Democratic decision making tool for the workplace

This is a re-post of my work blog at http://www.nixonmcinnes.co.uk/2012/05/29/app-for-democratic-decision-making-in-the-workplace/ but I thought I’d share it here too.

You can check it out above, or at
http://labs.nixmc.com/~beth/decisionmaking/

Here at NixonMcInnes we operate democratically. That means that workers get a vote in decisions, big and small. We are therefore likely to have more control over our environment, working conditions and roles. This is done under a principle of transparency. The most well known impact of this is that we all know what everybody else earns, and salaries are agreed by an elected rewards committee – even for our MD and board members. Our annual budget is also approved by the team.

If someone gets an idea for how to improve something, even if it’s not to do with their role, they’re welcome to propose their idea and ask for feedback, votes and company agreement.

Historically, when the company was quite small, this was done in quite an ad-hoc way when and where it was felt needed. As the company grew, things began to get more complicated. People forgot what decisions had been made in the past, people were unclear what the ‘rules’ were, or if there were any, and some people felt frustrated at the simplicity of the ‘democratic’ process, which didn’t always fit all needs. Different processes were often needed for different types of decision, and sometimes it felt like the wrong process had been applied. Sometimes things were done without following a democratic process, out of habit, if nobody had questioned it yet.

We had a couple of ‘bad’ experiences where people felt things hadn’t gone smoothly, emotions ran high, and some things felt a bit unjust. We weren’t sure we were truly being as democratic as we all said we were.

So, as a test case, we brought in fellow WorldBlu members Future Considerations to act as external facilitators, for a big decision about paternity pay. This was quite contentious because we didn’t yet offer any other benefits above statutory to most employees, including maternity pay.

So, lover of documenting and processes that I am (I am a project manager you know…), with a passion for democracy, I decided to document our new decision making process flow chart, which was the output from the facilitated event. But it was long, and looked intimidating, so nobody used it. This is what it looked like.

So, to increase accessibility I turned it into an interactive, clickable app, which looks best on a mobile but is OK in a normal web browser.

You can check it out above, or at
http://labs.nixmc.com/~beth/decisionmaking/

And the code is available at
https://github.com/nixmc/decisionmaking

That means anyone can grab the code, change it, and make it better. Please share your versions!

Do let us know if you’re doing something similar in your workplace, or if you’re planning on giving our democratic decision making process app a go there.

p.s. it was my first shot at using JQuery. I’m not a designer or a developer (any more) so bear with me on that!

Please comment on the original post at http://www.nixonmcinnes.co.uk/2012/05/29/app-for-democratic-decision-making-in-the-workplace/

Thanks!

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