we would want to lead 100,000 young people over 124 countries and territories. We exist to unlock the potential of young people, and we believe that only by encouraging the spread of ideas, can creativity and innovation exist. Our members across every level of the organization are democratically elected, and this allows our organization to attract passionate, inspiring and - honestly - the best people possible. We build the future of our organization together, which gives every single member a chance to have an impact that lasts longer than just their term with us. Democracy is the secret to our long-lasting success!
    - Rolf Schmachtenberg, President, AIESEC International

  • 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, 2014
    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.

    I believe the job of the CEO is to serve everyone else in the organization and create the conditions where people can be happy, be brilliant and shine.
    I don't know all the answers and it would be hard work running a control- based organization where that pretense existed. When I am open to the input of all the people in the organization, things work so much better.

    - Phil Clothier, CEO, Barrett Values Centre

  • Wb Boost New Media
    Boost New Media

    Wellington, New Zealand boost.co.nz
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013, 2014

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

    I'm a freedom-centered leader because I believe in enabling each member of the team to not only find and implement their own solutions but also to have input in the future direction of our company strategy. We spend 40 hours a week together and I want that to be in an environment where people feel heard and invested in every action they take.
    - Kirstin Donaldson, General Manager, Boost New Media

  • Wb Chaordix
    Chaordix

    Calgary, Canada  chaordix.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    About:
    Chaordix is the global standard in crowdsourced brand and product innovation.

    From the outset, I've believed what's best for Chaordix is to create vehicles for our people to contribute, goals for them to pursue, and then to step back and let them go to work. I attribute much of our rapid growth to that approach.
    - Shelley Kuipers, Founder and CEO

  • Wb CROS
    CROS - The Alternative University

    Bucharest, Romania  universitateaalternativa.ro
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    The mission of CROS - The Alternative University, is to change Romanian education through autonomy and collaboration. This means that each student self directs their own education and develops communities of practice based on common values and passions.

    CROS - The Alternative University, practices the principle of Purpose + Vision by holding 'The Strategic Meeting' twice a year. Each meeting lasts for several days and is an opportunity to evaluate results and establish or recalibrate goals. Everyone is involved in making decisions. If anyone finds it difficult to agree on a decision, then the team may decide to postpone making a decision until everyone is ready to commit to the process. This makes each person accountable and motivates each to achieve common goals.

  • Wb Davita
    DaVita

    Denver, CO  davita.com
    Industry: Healthcare  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita - Voices of Experience

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

    Nearly 15 years ago we established a simple principle: If we wanted to create the greatest healthcare community the world has ever seen, we would have to care for each other with the same intensity that we care for our patients and the communities in which we operate. We are unwilling to make the concession that the time teammates spend at work should be less fulfilling than what they choose to do in their spare time. That makes our Village a differentiated workplace.
    - Javier Rodriguez, CEO, DaVita

  • Wb Dreamhost
    DreamHost

    Los Angeles, CA  dreamhost.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: A Day at DreamHost

    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 principle of Choice by the creation of a 'Values Squad', which is a team of people voted for by the company. Each team member voted on one person from their department, plus three 'at large' members. This squad meets regularly to discuss the culture and democracy in action at DreamHost in order to ensure that the organization is following it's values and the principles of organizational democracy. DreamHost's leadership team also uses the squad as a sounding board to see how team members would react to various leadership decisions.

  • Wb DYN
    Dyn

    Manchester, NH dyn.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: Welcome to Dyn

    About:
    Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before.

    I am a strong believer that people work best when they are their own boss. This doesn't always mean literally. If you give people incentive and ownership and let them know their opinion matters, they are often more creative and more productive. Not only is this morally the right thing to do, it is the right thing to do from a business standpoint as well. Organizations that operate under a top down tyranny have employees who spend a large portion of their day looking for a new job. That is not an efficient way to run a company. If your employees are happy, taken care of and know their needs are met, they will spend their time making sure that your clients' needs are also met, which will lead to a more successful business.
    - Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO, Dyn

  • Empyrion
    Empyrion Wealth Management

    Roseville, CA empyrionwealth.com
    Industry: Financial Services   Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    Empyrion Wealth Management provides customized wealth management financial investment advice, investment solutions and retirement services.

    Happiness in the workplace is always comes first here at Empyrion Wealth Management. A happy staff keeps everything running smoothly and productively. It is also important to have an open door policy to allow employees' voices to be heard. Some of the best ideas are formed from these situations. We are encouraged to share new ideas or better ways of doing business to streamline our workflow.
    - Kimberly Foss, CEO, Empyrion Wealth Management

  • Wb Explore Communications
    Explore Communications

    Denver, CO  explorehq.com
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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

    Democracy in the workplace provides a culture of balance, immersion, unity and community that is healthy mentally and physically. It sounds so clichéd, but we really are a family business. Anybody can make changes or suggest new and better ways to do things, and we will do it. People have finally learned that they don't have to ask me to approve everything. It could be from buying new office chairs in the conference room or changing the way we bill a client. They are empowered to do what is best and they know they are trusted. They know they can make things happen and I'll be happy even if it doesn't work out like they thought - because they tried something new rather than being complacent. We are a team and yet we have autonomy
    - Brett Grischo, CEO, Explore Communications

  • Wb Fusionfarm
    Fusionfarm Inc

    Cedar Rapids, Iowa fusionfarm.com
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013, 2014
    Video: We are Fusionfarm

    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, 2014

    About:
    Future Considerations is a global consultancy that develops leaders, catalyses innovation, delivers unprecedented outcomes and helps organizations find direction and purpose in complex environments.

    We know from experience that working in freedom - rather than fear - is what allows us to excel as individuals and as an organization. We know that decisions, ideas, and products developed in fear - or out of fear - are never as successful as when we ask ourselves 'what would we do if we were not afraid?' When we bring this to our clients, there is a sigh of relief, and excitement to reconsider what it would be like for their businesses if this powerful question were applied.
    - Mark Young, Managing Director, Future Considerations

  • Geonetric
    Geonetric

    Cedar Rapids, IA  geonetric.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    Geonetric helps healthcare organizations develop web strategies that engage consumers. VitalSite®, Geonetric's content management software, is the foundation of websites, portals and intranets for more than 500 hospitals, physician groups and clinics around the USA.

    At Geonetric, we've tried to break with the 'traditional' company culture that values secrecy and power by instead trusting employees with the information that truly is important about the organization and empowering employees to do something about it. I'm really proud of the culture and team we've built at Geonetric. Our continued growth and success is due to our willingness to do things our own way. We're crafting a company where there's real open and honest communication.
    - Eric Engelmann, President & CEO, Geonetric

  • 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, 2014

    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 Franchising Inc

  • Hagie Manufacturing Company
    Hagie Manufacturing Company

    Clarion, IA  hagie.com
    Industry: Manufacturing  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    Hagie Manufacturing Company provides innovative crop protection solutions for the agriculture industry.

    Hagie practices the principle of Reflection + Evaluation by holding a company-wide meeting every Monday to look at what happened in the past week and to plan for the upcoming week. The meeting is informational and inspirational. Leaders take time to inform as well as fire up the team for the week ahead. Additionally, they hold a monthly meeting to celebrate wins and welcome new team members.

  • 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, 2014
    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.

    I like Haiti Partners' democratic approach to the work we do because it allows me to invest in the whole organization, not just my little area. In most jobs you might have some say over whatever particular thing it is that you're responsible for, but when it comes to the mission of the organization or the strategies it employs to execute its mission, you're not invited to participate. This limits your ability to care about the work you're doing 40, 60, 80 hours each week. The fact that I'm invited to participate in these key discussions, allows me to engage more deeply in the organization and the work I do as a part of it. It allows me to care more about Haiti Partners and want to remain a part of it for the long-term.
    -Erik Badger, Program Coordinator, Haiti Partners

  • Iowa City Area Development Group
    Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD Group)

    Iowa City, IA  icadgroup.com
    Industry: Community Development  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    ICAD Group works to enhance the quality of communities by serving the workforce development and economic development needs of interstate commerce companies in Iowa's Creative Corridor.

    We believe that practicing democracy is the ideal way for an organization to operate. Top down, fear-based cultures are demotivating and limit creativity. We believe that by treating each other with respect and trust we can be creative, innovative and nimble. This makes our work more enjoyable and allows us to think about each other as people rather than just as coworkers. We operate off a core set of values that guide our work. Everyone understands what our goals and roles are and each day we get better at learning how to support each other.
    - Mark Nolte, Group President, ICAD Group

  • Wb Learn
    LEARN

    Laval, Canada  learnquebec.ca
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    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 Innovations

    Ann Arbor, MI  menloinnovations.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    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 practices the principle of Transparency primarily through its 18,000 square feet of open and collaborative space. The team uses daily stand-up meetings and weekly huddles to allow all team members to be owners of daily business activities and decisions. All communication and projects with the client and between team members is open and visible - project plans are laid out on tables, work authorization boards are posted on the wall, clients participate in weekly show-and-tell activities, and open book management scoreboards are built and managed by team members.

  • Wb Mindvalley
    Mindvalley

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  mindvalley.com
    Industry: Publishing  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    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.

    For me, working in a democratic workplace means mostly being able to freely contribute and take part actively in the decision-making process. I think that being able to openly share ideas and thoughts is essential as through the diversity of opinions big things will happen. This improves the working environment as employees feel that they are appreciated by having the opportunity to contribute to the company's productivity and success. It also reflects credibility and equality which makes the employees taking responsibility for their actions. People are encouraged to express their ideas and these are implemented if there's potential seen in those ideas. Discussions and brainstorms are of great importance in Mindvalley.
    - Kadi Oja, Author Relations Manager, Mindvalley

  • Wb Namaste Solar
    Namasté Solar

    Boulder, CO  namastesolar.com
    Industry: Solar Energy  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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

    Namasté Solar practice the principle of Dialogue + Listening using a system called 'Frank, Open and Honest Communication (FOH)'. When an issue needs to be addressed, FOH requires the one delivering the message to be frank and honest, and it is understood that they will also be respectful, constructive, and timely with their communication. The receiver is asked to be open to hearing constructive commentary, and to avoid becoming defensive or combative. It can be extremely difficult to be on either end of FOH, but much good comes from being able to frankly state an issue and deal with it directly, including deeper relationships and less politics and gossip. Confronting hard truths with colleagues is an intense experience; Namasté Solar calls it "sitting in the fire" together.

  • Wb Nearsoft
    Nearsoft

    Hermosillo, Mexico nearsoft.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: Inside the Nearsoft Culture

    About:
    Nearsoft is a product software development service.

    Nearsoft practices the principle of Accountability by organizing their developers into self-managed project teams dedicated to a particular client. As the teams have matured, people have learned not to micro-manage, but rather trust and help each other. A regular 360-degree review system supports the success of each team.

  • 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, 2014
    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 principle of Individual + Collective by involving everyone in the annual strategic planning process. Input is gathered at the annual company retreat, from which the leadership team formulates business strategies. High-level strategies are communicated to colleagues at a monthly all-staff meeting. Separate departments then align their team goals with the overall strategy, and individuals develop their own goals to feed up to the business objectives. Finally, inputs are incorporated in to a performance hub on the company HR Information Management System. This allows everyone to directly tie their responsibilities up to their team's initiatives, and ultimately to the greater business objectives. Through this system, along with the philosophy of open-book management, everyone knows what their role is in making the business successful and a sense of ownership is strongly felt at all levels within the company.

  • Wb Nixon Mcinnes
    NixonMcInnes

    Brighton, UK  nixonmcinnes.co.uk
    Industry: Social Technologies  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: Happiness at Work at NixonMcInnes

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

    Recently NixonMcInnes deepened their practice of the principle of Dialogue + Listening by undertaking a company wide training course aimed at creating greater connection and understanding between each other. It was a two-day course run by a non-violent communication coach. The team practiced new skills together in a safe and supported environment, addressing personal and business issues in role-plays together. The experience created a deep sense of empathy between team members and some difficult issues have now been tackled since using the newly acquired skills. NixonMcInnes how has an even more solid commitment to being authentic, open, and focused on meaningful dialogue.

  • Wb NRI Distribution
    NRI Distribution

    Kamloops, Canada  nri-distribution.com
    Industry: Transportation Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013, 2014
    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 principle of Choice by recognizing team members who do things that are in-line with company values. They call these the 'Ollies.' Team members vote on who deserves each award. The Ollies are then given out at their annual staff party and the nominees are also recognized. The Ollies are a similar concept to the Oscars, but they are called Ollies because the awards are gold skateboards. This fits with NRI because of the nature of their business.

  • Wb Podio
    Podio

    Copenhagen, Denmark  podio.com
    Industry: Software  Type: Public (acquired by Citrix in 2012)
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    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
    Productivity Associates

    San Diego, CA  gotopai.com
    Industry: Computer Associates  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    Video: Productivity Associates Cultural Congress
    Video: What it means to be a democratic workplace at Productivity Associates

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

    Productivity Associates practices the principle of Transparency through openly sharing financial information. The company has a large TV screen in their lobby that they use to share financials through an open-book process each week. This is a high involvement process open to every member of the 'tribe'. During this process, employees review customer challenges and financial performance on a team basis. Each tribe is responsible for presenting their financial results; management is just a participant in the process. The tribes are continually evolving the process to incorporate 'smart numbers' and KPI's into the process to further link transparency and line-of-sight to overall performance.

  • Wb Propellernet
    Propellernet

    Brighton, UK  propellernet.co.uk
    Industry: Internet  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013, 2014
    Video: The Power of Sharing

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

    We live in a knowledge economy. To lead with freedom and enable your colleagues to think freely, express their opinions, ask insightful questions and explore ideas in a supportive environment is the key to driving impactful business results in this kind of economy. Inspiring from the front, setting stretching goals, in hand with encouraging your teams to have the freedom to reach them, is possibly the most powerful style of leadership we can employ. We can feel the impact of being a freedom-centered company through our award-winning work, game changing client results, industry-beating staff retention, recognition of operational innovation and year-on-year growth. And it's immensely enjoyable and rewarding to lead in this way. Why wouldn't you?
    - Nikki Gatenby, Managing Director, Propellernet

  • Wb SAYS
    SAYS

    Petaling Jaya, Malaysia  says.com
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013, 2014
    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 principle of Choice through a process called 'Level Up.' Team members write each other's job descriptions which are regularly updated. The words used to describe the roles are refined and given a self-rating and team-rating based on how the description matches with what is required of the individual by the team. What follows is an open dialogue and a debate in semantics, which brings increased clarity and accountability to each other. It eliminates resentment in teams and replaces it with a comfort of knowing how everyone depends on each other for what they do. In recent months the same practice has been incorporated into the hiring process with chosen candidates bringing in the entire team to co-write a job description thereby helping the candidate and the team exchange ideas on what 'a true fit' really means.

  • Spook Studio
    Spook Studio

    Brighton, UK spookstudio.com
    Industry: Professional Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    Spook Studio is a product innovation studio helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into products that people love.

    I've worked in companies before that had a real blame culture and it's not fun. This manifested itself through a fear of making mistakes and ultimately a poisonous culture. We believe life should be lived to its fullest and work is a huge part of that. We never want to be the type of company that treats its employees with contempt, whatever the level - we start from a position of trust and one of our core values is have fun in everything we do. Also, we're at the forefront of entrepreneurship so it's vital that we give our employees freedom to experiment. I've always felt that people perform at their best when there's mutual respect and where they have autonomy to make their own decisions. We actively reinforce our purpose and values to ensure we're all on the same page - we live by the motto 'live them, don't laminate them'.
    - Laurence McCahill, CEO + Co-founder, Spook Studio

  • Wb Sweetriot
    Sweetriot

    New York, NY  sweetriot.com
    Industry: Food Products  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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

    Having the freedom to make decisions and find solutions on my own allows me to play on my strengths. I've never been able to thrive being dictated to or pigeonholed. It's important for my sense of self and commitment to a company that I am trusted to work independently and with complete transparency. Having the feeling of ownership really allows you to have a stake in what's being done. With that comes accountability and responsibility, which I take on with zeal because I know I've made a difference.
    - Marissa Long, Mega Catalyst of Cool Sales, sweetriot

  • Tack Mobile
    Tack Mobile

    Denver, CO  tackmobile.com
    Industry: Media Agencies  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014

    About:
    Tack is a mobile design and development company based in Denver, CO.

    Freedom is part of the foundation of the company, and not something we consciously apply to one decision or problem. Hiring, product development, training, technology selection, and collaborating on our physical office space are all areas in which we've worked together to solve problems.
    - John Myers, CEO, Tack Mobile

  • 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, 2014

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

    Working at TakingITGlobal you always feel that you are part of a team working towards a common goal. It is such a pleasure coming to work everyday knowing that my opinions matter, my views are heard and my work is appreciated. I have received the same respect and equality from the time that I started as an intern through my transition into my current position- something that is very rare in other organizations. TakingITGlobal fosters an environment of inclusion and support making sure that each employee feels like part of the family. The organization works hard to actively encourage and support the strengths and skills development of their employees. It is a great feeling knowing that TakingITGlobal is so invested in my success.
    - Kareen Matushek, Program Coordinator, 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, 2014
    Video: The Link School
    Video: Questions and Answers With The Link School Director

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

    The enjoyment in working in a freedom-centered democratic work place begins with a sense of value. Not just feeling valued but valuing the environment you work in because you are invested in its success. We identify and solve problems together, which decentralizes ownership of ideas, but allows each person have input. By recognizing others input we naturally embrace fairness and dignity to that person and the team. It's more fun to be around people who really want to succeed.
    - David Bailey, Academic Director, 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, 2014
    Video: The Online 401(k) Culture

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

    Being a freedom-centered leader is far easier than being a micromanaging curmudgeon. Hiring smart people who are aligned with our higher purpose while creating opportunities for them to thrive and make an impact is essential to growing our business. I want an environment where we all can have a balanced life, a happy workplace, a safe workplace, and ultimately a place where we all can grow and thrive.
    - Chad Parks, CEO, The Online 401(k)

  • Wb Trov
    Trov

    San Ramon, CA  trov.com
    Industry: Software  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013, 2014

    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.

    I choose to work at Trov over larger companies that are more established because I am treated with respect and am given challenging work that causes me to seek the advice and input from those around me. My job is extremely demanding which gets me excited to show up every day and give my best. I have not worked in an environment with this degree of trust before. We lack bureaucracy and are empowered to solve problems and make decisions. To top it off we have a lot of fun. Our office is full of laughter most days. No one takes himself or herself too seriously and each one of us seek to hold the door open for one another.
    - Mitchell James, Data Specialist, Trov

  • Wb Trov
    UST Global

    Aliso Viejo, CA  ust-global.com
    Industry: IT Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014
    Video: UST Global Work Environment

    About:
    UST Global is a leading provider of end-to-end IT services and solutions for Global 1000 companies.

    Workplace freedom and democratic practices are key differentiators in today's competitive business environment, which separates great organizations from the rest. UST Global is one of the few organizations which goes beyond the stated values and believes and practices freedom and democracy at the workplace. In my experience, as a proud USsociate, I have experienced this first hand and observed how it has touched the professional lives of our company's employees. The UST Global leadership has always epitomized workplace freedom and nurtured democratic employee practices. This has been promoted and practiced by our leaders at all levels. There is a consistency about the way UST promotes democratic principles and values to ensure the same spirit is cascaded to all levels in the organization. UST Global has always provided the right environment which nurtures freedom of expression, breaking free from hierarchical boundaries, providing opportunities for growth and ensuring fair treatment for our people.
    - Manu Gopinath, Global Head of Human Resources, UST Global

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    Valtech

    Copenhagen, Denmark  valtech.dk
    Industry: Internet  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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

    Valtech practices the principle of Decentralization by ensuring that power is not centralized at the management group. Instead, it is spread out to a number of 'Personal Leaders' and 'Team Owners.' Every year individuals can run for the position as Personal Leader regardless of their role in the organization, and every year the new personal leaders are elected by the rest of the organization. Furthermore, employees have the power to choose their own boss through the election process.

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    WD-40 Company

    San Diego, CA  wd40company.com
    Industry: Non-durable Household Products  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    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 principle of Integrity by incorporating six values in everything it does, including the impact of following those values or not on individual compensation. The first value of the company is "Do the right thing". Following this value, or any value, means that at times it can cost the company money, time and effort to maintain it. An example of WD-40 Company "doing the right thing" is that it will not produce a product that contains detectable quantities of unsafe materials, even if doing so would be allowed and profitable.

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    Woohoo Inc. (formerly The Happy at Work Project)

    Frederiksberg, Denmark  woohooinc.com
    Industry: Consulting  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    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.

    Woohoo! practices the principle of Fairness and Dignity in several ways. Team members can decide what projects they are most passionate about and want to contribute to - therefore ensuring that they give their best effort. Salary information is open to all and bonuses are shared equally across the organization.

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    Zappos.com

    Las Vegas, NV  zappos.com
    Industry: Retail  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    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.

    Every time the size of a city doubles, innovation or productivity per resident increases by 15%. But when companies get bigger, innovation or productivity per employee generally goes down. So we're trying to figure out how to structure Zappos more like a city, and less like a bureaucratic corporation. In a city, people and businesses are self-organizing. We're trying to do the same thing by switching from a normal hierarchical structure to a system based on giving employees more freedom, which enables employees to act more like entrepreneurs and self-direct their work instead of reporting to a manager who tells them what to do.
    - Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com

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