HR Strange But True!
September 11, 2008

Twenty-five percent of employees claim their workplace is a dictatorship, according to a survey conducted for the Workplace Democracy Association by Zogby Interactive.

The Workplace Democracy Association is an organization that promotes the benefits of workplace democracy. The organization says democratic workplaces share information, discretion, and rewards among employees.

Asher Adelman, founder and president of the organization, said the finding that so many employees feel they work at mini-dictatorships is unfortunate because it affects productivity.

"Traditionally managed companies, by inadvertently draining the motivation levels of their employees, are stifling productivity, innovation, and creativity," Adelman said. "Companies cannot expect to remain competitive when such large numbers of employees do not feel like they are treated like responsible adults nor when they feel like their input has little or no impact on the company's decision-making process."

The survey found that 80 percent of workers said they work better when they are given the freedom to decide how best to do their job.

The survey also found that only 52 percent of respondents said their boss treats subordinates well. Fewer than half of respondents said their workplace promotes creative or inventive ideas.

Some of the respondents in the survey also took a swipe at HR professionals and upper management for their hiring decisions. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they believe that their human resources departments or upper management "almost always" or "sometimes" hire the wrong people.

"Companies that want to boost employee engagement levels must adopt democratic and innovative practices in the way the entire company is managed," said Adelman. "Executives should be sharing information with all employees about the company's ongoing performance and goals, and employees should be empowered with greater discretion and decision-making abilities. In addition, it goes without saying that employees should be rewarded and compensated when the company is successful in achieving its goals."

The survey, which was conducted in May, included 2,475 respondents.

Have you ever felt you worked under a dictator? Or, maybe you have a bunch of anarchists working for your organization? And, who makes better hiring decisions: HR or upper management? Share your stories, but be careful--the dictator could be watching your every move. If we get enough good stories, we'll include them in a future column.

Source: Workplace Democracy Association

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