Transparency in Your Company Culture is Important. Here’s Why.

I don’t know about you, but at points in my career I’ve found it difficult to keep my eye on the bigger picture. It’s all very well and good working hard on a project today, tomorrow, next week – but what’s it all for? What are we working towards?

I’ve worked in some really shitty atmospheres. I’ve sat in the stuffy Client Services department of an insurance company, begging to get a Twitter account up and running but being told that every single tweet would need to go through Legal and Compliance.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 10.10.02 AM

I’ve worked as the sole marketer for a bunch of egomaniacal nutjobs who’d ask me to set up personal Wikipedia pages for them every other week, despite me telling them that the pages would be deleted within 15 minutes because NO-ONE CARES that they were in a skiffle band in the ’70s. Literally no-one. Not even their own Mums. NOBODY.

I’ve worked in great places too – but would often find that the knowledge at the top was kept in the boardroom, behind closed doors. You’d hear whispers about the future, snippets of stories about strategy and future redundancies.

You’d do your work. Go home none the wiser. Look for another job.

Moving to Brandwatch, I was amazed at how transparent it is here.

On a day-to-day basis, we’ll know how how those who make those big business decisions really feel. I’m not just talking goals, targets, ambitions. I’m talking hopes, fears, passions. All the good stuff. All the stuff that really makes people tick.

My second day happened to fall on the day of the (then) bi-weekly company meeting. Information on how the company was shaping up, exactly where it was going and how we were all an integral part of it was relayed without a second thought. I was grateful. I knew what I was working towards.

Transparency in business is becoming more commonplace – and not just internally. With our social-sharing startup friends in San Fran, Buffer, recently publicly disclosing every single salary of their teams, they took transparency to another level.

After posting the salaries and exactly how they calculated them on their blog, they received double the amount of applications for the (small) amount of roles they were advertising, and some they weren’t.

CEO and co-founder of the site Joel Gascoigne knew it was a good move.

Buffer open salaries

The quality of the CVs that came to him following the disclosure jumped up a gear.

“The percent of people who were a good culture fit was a lot higher…it scares the right people away” he stated in an interview shortly after the post went live. “We’ve never been able to find great people this quickly in the past.”

Good candidates appreciate authenticity and transparency. We can see that. Being part of a company that values this is a great thing.

I love it when knowledge is shared around – not kept, protected as though by sharing your knowledge and skills someone will knock you from your top spot. I love learning from those around me who impart what they know freely and honestly.

Last week I spent an hour watching a video our CEO, Giles, shot for Silicon Real where he was interviewed about how Brandwatch started, where it’s going and the journey in-between – the difficulties and great benefits of launching in America and the great things he’s learned in the 7 years since the company was founded.

Want to know how he came up with the Twitter handle @joodoo9? That’s in there too. It’s cute.

It reminded me that today, I’ll do great work, being mindful of what I’m doing it for. Where I fit in. How I can make a difference. Being grateful I’m not having to spend half my day creating pointless Wiki pages. Yay!