How Employees Can Use Democracy at Work to Drive Engagement

by Chris Rhatigan on Oct 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

voting in the workplace

This is part of a blog series discussing TINYpulses newest upgrade, LIVEpulse.

Click here to learn more about what LIVEpulse does.

One thing we truly believe in at TINYpulse: workers should have a say in how their workplaces are run. The key features of democracy — voting and debate — contribute to sustaining healthier, more vibrant workplaces.

That’s why we’re excited about LIVEpulse, a new tool intended to help workplace democracy thrive. Traditional, top-down hierarchies are crumbling, and in their place, employees are having more say than ever in how workplaces are run. Companies that are on the cutting edge of this trend will become talent magnets.

Bringing democracy into the workplace shows that your company is moving toward a flat hierarchy in which executives aren’t the only ones making important decisions. Younger generations, especially millennials and Gen Zers, report that they expect to be able to shape their workplaces. Those companies encouraging employees to take an active role will have a clear advantage.


Foundations of Workplace Democracy

Many workplaces have incorporated some kind of feedback system that allows employees to tell management about how the company can improve. At a minimum, it’s crucial that these feedback tools are anonymous so that employees feel free to speak their minds. The traditional version of this tool is the annual survey.

We’ve sought to improve on this model through the use of pulse surveys, one- or two-question surveys sent directly to employees’ devices every week. These surveys provide instantaneous feedback on crucial questions about workplace satisfaction.

Introducing Transparency and Voting to the Workplace

tinypulse_ipad_smaller-1-1.pngBut we’re going beyond that. LIVEpulse includes a format in which employees are rewarded for answering survey questions with a Twitter-like scroll showing (anonymous) survey responses, virtual suggestions, and Cheers for Peers. This is a big step toward making workplaces transparent.

Plus, employees will now be able to upvote or downvote suggestions for the workplace. Now, employers will have a clear picture on which ideas are popular and which aren’t. This data will be important for companies that take employee feedback seriously.


How Democracy Equals More Satisfied Employees

A Gallup study found that disengaged employees cost organizations up to $550 billion per year. Disturbingly, the study reported that these workers “are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss work days, and drive customers away.” Ouch!

When employees believe their companies don’t care what they think, they’re more likely to be disengaged. Encouraging employees to take an active role in improving the workplace is good for them and good for the companies they work for.

The research shows that democratic workplaces affect the bottom line. They decrease absenteeism and fraud while improving retention and recruitment.

And that’s what LIVEpulse is all about — creating positive relationships among employees and between workers and employers. Expect that your company will improve recruitment and retention by being highly responsive to employee concerns.



Project Water Cooler

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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.