The core principle of a democracy is that every person in the organization has equal rights. In traditional organizations, this is hard to implement because most of the rights are vested in the hands of the shareholders. Infact the late 18th and 19th centuries were filled with exploitative capitalism and the gradual rise of employee rights, which were restricted to fair wages, safe workplaces and limits on working hours. The movement rarely went into how work was allocated or distributed in the company. This was typically a "management" responsibility.
While shareholders continue to own the assets and brand, we believe there is a model where employees (we hate using the word "employees" but makes sense in this discussion of capital and labour) can also be given a lot more rights over their work. Our hypothesis is that this will lead to better outcomes for both the shareholders and the employees.
At Frappe we believe that the best work happens when people have a say in their work, both the content and the choice of people they like to work with (this has to of course be mutual).
Along with rights, there are also a set of responsibilites that drive the people at Frappe towards a common goals. An organization exists because it fills a need of the society and it is the responsibility of every member to ensure that the primary goals of the organization are fulfilled. Frappe also stands for a set of values like excellence and transparency, which then becomes the responsibility of each team member.
Here is the first version of the Rights Bill
Frappe Rights and Responsibilities
The following fundamental rights are adopted by Frappe keeping in mind the values of liberty, excellence and democracy.
- The right to choose my work
- The right to choose my team
- The right to choose my working hours and place
- The right to as much autonomy as possible
- The right to participate in team governance via an equal vote
- The right to express myself in a public forum without any fear of retribution
- Responsibility to represent the core values of Frappe
- Responsibility to contribute to the team to meet its goals and deliverables to internal or external customers
- Responsibility to be honest and transparent
- Responsibility to be fair to all members to the team and treat them with dignity (also guaranteed by the constitution)
- Responsibility to call out any injustice in the team
- Responsibility to follow standards, brand and technology guidelines set by the team
Objections and Discussion
The discussion in adoption of the rights revolved around the question, if people can choose their work, then will that go against fulfilling customer expectations? What if there are jobs that nobody wants to do? In the end the rights are also balanced with the responsibilities, and also we accept that these rights may come at some cost.
- Jobs that no one wants to do must be redesigned in a way they are more fulfilling, or become the responsibility of everyone, or maybe outsourced.
- People wanting to switch roles must give a notice (2 months) and a minimum commitment (6 months) for their new role to ensure some stability.
- Everyone must keep some time aside for variable workload. Roles must be designed in a way that they can handle variable workload.