What Information Can (and Should) be Transparent in a Distributed Company?
The magic of remote work is demystified as virtual teams reveal all their secrets
Radical transparency has been a buzzy topic lately. After all, giving unlimited access to an entire staff without distinguishing levels of clearance contradicts decades (perhaps centuries) of management habits. Because if knowledge is power, then having more knowledge gives a manager more professional power, right? Well, it’s easy to see how that mentality is becoming outdated amidst the future of work revolution.
Here in the world of remote work, we know that open communication and trust are keys to success in a distributed work model. So, we’re already operating in environments that lend themselves well to informational accessibility. In fact, you may have heard of many distributed companies showing off their bravery with these metrics open to their entire full-time workforce:
- Employee Salaries
- Client Feedback
- Customer Service Requests
But some distributed companies are taking the concept to a whole new, radical level by adding these to the list:
- Accounts Payable/Receivable
- Employee Complaints
- Project Statuses
- Business Development Funnel
- Performance Reviews
- Internal Promotions & Accolades
- Research and Development Ideas
It’s easy to imagine how sharing this level of information could go very, very wrong. But what if it went very, very well? Many brands who are embracing transparency are seeing significant results in their workforce such as lengthened employee tenure, increased productivity and output, and faster sales conversions. Don’t believe us? Just read these testimonials from team members at Axelerant, a company that has intentionally embraced extreme transparency in their culture:
“In an open culture, by default, people have a stake in what the company is doing, where it wants to go and how it manages its people. In such a situation, reward is in line with effort and achievement, there is little contention to whether or not a person deserves the reward.” – Tsega
“Salary transparency is a good way a company can be open about how it operates and establish trust with its employees, as it trusts them to be mature enough to take in the information in a positive manner. It is also a great gesture towards showing that there is no bias among minorities or gender or other groups being made, and your value to the organisation is based on your expertise alone and what you bring to the table.” – Swarad
“I’ve worked at places where there is nearly zero transparency. Everyone working in such an environment feels left out, always ready to jump ship for the next bump in salary, extremely guarded not willing to share knowledge or valuable information, in battle-mode with HR and management and worst of all does as little as possible to get by with almost no commitment or loyalty to a greater cause!” – Tsega
“Salary transparency forces us to be honest with each other and ourselves of our true value to an organization.” – Michael
As liberating as transparent management may sound, committing to make the change may be more of a challenge than expected. This response from another Axelerant team member summarizes it best:
“Management has a lot more to do in open cultures. There would be conflicts, misunderstandings or even outright incompatibilities and everything needs to be dealt with openly. In my opinion, not everyone is ready for that!” -Tsega
So, the question is, are you ready for that? Are you, as a manager, prepared to accept the good, bad, and ugly sides of higher transparency in order to empower your team? At NomadCity 2018, Ankur Gupta, CEO of Axelerant, will be, well, transparent about his company’s radical transparency as he provides insights to attendees about this revolutionary style of management. If you have any questions or concerns about making your company’s information more accessible, you won’t want to miss his presentation.