The Future of HR, part 26: Total Transparency

Transparency is in the air. Via I received several links, such as: “Why Transparency is your biggest untapped competitive advantage‘ (on the Buffer company), ‘Why radical transparency is good business‘ (an 2012 HBR article) and ‘How Google sets goals‘, where I learned that at Google the quarterly OKR’s (Objectives and Key Result areas) of all staff are visible to everybody in the company. How far would I be willing to go (at this moment)? Transparency as a concept is easy to discuss, it becomes somewhat more difficult when I apply it to myself. My first steps in using Yammer as a collaboration tool in the last months, has forced me to think more carefully about transparency. Yammer certainly helps me to become more transparent, and to share more with a broader group of people. I am afraid the end is not in sight yet… Six areas I considered.

  1. My Objectives and Key Result areas for the year and the coming quarter. Happy to share these with my team and direct colleagues. Would be hesitant to share with everybody in the organization, but if pushed I would not resist, I think. First step is that I would have to phrase my objectives and targeted key results better, and if this is forced by more transparency, this is good.
  2. My Personal Development Plan. Yes, willing to share, also with a broader audience. The main elements I am currently working on: – “Letting go/ go with the flow”. – Connected to one: more delegation – Plan better and communicate and share my plans better (work to be done…).
  3. My remuneration. Very hesitant. The remuneration of my boss and his colleagues in the Executive Board are published annually in the Annual Report. Law requires this. It helps somewhat for the image of our company. So why would I be hesitant to share mine? I can think of many reasons, but bottom line it is connected to my Dutch Calvinistic roots: even if you have money, you stay modest and you do not brag about it.
  4. My performance review and my 360-evaluation. I am in favor of more transparent performance reviews. I would be happy for my bosses, peers and team members to rate my performance and to publish this on the company intranet.
  5. My Plans for the coming week and what I did last week. As long as it does not contain information that helps competitors, does not expose people ( e.g. applicants), and does not create risks (e.g. when I am home/ not home), I have no issue. It is probably more relevant to communicate my priorities than what I exactly do (‘being in meetings’  describes most of my activities adequately). Last week I played golf for a day with colleagues, celebrating (if that is the right word…) the retirement of one of our senior managers. Happy to share, although not very informative, only for people who know I cannot play (see photo above to prove the point).
  6. My fears and doubts. Mmm. What would it help to share my fears and doubts (if any?). Professional fears and doubts: no issue, this is what this blog is partly about. More personal? I don’t know, maybe a next time when I am really in desperate need of a subject.

See also: ‘My life on Twitter, part 3: How much Privacy do I need?’

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