31 Reasons Why Your Startup Should Choose a Transparent Company Culture
Transparency is always on my mind, especially after a recent conversation with an internal communications leader at 2000+ person company. This topic is what brought me binging 20 articles, mostly from culture blog of Buffer...
Buffer made news in 2013 when it shared its salary algorithm and all employee salaries publicly. A ‘stunt’ used to showcase their company’s commitment to transparency and employee happiness. The result being an increase to 4000 inbound applications that month.
Their values heavily mimic my own, but not even all my like-minded friends agree with this level of transparency. The thing I like the most about these articles is they take a strong opinion. Just read these quotes:
“There are significant advantages to productivity, trust, culture, and morale when you embrace transparency.” [article]
“what gets measured, gets managed” [article]
“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance. – Verna Myers, diversity and inclusion expert” [article]
“Algorithms and products are not neutral.” [article]
"Becoming a manager is not a promotion, it is a career change." [article]
What Buffer Tells us of Transparency:
Buffer is not a huge company with unlimited resources
They provide all this transparency and thoughtful culture with just 85 people
Transparency encourages feedback, builds trust, helps you innovate at scale and promotes justice.
Buffer believes in diversity, inclusion, feedback and transparency because its right, but has many business reasons as well.
The counterfactual “The dark side of transparency” article identifies transparency risks of decision paralysis, open compensation and decreased innovation.
I think these worries are mitigated in the buffer articles.
How to Build Great Culture
All companies should have some way to track employee satisfaction.
As said above, what is measured is managed. If you don’t track satisfaction, your company is not valuing it.
Values work when we live them every day and are a part of our language.
A company only has a chance to live their values if leadership uses value-terms in everyday communication
Have a set all hands agenda: 1 hour with a physical activity break midway and end with small break out groups.
Anything longer or less focused is not effective
Google found that the most successful teams had one surprising thing in common: high levels of trust.
Great managers create empowerment, remove roadblocks, supporting career growth, fit employees work into the big picture and help everyone navigate company changes [article]
Buffer once tried out a management-less organization strategy but it took a lot more work in collaboration and employees weren’t feeling as fulfilled
Tips and Tricks on accommodating remote workforce:
When adding remote workers it becomes more important to be intentional in your communications. Such as defining goals and outputs. [article]
Remote work options help talent acquisition and retention
1:1s, Retreats, common values and prioritizing relationships is essential to build company culture
It is important for remote employees to create boundaries since can always be someone in the middle of their workday and your office might be in your home
Build in daily chatter where you actually talk with people on your team outside of written communication
Use retreats to goal set, vision plan and rapidly collaborate every six months for one whole week to set your team up for long term success. [article]
Main benefits are flexible schedule (40% ) and working from any location (30%)
Biggest struggles are unplugging (22%), loneliness (19%) and collaboration (17%)
44% of respondents worked while traveling, while majority only take 2-3 weeks vacation
Companies typically do not pay for the costs of working from home (75%)