Democracy is the heart of healthy workplaces

“Democracy is the art of thinking independently together.”, said Alexander Meiklejohn, a philosopher hitting the nail on the head. So yesterday, as we observed International Day of Democracy, with the underlying principle of promoting and upholding democratic values, which are at the core of a prosperous nation, society and people, it makes sense to keep his quotation as the guiding principle.

Democracy’s prime function is to protect fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech, religion, the right to equal protection, and the opportunity to organise and participate entirely in society’s political, economic, and cultural life. Democracy may not be utopian, but it is the closest to the ideal community. People, through the ages, have died to protect the democratic way.

The democratic way recounts various aspects of exciting things when the creative impulse is fuelled by curiosity, freedom, and intensity. Consequently, bringing in accountability while one is treated equally. However, equality alone will not suffice, as tending to everyone’s different needs is crucial. It is only together that we can scale greater heights, and it makes a lot of sense to get your squad involved and explore new possibilities.

A democratic workplace can result in a happier and more harmonious environment. Of course, building a democratic culture is difficult, but we may start by implementing the following ideals at work:

Freedom of Expression– Employees feel liberated when their opinions and points of view are heard, which increases engagement and communication within the organisation and helps develop a healthy work environment to collaborate, express, and appreciate multiple perspectives and voices. We’ve noticed that “freedom to express” has only aided development and progress in the fast-paced environment. When you trust and delegate responsibility to the employees, you will be astounded by the number of creative ideas that emerge. Even though we dig deep into this, we must lead them within the framework of the organisation’s set of rules.

Debate & Discussions– Encourage young people to think creatively during public debates and discussions. After all, being able to dispute with your opponent while still presenting your point of view is a vital talent. In comparison, we accomplish this by holding brainstorming sessions twice a month, where a group participates and expresses their ideas without being judged. Sometimes, the positive thoughts we ideate during these sessions are beyond imagination. It all started during the pandemic when we connected at a crucial time to keep the employees engaged.

Transparency- People, first and foremost, value honesty in its purest form. Transparency helps to earn people’s trust while also unlocking the ability to solve the problem uniquely. For example, we used a two-way appraisal method this year, in which the teams were asked to provide feedback. This instilled a sense of sincerity in the relationship between management and employees, making it more engaging. In addition, our monthly town halls (All Hands Meets) have helped us break down barriers and debate various topics in-depth and with an open mind, resulting in better outcomes.

Respecting Diversity– With the rise of globalisation, we must learn to work with people from various cultures and backgrounds, acknowledge and respect our colleagues, and practise cultural sensitivity so that everyone feels a part of the same circle and can learn and succeed on their own.

All the above factors lead to workplace equality which consequentially has a positive impact on the employees. It aids a sense of ownership in employees and ensures satisfaction and engagement, thus leading to improved productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, it entails an encouraging influence towards teamwork with mutual goals.

However, the very legitimacy, in theory, guarantees that it will not abuse its power in practice. If wielded appropriately, power can influence positivity. If misused, it can manifest dictatorial behaviour and create precarious circumstances and disrupt the work environment. Conversely, incorporating Democratic values at the workplace can be leveraged and used as a strength while people act responsibly.

Thus, making the workplace a happy place to be.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Smita Gosavi
Smita Gosavi is Head of HR at Concept PR

With 16 years of experience, Smita translates business vision into HR initiatives that improve performance, profitability, growth and employee engagement. By managing holistic HR verticals, she empowers leaders who support companies and top executives with a unique perspective and appreciation that human capital is every organisation’s greatest asset.

A genuine influencer who believes in innovative employee engagement programmes, she thrives on tough challenges and translates visions and strategies into actionable value-added goals and believes in leading with empathy.

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