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The College of Animal Welfare

Workplace democracy
Workplace democracy

How you can implement workplace democracy in your practice


Most, if not all, of us will be aware of what democracy is in the political sense. But how much have you heard about workplace democracy?

What is workplace democracy?

Workplace democracy is when democratic methods are implemented in the workplace. This can involve anything from voting and surveys, to debates and suggestion boxes. How you apply this all depends on the size and type of organisation you’re working in – it’s about finding a way that works for your company.

How can I implement this in practice?

Working in a veterinary practice can be challenging. A combination of long, unsociable hours and being on your feet most of the day can really wear you out. So if you’re looking for ways to improve workplace culture and morale in your practice, take a look at some of the simple steps you can take to shift to a more democratic workplace. Or, if you don’t think it would be an easy change, try introducing one method at a time.

Encourage input from everyone

One democratic method you can bring into your practice is encouraging everyone to share their input. For this to be effective, your team must first feel that their opinions and ideas are valued. You can do this by:

  • Regular questionnaires/surveys
  • Voting when making team decisions
  • Asking if anyone can think of a better way for a task to be completed
  • Asking a colleagues’ opinion directly rather than leaving questions open
  • Suggestion boxes for those who would rather give their input anonymously

Speak to your team

Opening up a dialogue with your team (doesn’t always have to be work related) helps to show them that they can come to you if they have any queries or suggestions. When in a management position, you want any issues to be brought to your attention straight away. So, making sure your team feel comfortable bringing things to you can speed up this process.

Again, this links back to ensuring your team feel that their opinion is listened to. Although it may seem simple, opening up a dialogue can improve communication across your whole team.

Delegate tasks

Delegating tasks (where possible) to other members of your team shows them that you trust them to do a good job. Not only that but it gives them a chance to demonstrate their capabilities to you, and can relieve tasks from your workload in the future.

Recognise individual performance

Workplace democracy also involves giving your team feedback, not just the other way round. So, if you have noticed someone doing a good job, recognise this and let them know. Regularly acknowledging your team’s performance helps to keep them motivated and engaged at work, so why not give it a try?

Did you know democracy is one of the British Values? Find out more about how British Values are promoted at The College of Animal Welfare here.