Sociocracy UK

How-to, community & developing Collaborative Governance in the UK

Extreme employee engagement – Freedom at work

Last year, on the first leg of my return flight from SXSW, I ended up sitting next to Mark Dowds, who introduced me not only to CrossFit, but also to Worldblu. The first one is now part of my life; the second one is something I always wanted to find out more about. So last week I met Miranda Ash, Worldblu’s UK representative. I left the meeting feeling very excited and inspired by the work, principles, vision and examples of Worldblu.

But let’s start at the beginning and look at employee engagement or shall we say disengagement.

Take a look at this link for some startling up to date stats from the USA and I suspect the story here in the UK isn’t much better – All the stats below are from Gallup and provided by Miranda unless otherwise stated.

In a report from a couple of years ago Gallup reported that:

82% of Australian employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their work.

88% of Chinese employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their work.

91% of Japanese employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged”

88% of Thai employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged”

But when engagement does happen, the results are quite astonishing:

62% of engaged workers feel that their work positively impacts their health, whereas 54% or disengaged workers say that their work lives are having a negative effect on their health.  With the skyrocketing cost of health insurance 68% of small business owners say that they think healthcare costs are hurting the current business climate “a lot.”

Healthcare costs were expected to rise 15% in 2011 alone, so employers are scrambling for ways to keep employees healthier. We hear about wellness programmes – but what about increasing the level of employee engagement? A further statistic we saw last year reported that in workplaces were employees are actively engaged the healthcare costs are 75% lower because of decreased stress levels. In addition, recruitment costs are 73% lower because happy employees are loyal employees.

What about the psychological dimension?  78% of engaged workers say that their work life has a positive effect on their psychological well-being — but only 15% of actively disengaged workers feel the same way.

So the assumption, put forward by WorldBlu, is that engagement = bottom-line growth!

Introducing Worldblu

Worldblu is committed to introducing more democracy and freedom into the workplace and is working with companies to become certified as a democratic workplace. Their member companies include the likes of Zappos, Groupon and HCL, so as you can see, this isn’t just some madcap initiative but a real attempt of changing the way we work and how we engage with employees. It is fascinating and sits perfectly within the connected age and its shift from consumption to communication and henceforth collaboration. It also seems to be more up-to-date and flexible than Investors’ for People, embracing more than just work and its processes.

Here are Worldblu’s 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy....."

Continue reading at

SociocracyUK will be exploring these issues further at Grow! Brighton, UK 10/11 April 2012

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