European democracy may go back to the Roman Empire. Still, countries such as England (Glorious Revolution) and France (French Revolution) also played a major role in forming European democracy.
The word “democracy” comes from the Greek and means “a political form of government by the people.” Direct democracy is when people directly vote on a decision.
Direct democracy is sometimes used in European countries and existed in Russia before Putin took power.
In a democracy, citizens exercise their political influence by electing representatives to political assemblies with the authority to make decisions on behalf of the citizens. Denmark is governed according to the representative form of democracy. The disadvantage is that people cannot directly govern the country, but indirect government occurs indirectly. In the end, of course, it is not the people who decide but the representatives. Under the current Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen (2019- ), several decisions were taken with her party (social democrats) and the supporting parties, where opposition parties were left out of influence.
Democracy exists, of course, as long as freedom of expression exists, but freedom of expression itself is limited in democratic states. The blockade and censorship can clearly confirm this on social media, but also in what is printed in newspapers and how much people are allowed to say. Danish democracy is a copy of the Belgian and Norwegian systems; the Danish Parliament, the government, and the courts. It is the parliament and the head of state that legislate, but it is the courts that execute the legislation. The problem is that when the majority and the head of state legislate, the courts execute the legislation that has been adopted. Therefore, several immigrants and refugees were expelled from Denmark, and Muslims were excluded from society. Ukrainians received special treatment compared to other refugees. The system let down many sick Danes, Denmark participated in several wars in the name of democracy, and the police were given extra powers. Germans fared better about state racism compared to Danes, but clearly, Germany and the French had their challenges.
Certainly, Palestinians also received special treatment in the old days. It was because the racist party, the Danish People’s Party, was without influence. I did not deny the racism of the social democrats when they suggested that refugees could be housed on an island in 2000 (Karen Jespersen). The racist party, the Danish People’s Party, was kept outside the community until the primary minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (2011–2015), came to power. She got the Danish People’s Party into the community. It was not democratic to keep the Danish People’s Party out of the community, but the problem is that racism is not an attitude and should not exist together with fascism and Nazism. Incitement to hatred and violence must be prohibited. Since more austerity was accepted by parliament and the social democrats adopted racism. Almost all parties have accepted racism and only a few fight against it. The main problem is that the violation of human rights is unacceptable, and even in the Danish constitution, it is stated that human freedom is inviolable.
I certainly remember when the Germans, Spiegel, compared Danes to Nazis in their newspaper. Of course, a democratic form of government does not guarantee a better life for everyone in society. Europe has had many dictators, from Adolf Hitler(1933–1945) to the Spanish Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1939–1975). Like many other countries, even though Denmark had a democracy, it was indirectly ruled by dictatorial kings. . Since the French Revolution in 1789, Europe had been characterized by democratic and national political currents, and Denmark was no exception. The social and political demands led the King to appoint the so-called Ministry of March in 1848. It was, of course, not because the King was interested in people having influence, but because he was afraid of a revolution. The same applied to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid, who in 1876 allowed the country’s first constitution as a form of democracy. It was not because the Sultan was interested in reforms but because he saw them as necessary to keep the throne. Everyone couldn’t vote at the beginning when democracy came into being in Denmark. Only men over 30 were allowed to vote, and the poor and idiots were excluded from society. Women were, of course, equal to criminals and fools who could not vote. Unfortunately, this legislation existed in several Middle Eastern countries as well. I can mention Iran, where women first got the right to vote under Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (1941-1979). The poor sold their votes; therefore, democracy did not fully exist. In Denmark, women were given the right to vote in 1908, but it was not until 1915 that they could run for the Parliamentary elections. Unfortunately, women are still fighting today for equality regarding pay and equality in the labor market. Unfortunately, Denmark has gone the opposite way as the focus has become less. France still lags far behind its patriarchal culture. Sweden did best with its socialist culture, which was opposed to Denmark’s individualism and conservatism. Until 1901, the King could directly appoint a government that did not have a majority behind it. Therefore, many Danes regard Christian IX of Denmark as a dictator. Denmark’s constitution has changed a lot since 1849. In the past, the King was not part of the Council of State together with the ministers. Today, the King, together with the Prime Minister and the ministers, is part of the Council of State. The King can also propose a law to the Parliament. The chairman of the parties writes down on a piece of paper which they point to as prime minister and sends their votes to the King, where the King then proclaims the prime minister. After the 1970s, globalism took over more of the world community, and nationalism became more vulnerable. This helped populism take over more in Europe when they found out that nationalism was a sore point. It pushed Europe towards a guided democracy. Countries such as Denmark have also made it more difficult for foreigners to buy property and land. A similar reaction took place in the Middle East as Western culture in its time became more dominant in Middle Eastern countries. The Middle East closed more, and hostility towards the West increased. Populism and extremism managed to take over power. Unfortunately, democracy died after the many coups d’etat Americans and Communists made in the Middle East. Democracy was already under challenge as some reactionary imams and religion had influenced society. Many extremists believe that Europe has imitated Islamic values. Why should our kings and statesmen imitate them? We fight neocolonialism. The well-known Islamic scholar Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838–1897) believed that democracy is taken from Islamic Shura ( الشوری ).
Shura was a democratic form of decision-making. A group was together to decide on a matter. Many countries in the Islamic world still use shura, and shura is part of their forms of government. Unfortunately, most people, especially minorities, are not involved in decisions. If a country wants to strengthen democracy, more associations and meeting places must be established.
Democracy is, of course, not about acceptance but tolerance. I don’t like you, but I will endure the pain. Unfortunately, not only Danes have become more intolerant, but also Germans and others. It’s not just about Muslims, Russians, or other people you don’t like. The war in Ukraine is yet another war that deals with nationalism, the struggle for resources, and globalism.
The Cyrus Cylinder is the background for human rights. In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon. But it was his next actions that marked a major advance for mankind. He freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality.
The act itself was perhaps political, like Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), who conquered Egypt for peace and liberation. But what came out of the action was a form of democracy. In contrast to this, the British treatment of blacks and slavery was very undemocratic. Although blacks were in the majority, they were the minority who had to be treated humanely.
In order to limit Greenland’s population and keep the country under control, Denmark used inhumane methods such as sterilization of women, just as the French in the old days raped women in Algeria and cracked down heavily on freedom fighters. Many African countries still use French currency today, which supports poverty and the colonization of Africa. I will not go further on arms sales and other inhuman acts in Africa and the Middle East.
During the Islamic expansion, many civilizations were destroyed. Fortunately, people had the opportunity to pay high taxes to Muslims and practice their own religion and traditions. Although the method was inhumane, it was still a form of democracy. Unfortunately, not all Muslim rulers were good at tolerance, and they ordered looting and massacres. The Romans were also not good at accepting Christian minorities and dumped democracy.
Of course, in Denmark, there is freedom of religion, but religious equality does not exist, and unlike in the USA, Christianity (Evangelical Lutheran) is supported by the state.
You would think the men had learned to live together after the Battle of Kadesh (1274 BC), which resulted in the first documented peace treaty battle in all of ancient history(Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty). Throughout history, man has fought for freedom and democracy, but unfortunately, we failed every time because of selfishness and intolerance.
Hamza Fazal is a reporter for The Hear UP. After graduating from the University of Abbottabad, Hamza got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. Hamza has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Hamza covers health and science for The Hear UP.
Great Resignation: How to beat Great Resignation with Employee Experience
The world was forever changed in late 2019 when the Coronavirus made its appearance. Countries shut down. Streets were empty. Companies held as best they could or were forced to close their doors. Many would believe that such an event would lead to employees wanting to hold on to their jobs. Typically, large numbers of resignations signify a good economy and abundant availability of jobs allowing people to follow passions instead of necessity.
Post-COVID employee experience is much different.
For two years, and some a bit more, people were forced to spend time alone, realigning the importance of human interaction, well-being, and happiness. This drive for more personal fulfilment, satisfaction, and growth stemmed The Great Resignation.
No longer were employees basing staying with jobs out of need or comfortability. Now they look for work-homelife balance, greater satisfaction and better employee experiences, or they will leave. So how do companies face this? How do they increase employee retention and improve employee engagement?
The secret is in employee experience.
Holistic Employee Experience
There are, of course, no quick fixes for the Great Resignation, small wins can motivate and drive longer-term goals for your organization. The Great Resignation—and COVID by extension—taught many employees that life meant so much more. That the daily grind working in offices with long commutes, stress, lack of rest or relaxation, and the hustle of strenuous work weeks while normal was not conducive to happiness and mental well-being.
But this shift can be used as a blueprint for better employee experience!
Companies who work on being human-centric in ideals, strategies, and decision-making can improve greatly their chances of stemming mass exodus. Post-covid employee experience is now the new golden standard, and it looks at taking a more comprehensive and holistic view of experiences.
How can you be more holistic and how does it help?
- Think beyond probationary periods – Your employees are more important than the first 30, 60, or 90 days of employment, and yet many companies stop professional development and training after these dates. Normalize career growth, evaluations, employee 360 reports, and feedback loops to keep learning and advancement in the scope of your employees. While doing this, you’re also keeping your strategies and Key Performance Indicators—KPIs—fresh as you go.
- Communication is key – Talk to your employees about what they need, want, desire, and what their ambitions may be. Learn your people like you want them to learn your company. With transparent and open communication, you are engaging with your employees and creating an environment of consistency, openness, and inclusion—aspects employees’ desire.
- Employee-centric Corporate Culture – It may seem like the best idea is to center your company culture around the company’s values, vision, and strategies, but this is only half the battle. Integrating employee experience into the fabric of company culture ensures the company is as focused on their employees’ happiness as their own. It creates a bond to grow engagement, which has an effect on employee satisfaction and experience. As these rates increase, so to can employee retention numbers and customer experiences.
- Life and work-balance Erasure – Should your employees have to ask for more work-life balance? No, they shouldn’t. When built directly into work environments or expectations, it becomes something standard instead of something to be sought after. Examples of this could be:
- Flex hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Work-from-home or hybrid offerings
- Expanded benefits to include mental health and free resources
- Altered work hour schedules
Rise of Human Experience
Human Experience is a viewpoint that blends aspects of customer experience with employee experience, important in a post-COVID world. Instead of viewing them as separate entities entirely, companies can connect metrics and measurements of both to view a more comprehensive experience. Employees are customers—or potential ones—and as such, so too can customers become employees. With this view, it refocuses employee experiences in direct answer to the needs stemming The Great Resignation.
Ways you can use CX strategies within EX:
- Employee Journey Mapping – Like in customer experience, companies can work on mapping journeys for positions within the company overall, building in professional development and growth from the outset. They can then alter these journeys through personalization when an employee fills that role.
- Monitoring metrics – connect goals, milestones, and trajectories with metric directly linked to KPIs. Think employee net promoter score (eNPS), employee experience (EX), employee satisfaction (ESAT), and employee engagement (EE), for example, as they can correlate with operational success as well as customer success with your organization.
- View of employees – view your employees with the importance you view your customers. You cannot survive without either, and just as you court customer loyalty for more profitable relationships, so to can employee relations boost revenue, growth, and expansion.
Remote and Hybrid Work
One of the lasting effects of COVID was the desire to work from home or have the flexibility to. According to Gallup, nearly half of full-time working Americans—45%—are still working remotely. White collar workers have even higher percentage, coming in at 70%. After the shutdown, many leaders were surprised to find employees still wanted to work remotely. The Pandemic exposed an internal need for conducive work environments and flexibility.
The office and all it entailed wasn’t as attractive as some leadership believed.
It was agile leadership who switched to maintaining remote or hybrid options who won out against competitors. Record job openings only further highlight how living is more important, and work can no longer be focused on only paying bills. Organizations who shift better with their employees retain talent better.
Remote work is not the only fix, but it does show how views of work’s place have vastly changed.
Act on Meaningful Feedback
Closing the loop between you and your employees is more important than ever before. Simply hearing them is not enough. Active, empathetic listening pair with actions on a consistent basis is the wining combination. Employees not only want to know they are heard but that their input is valued.
Regularly checking in with your employees, and not only attaching it to their performance, creates a culture of partnership.
Ways to gain meaningful feedback to inspire data-driven action:
- Employee 360 Review [LN1] [SP2] – not to be confused with an employee evaluation, the 360-degree review is a way for all employees to gain feedback from peers, subordinates, and managers to assist employee self-evaluation.
- Pulse checks – a powerful anonymous survey tool. Pulse checks are in between annual reviews and keep the feedback coming for HR initiatives, but it can also inform business strategies that are employee-focused as well.
- Surveys – From satisfaction to engagement, the best thing you can do is ask your employees. Working from assumptions can lead you down costly mistakes. By asking directly you can get their true opinions—think of using anonymity to influence candid responses.
The biggest takeaway from this is: employee experiences is an important part of operational success. The evolution of its importance and what it means cannot be discounted. Doing so can led to higher employee turnover rates and you won’t retain your best talent. As employee experience continues to change, the forward-thinking companies with innovative leadership will make it to the top.
[LN1]Would it be okay to tag our template here?
Yes, we can [SP2]
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]