WorldBlu officially recognizes Boost New Media as a democratic workplace

By Kirstin

13 April 2012 (Last updated 24 April 2020)

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We’re very pleased to announce that Boost New Media has been named as one of only 48 companies who are now WorldBlu certified as a democratic workplace.

“People want freedom rather than fear in the workplace,” comments WorldBlu Founder and CEO, Traci Fenton. “WorldBlu-certified organizations model how democracy in the workplace unleashes human potential and builds highly successful organizations that change the world for the better.”

We became eligible for a spot on the WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ when every employee completed a WorldBlu assessment. This assessment evaluated our company’s practice against the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy™.

Nathan Donaldson, our Managing Director and founding owner is a big believer in the principles of a democratic workplace. Nathan believes that the more employees are asked to input on the strategic direction of the company the more engaged they become. As a result Boost has happier employees which in turn has resulted in a low staff turnover rate.

Becoming a democratic workplace

Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to become a democratic workplace:

Yearly strategic planning meetings

Once a year we devote half a day to strategic planning. The entire company sits in a meeting room and workshop ideas for goals for the coming year. Everyone contributes and we all get to vote on the ideas we’d most like to commit to. We then decide who should drive the tasks associated with each goal and when they should be done by. We all agree on our shared goals as a company.

Quarterly planning retrospectives

To ensure we’re on track with our goals and to capture any concerns we hold a planning retrospective quarterly. This allows us to track progress and address any concerns arising.

An ideas and questions board

Our ideas and questions board is located in our kitchen. This means everyone has easy access and opportunity to make suggestions about any aspects of the company. The current categories are tools, processes and goals. We’re encouraged to contribute any ideas we might have for improvements or changes by post it note.

Boost strategy scrum

Although not everyone is involved in the day to day tasks associated with Boost’s strategic direction, we do run this work by scrum. This means that we display all tasks on a scrum board. As a result, everyone can see the status of tasks (not started, in progress and completed). Essentially, all strategic work is transparently displayed to anyone who is interested. We find that the underlying principles of Agile work well with the aspiration to be a democratic company.

Group interviews of prospective employees

Our hiring process is another area where employees are invited to get involved. The candidate is initially interviewed by the Managing Director and the General Manager. If they feel they would like the candidate to progress further the team are asked to come to a meeting room and meet the candidate. We’re all encouraged to ask the candidate questions. Then, once the interview is over, we’re asked for our thoughts on the candidate.  This means that the whole team have met and agreed that every new employee will be a good fit for our company.

Happier and more productive

We’re delighted to be recognised by WorldBlu as New Zealand’s first certified democratic workplace. We’ve found that using democratic principles results in happier and more productive employees who feel more engaged and motivated.

Further reading

In 2018 Boost won a WorldBlu Top Practice award for our Culture Posters initiative — Employee engagement: helping the team create company culture

In 2019, we won the Team Gold award for our democratic, freedom-centred HR approach — Award for “the best place to work in New Zealand”

Our plans to embed and develop our freedom-centred culture — Boost 2026: maximising our future impact

InfoQ interview with Boost CEO Nathan Donaldson — Building a Freedom-centered organisation

A freedom-centred workplace during the COVID-19 crisis — Connecting the team when we’re working from home

Boost’s unique culture in the media:

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