Becoming More Transparent

Transparency in business is steadily becoming common practice. Businesses currently have a decision to make, they can keep those doors closed, or let it all hang out. Globalization, social media and the advent of sites like GlassDoor have made it virtually impossible for companies to keep their secrets. Information is so easy to share and access that very little is left to the imagination. Recently, organizations have been proactive about sharing their information. The benefits of transparency seem to be catching on, as more and more business adopt these practices.

Transparency as Motivation

Forbes has dubbed Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, the president in the world of transparency . This is one leader that has fully embraced transparent practices. Fishkin actually posted his own performance review for the world to see. SEOmoz has also made their funding decks open to the public. They’re pretty much an open book over at SEOmoz. Fishkin pushes for “radical” transparency. He believes that businesses need to share failures and successes in order to grow. SEOmoz’s Director of Talent Acquisitions says, “Pulling back the curtain as a company, it makes you accountable.” They have decided to use transparency as a driving force behind their growth. Here is a pretty inspiring short video from SEOmoz on their radical transparency practices . Should we know that Fishkin’s bank account has increased by about $25K? Well, we do.

Pay Transparency

goBrandgo! is another company that tries to be a leader in the transparency movement. This company posts their financials on the wall of their office. They make profit, cash flow, revenue, cash account balances, credit card balances, lines of credit, expenses, and even payroll public. They also post these numbers from the previous year. Owner, Brandon Dempsey believes that keeping employees, partners and clients in the know is vital. He wants everyone to know exactly where the company stands.

Transparency Outside of the Box

It is no secret that Molding Box hires ex-cons . Russell Bloss, owner of Molding Box and former bank robber, says, “You can be responsible for who you are. You don’t just impact your own life but you impact the people around you. We have an obligation to ourselves, our family and our community to make the right choices. Bloss doesn’t hide the fact that several of his employees are ex-cons, he promotes that fact. CEO Jordan Guernsey has hired about 80 ex-offenders in recent years. He has made it his mission to not only offer these people employment , but he believes that through transparency he can help change the stigma of hiring them.

The Risks of Transparency

Transparency in business can do wonders for an employer brand as well as company culture, but companies are taking some risks when they put it all out there for the world to see. For instance, sharing all of this information can damage your competitive advantage . And while transparency shows the world when the numbers are up, it also shows the world when the numbers are down. Finding investors can be tough when a company makes it known that they’re on the decline. While business are taking a risk by going the way of transparency, it still seems the benefits outweigh these risks.

Anne Michelsen, an expert Corner Contributor says, “If you’re going to be naked, you might as well strip on your own terms.” Transparency in business is just smart. It turns out, clients and employees alike, love it when their company cuts the bull and gets real. Clients and customers tend to back up their companies when times are tough. And employees are empowered and engaged by their inclusion in company information.

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