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Chroma again makes ‘List of Most Democratic Workplaces’

first_imgChroma Technology Corp,For the third straight year, Chroma Technology, a  growing employee-owned company in Rockingham, has made WorldBlu’s global “List of Most Democratic Workplaces.””We don’t use organizational democracy as a tool,” said Chroma cofounder and president Paul Millman. “It is who we are.”Chroma was one of 52 international companies named to this prestigious list on April 12. Other well-known companies were Groupon, Zappos.com, HCL Technologies and WD-40.Chroma manufactures optical microscope filters and coatings for laboratories all over the world. It has sales offices in Germany and, as of March, in China. Its 2010 sales were $19.6 million. It employs 90 people.  In 2009 and 2010, it was on Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies.”We often compare how many employees we have with our closest competitors,” Millman said. “We always compare favorably in that we have substantially fewer employees producing equal or greater sales volume. We accomplish this, in part by pushing decision making to the work floor. We expect our employee owners to take on many of the tasks that traditional management does at other companies. We find that employee-ownership and workplace democracy allows us to be more efficient and more productive.”Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, India, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Malaysia made WorldBlu’s list from a diversity of industries, including aerospace, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, services and energy. The companies range in size from five to over 80,000 employees and represent over $15 billion in combined annual revenue.The standard for certification is high, and requires a large number of employees to complete a survey evaluating their organization’s practice of ten democratic principles, such as transparency, dialogue and listening, integrity, accountability and choice on a leadership, individual, and systems and processes level.WorldBlu developed the survey tool based on a decade of research into what makes a world-class democratic organization. Not all organizations that apply receive certification.At Chroma, democracy is an ongoing practice, Millman said.”Chroma is constantly in the process of devising and refining organizational structures,” Millman said. “This process sometimes lags. We sometimes find our longer term employees complaining about the changes. There is a dynamic tension that can either be constructive or destructive. Managing that dynamic is the function of leadership.”last_img

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