WorldBlu - Freedom at Work

WorldBlu Awards


The WorldBlu List of Freedom-Centered Workplaces™ 2016 is comprised of organizations from a diversity of industries including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, education, retail and professional 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 65,000 employees and are located across the US, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Haiti, Romania, and New Zealand.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the WorldBlu List of Freedom-Centered Workplaces™, a certification that has impacted over a million employees worldwide.

An organization makes it onto the WorldBlu List through a rigorous Freedom at Work™ Scorecard process completed by employees. The assessment evaluates the overall design of an organization along a fear-based to freedom-centered continuum in three core areas: leadership, individual performance and systems, and processes. Assessment questions are based on the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy™. Those organizations scoring 3.5 or higher on a 0-5 scale earn WorldBlu certification.

  • 80024support
    80024support (formerly Productivity Associates)

    San Diego, CA
    Industry: Computer Associates  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: What Does Freedom in the Workplace Mean to You?
    Video: Productivity Associates Cultural Congress
    Video: What it means to be a democratic workplace at Productivity Associates

    80024support provides contact center outsourcing.

    Our perspective regarding the value of our freedom-centered, democratic work environment is very fundamental. Simply put, we are constantly and universally reminded, that empowering our teams with transparency, safety, perspective, ownership, top grading, leadership and shared success leads to awesome organizational performance. Furthermore, as we continue to grow, the contributions from our teams have become increasingly strategic. These strategic contributions, beyond the management team, are at the core of our company’s success. Great people working together, building something bigger than themselves wins every single time.
    – Ken Mcloughlin, CEO

    ADECA – The Children’s Academy + Learning Center

    Bellevue La Montagne, Haiti
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2016
    Video: ADECA Scholarships

    The Children’s Academy and Learning Center (known as “ADECA”) is a vibrant primary school that serves as a model school in Haiti. It’s a place where educators from across the country come to see a quality, democratic school in action and discover methods of education and leadership that help them transform their communities.

    Purpose & Vision

    Over the past year ADECA underwent a thorough process of refocusing their Purpose + Vision by inviting involvement from community members, during their monthly meetings focused on defining purpose, mission and values. The process included placing 100 values on the wall and then inviting members of their school community during a meeting to pick the ones that they want ADECA to embody and reinforce. Then they moved the values from being clustered on a big wall to another area marked as “priority values.” Once the community members voted for their preferred values—about 20 overall—the main staff reduced these down to 12. Every month there’s a different value that is posted around the building and discussions about the value are integrated into work and classes on a daily basis through discussions with community members, staff and children.

    Dialogue & Listening

    As part of their contribution to ADECA, school community members are expected to participate in at least two hours of discussion-based ongoing education each week to help improve the practice of Dialogue + Listening. Currently, there are groups using a discussion-based education approach working on topics such as: rethinking power toward eliminating violence against women and girls, child protection and positive discipline to establishing savings and loans groups. These discussions serve as a vital part of educating people on what it means to be an active member of a democratic community.


    One of the ways ADECA practices Accountability is through an agreement that is signed by parents and staff so that people understand that they are accountable to each other and to the people they serve. The agreement includes four hours each week of service work. Parents of students at the Academy are required to give weekly as part of their contribution to the life of the organization and it nurtures a spirit of accountability among staff and community members.

  • Wb Aiesec
    AIESEC International

    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Industry: Leadership  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: What is AIESEC?
    Video: The AIESEC International 2015-2016 Team
    Video: AIESEC – Why we do what we do
    Video: Setting 2020 Goals Process
    Video: AIESEC & Democracy

    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. AIESEC is also the only organization to have maintained its place on the WorldBlu List for 10 consecutive years.

    At AIESEC International, we practice Freedom at Work because we believe in the power of “together.” When people understand what they need to do, they will do it most often alone. When they are told how to do it in a team, they will coordinate, understanding the different roles of each person on the team. But when the team understands why they need to do it, that’s when they can contribute the best as an individual and collectively, because they are not working for someone, they are working for something.
    - Ana Saldarriaga, Global President

  • Wb Boost New Media

    Wellington, New Zealand
    Industry: Media  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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

    Freedom at Work helps Boost to deliver value to our company, teams and customers. We’ve found that organizational democracy teaches our leaders to work with human nature rather than against it. Instead of forcing staff to do the work the organization needs, it's about developing the mechanisms to give staff an authentic voice at all levels of our operation so that they want to do the work that needs to get done. Since we've embarked on becoming democratic, Boost has become much more resilient. The team is and has always been self organizing and self managing, but now they operate in a way that's more holistic and that encompasses the whole business rather than just the work each individual is doing.
    - Nathan Donaldson, CEO

  • Wb CROS
    CROS - The Alternative University

    Bucharest, Romania
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014, 2015, 2016

    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.

    The Alternative University is a platform for seeding freedom-centered learning and work in Romania. We strongly believe in the freedom of every human being to choose for themselves and make their own decisions about life. We believe this is the way one can have a fulfilling life and can positively impact those around him through his work. The principles of freedom and equality are transferred further from the service we deliver to our students to the working environment. We do not consider ourselves a team of employees, but a team of entrepreneurs where each of us is equally involved in taking strategic decisions, where each of us can make his daily schedule. We believe it is the best way to keep us all engaged and productive without limits or constraints.
    – Cristina Cristea, CEO

  • Wb Davita

    Denver, CO
    Industry: Healthcare  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: DaVita - Our Story
    Video: Kent Thiry on Freedom at Work at DaVita
    Video: Kent Thiry on Building a Company Culture

    DaVita is a nearly $13 billion Fortune 400® healthcare company with over 65,000 employees.

    Individual & Collective

    DaVita has put the principle Individual + Collective into action through a number of different programs including The PEAK program, which provides training tools and coaching for teammates (aka: employees) to excel in communication and problem solving. The crux of each course is breaking down silos to encourage teammate collaboration and problem solving. For example, “Huddles” allow for teammates to gather and review metrics from the prior day, discuss pain points and areas of improvement, and brainstorm solutions. Huddles give each teammate despite his/her role a voice and chance to add value, be heard and make a change. Huddles also recognize teammates who make a difference and therefore encourages teammates to communicate and share ideas. Huddles are limited to 15 minutes and move rapidly, so teammates must learn to be crisp, clear, and concise with their communications.


    As a large organization, DaVita has also put the principle of Decentralization into practice through the “Idea Hub.” This is an innovation platform and a vital avenue for teammates to share their ideas about how to improve the organization by improving the quality of their work, reducing teammate burden, and improving their organization’s economics. Bright ideas generated through the Idea Hub are recognized during all teammate calls. Subject matter experts in many departments regularly review ideas for potential value and aid in the implementation of the best ideas.

  • Wb Dreamhost

    Los Angeles, CA
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: A Day at DreamHost

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

    DreamHost discovered that by giving people more Choice rather than less during their recent reorganization served their well and helped forward their freedom-centered culture. Nothing causes more fear in a company then when the decision is made to go through a reorganization. Most organizations decide where everyone is going and then announce it. DreamHost, however, decided to change from a competency structure to a product-based structure. Instead of just announcing where everyone will work, they took a “choose your favorite product to work on” approach and let people choose their team. They believe the efficiency and increased performance that resulted was due to giving team members a choice.

  • Geonetric

    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Industry: Internet  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014, 2015, 2016
    Videos: How Geonetric Refocused Their Core Values

    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.

    Geonetric is a freedom-centered workplace because we remain convinced it’s the best way to implement our mission: to build an exceptional team that does revolutionary work to “wow!” our clients. Freedom at Work means we trust our employees in ways most traditional corporations fear. Our employees are financially savvy; they understand our financial goals and how their team’s work contributes to Geonetric’s overall success. Our employees also understand our clients, their needs, and the ever-changing healthcare market. Because teams are able to organize, prioritize, and manage their own work, they deliver value to our clients faster than ever. The people closest to, and most knowledgeable about, any problem are the ones who are responsible for solving it. The results? Consistently high scores in both client and employee satisfaction, the ability to hire and retain top talent in a highly competitive environment, achieving our financial goals and helping our clients do the same.
    – Eric Engelmann, CEO

  • Hagie Manufacturing Company
    Hagie Manufacturing Company

    Clarion, IA
    Industry: Manufacturing  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014, 2015, 2016

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

    I enjoy working in a freedom-centered workplace because Hagie demonstrates that it views its employees as more than just a source of labor – they care about our overall wellbeing as well. A freedom-centered workplace provides its employees with a voice and instills a sense of ownership. A freedom-centered workplace fosters an environment in which employees act as leaders and hold each other accountable.
    - Joseph Gathua, Computer Systems Analyst

  • Wb Haiti Partners
    Haiti Partners

    Port au Prince, Haiti
    Industry: Education and Community  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: Education, Democracy and Development
    Video: We Believe in the Power of Education

    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’ freedom-centered leadership approach 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

  • Wb Happy

    London, UK
    Industry: Computer Services  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2013, 2016

    Happy helps individuals use their desktop software more productively, creates interactive online learning workshops, and helps create happier workplaces.

    Freedom at work is right in principle and right in practice. A freedom-centered workplace means one where people are able to focus on simply doing their best, rather than politics and silly rules. It can create a great place to work in, and as result a more effective, productive, and profitable company. Freedom at work is common sense. Why would anybody want to restrict people’s freedom?
    – Henry Stewart, CEO

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

    Iowa City, IA
    Industry: Community Development  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2014, 2015, 2016

    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.

    I’m aspiring to be a freedom-centered leader because I believe in the people I work with. I care about their success and happiness as people and as part of our team. I believe they can only accomplish their goals if provided the freedom to operate in the manner which best fits their passions, skills, and expertise. I think teams are most effective when each member has the ability to chart their own course while supporting and being accountable to each other. We believe in transparency, open communication, and collective visioning and problem-solving.
    – Mark Nolte, ICAD Group President

  • Wb lewesfc
    Lewes Community Football Club

    Lewes, UK
    Industry: Sport + Leisure  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2016
    Video: Lewes FC – Join the Revolution!

    Originally founded in 1885 as a private entity, the Lewes Community Football Club transferred to a mass-ownership Community Benefit Society in 2010 and is now owned by the football (aka: soccer) fans.

    Lewes Community Football Club is a place where business and passion are intertwined - where volunteers and full-time staff work hand in hand, and where the need to get things done is overwritten by the sheer enjoyment of the journey. It is a place that is all encompassing without being oppressive, where ideas are shared, encouraged and acted upon, and when it all comes together on Matchday we can all relax, safe in the knowledge that everything has been done, all is in hand, and the reason that we are all here can begin, and we can enjoy the game. It is a truly inspiring place and one that I hope to be at for a very long time.
    - Kevin Miller, Commercial Director and CEO

  • Wb Menlo
    Menlo Innovations

    Ann Arbor, MI
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    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

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

    Menlo Innovations practices Transparency by actively utilizing their 18,000 sq. ft. office space as a way to be as transparent as possible. Teammates share information and projects with the client and co-workers through project plans laid out on tables and work authorization boards posted on the walls. Additionally, clients participate in weekly show and tell activities in the office. Finally, open book management scoreboards are built and managed by team members as well.

  • Wb Mindvalley

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Industry: Publishing  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: A Day in the Life of Mindvalley
    Video: The Mindvalley Team Retreat
    Video: How to Transform your Company Culture and Attract Brilliant Talent

    Mindvalley is an Internet incubator that shares its management and business practices freely through an online university.


    One of the ways Mindvalley practices Integrity is through a Leadership Board which is a group of peers that anyone can reach out to or confide in during emergencies should they experience or witness anything that breaches the company code of conduct. If an employee feels unable to handle the situation themselves, they can turn to the Board for help.

  • Wb Mindvalley

    Hermosillo, Mexico
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: Inside the Nearsoft Culture
    Video: Not a Regular Office

    Nearsoft is a product software development service.


    When people arrive at Nearsoft, they may have a job description but this doesn’t mean they can’t explore other interests and activities. The principle of Choice is put into practice through project exchanges, mentoring, work sharing, and discussions, where employees get the chance to learn and decide how they want to develop their career and/or change their role. By doing all they can to ensure employees are in the right role, the company ensures that all individuals are happy, engaged, and working at their best.

  • Wb New Belgium
    New Belgium Brewing Company

    Fort Collins, CO
    Industry: Brewers  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: New Belgium Brewing Company | Alternatively Empowered
    Video: Fat Tire Ale – Want a Beer?

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

    Leading a fear and control based company is so outside of what we aspire to be. We don’t feel that being loving and excellent are paradoxical concepts. Being a company that is more like a community, with aligned and unified people driving to accomplish a purpose, is a source of pride. We not only want to be successful, but we want to feel successful. Being a part of the WorldBlu community has helped us measure these ideals and create a quantifiable framework that helps us replicate what we do well and resolve what we do not. Intentional execution of this concept, we believe, is a competitive advantage.
    - Jennifer Briggs, Head of Organizational Development and Human Resources

  • Wb NRI Distribution
    NRI Distribution

    Kamloops, Canada
    Industry: Transportation Services  Type: For Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: Inside NRI
    Video: The CEO of NRI Distribution Talks About NRI in Kamloops

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

    At NRI, the values of “Fairness + Dignity” and “Individual + Collective” drive our belief that we must commit to the people who come to work every day if we expect them to make any sort of commitment to us. Our challenge was to break the industry norm of using temp agencies’ employees and hire people based on values and fit within NRI. We mentored people, set specific goals and accountability, and increased the ratio of NRI employees on the production floor from 40% to 99%. These people are now more engaged, happier, and have seen an increase in pay and benefits, and NRI has seen a 10% reduction in labor cost.
    – Bruce Churchill, Chief Financial Officer

  • Wb Piktochart

    Penang, Malaysia
    Industry: Software  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2016
    Video: Piktochart Culture

    Piktochart is an intuitive, easy-to-use infographic platform that helps non-designers create beautiful visuals.

    Reflection + Evaluation

    Piktochart have put the principle of Reflection + Evaluation into practice by developing an in-house system where everyone can evaluate their peer’s performance on a quarterly basis. In line with being transparent, the feedback is not anonymous and it encourages people to provide constructive feedback about their teammates' performance. Team members are asked to name three things that he/she did well and three things that he/she can improve on. It invites everyone to reflect on their own performance, based on the feedback, and develop an action plan to improve.

  • Wb REV Asia
    REV Asia

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Industry: Internet  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2016
    Video: REV Asia Team Retreat

    Rev Asia is publicly listed on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad (ACE:0173). As one of Malaysia’s leading digital media groups, REV Asia owns and operates top authority brands with an extensive distribution platform that is able to reach a total reach of approximately 14 million people each month through the power of social media marketing and exceptional content.


    In the spirit of practicing Transparency, REV Asia developed “In Your Face” - a monthly practice where each team goes out for a meal, preferably with a round table so that everyone can see each other. The team leader initiates and leads this conversation where the team reflects and evaluates how they are doing as a team and as individuals by asking several questions: 1. What should we KEEP? (In other words, what is working well for the team?) 2. What should we START? (Where are new ideas that our team members think we should implement?) 3. What should we STOP? (What are the things our team members think we can do without, bad habits/culture that we should be putting to rest?) 4. Any other business that anyone feels like voicing. “In Your Face” sessions are designed to be a space where team members can share their thoughts on work and not wait for a volcano to erupt. This creates a space for open conversation and the next steps to improve the business. Team members have seen many breakthrough ideas from this monthly practice.

  • Wb Sweetriot

    New York, NY
    Industry: Food Products  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

    sweetriot is a social enterprise producing chocolate-covered cacao nibs and bars.

    I believe you achieve your highest aspirations and dreams when you operate from a place of freedom and inspiration rather than fear. Bringing my team into true ownership and vision of sweetriot passes on this energy of freedom-based thinking.
    – Sarah Endline, Mastermind & Chief Rioter (aka: Founder & CEO)

  • Wb Takingitglobal

    Toronto, Canada
    Industry: Internet  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016

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

    I am a freedom-centered leader because I believe that each and every one of us has incredible gifts, talents, and passions to both share and discover. When we are free to explore and express our ideas in an environment that nurtures and cultivates our individual and collective potential, we are creating foundations for resilience and adaptability that are essential to the success of any organization.
    - Jennifer Corriero, Executive Director

  • Wb Linkschool
    The Link School

    Buena Vista, CO
    Industry: Education  Type: Not for Profit
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: The Link School
    Video: Questions and Answers With The Link School Director

    The Link School is a private, experiential learning high school.

    The Link School strives to practice Fairness + Dignity by employing a democratic disciplinary process where students and staff actively work together, through dialogue and listening, to decide on a solution or consequence that all have agreed to. When a student was dismissed recently, all in the community – including the student – agreed to the consequences.

  • Wb Wd40
    WD-40 Company

    San Diego, CA
    Industry: Non-durable Household Products  Type: Public
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: The WD-40 Tribe
    Video: Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 on Helping People Win at Work
    Video: WD-40 Positive Lasting Memories

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

    At WD-40 Company, we consider our people to be one of our most valuable assets. Many years ago we set out to create and sustain a culture that would consistently promote meaningful work life in the organization. We respect each other as people first and strive to include the consideration of the entire “tribe” of WD-40 Company employees in everything we do. We believe that by practicing inclusiveness in decision-making and empowering individuals to control as much of their work methods and priorities as practical and possible, we create a culture of engaged and passionate employees. Third party research has shown that companies with strong cultures and higher engagement levels enjoy better returns and stronger growth. As a publically-traded company, strong returns help ensure that we can maintain our strategic course and strength of culture, while fulfilling our responsibilities to shareholders.
    - Garry Ridge, CEO

  • Widen

    Madison, WI
    Industry: Software + Computer Services  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2015, 2016
    Video: About Widen
    Video: Digital Asset Management and The Widen Experience

    Widen is a marketing technology company that assists organizations in managing their digital assets.

    Fairness & Dignity

    Widen has operationalized Fairness + Dignity by establishing deeper community relationships that provide opportunities for people with developmental challenges. A local organization has partnered with the company to provide opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, allowing them to integrate into the workforce. With that in mind, company leaders have created jobs such as “popcorn delivery” and “straightening up after lunch.” They employ five people with developmental challenges doing various tasks throughout the building, assisted by their job coaches. While the intent of this was to assist with their own social and occupational wellness, it has actually done more for the social and emotional wellness of all employees.

  • Wb Zappos

    Las Vegas, NV
    Industry: Retail  Type: Private
    Years on the WorldBlu List: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    Video: Zappos Company Culture
    Video: Zappos Family Music Video

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

    Having the freedom that I do in my work at Zappos allows me to go all in. It empowers me to take full ownership over my projects, my career path, and the culture we create. That same freedom affords me opportunities that I might never have had at a traditional company. At Zappos I can reinvent myself daily based on the company’s and my needs.
    - Krissee Danger, Deputy Chief of Staff

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