Managing in an Environment of Full Disclosure

Posted on June 11, 2012.

Wouldn’t you like to work for a company called Namaste Solar?  I envision employees in a constant state of peace and contentment. At Namaste Solar, they have full salary disclosure and an egalitarian voting system. That’s blasphemy in corporate America, but let’s think about what might happen.

  1. Favoritism would be all but eliminated. If everyone knew everyone’s salary, you’d be forced to pay people based on the job description and experience level.  So singling out anyone for special treatment would be open for public scrutiny.  Gee, maybe women would actually make the same as their male counterparts.
  2. Stupid new policies and procedures couldn’t be implemented. How many times have you seen new procedures implemented with zero input from the people that have to actually execute?  If everyone had a vote on any new policies and such, you’d get instant buy-in. More importantly, the people that are most impacted have a say in what needs to be done, so fewer implementation errors and backpedalling.
  3. You create a sustainable culture.  An open, honest, egalitarian workplace is not for everyone. So if you’re going to work at a place like Namaste Solar, you need to embrace their culture.   Having all of your employees walking the walk and talking the talk will ensure that your culture stays intact.  And since culture has so much to do with hiring and retaining the right fit, your turnover should go way down.

Understandably, not everyone is fortunate enough to work in a place like Namaste Solar.  Of course, if you’re an owner, you have the power to transform your business. But as a manager, you’re limited. That said, think about what you might do differently if a) there was full disclosure and b) everyone had a vote.  It just might just change your decisions.