The last 10 years have been full of innovation at a blistering speed, changing the way humans communicate shop and learn. However, Buffer, a social media management software company has decided to change the way we view privacy by embracing a policy of extreme transparency.
Buffer Chief Operations Officer, Leo Widrich and rest of the company’s management has allowed for the public to access their software source code, a list of their product improvements, and their internal revenue streams.
But in a more industry shaking manner, they have made public all salaries within the company as well as equity stakes.
Buffer shifting the Status Quo on Public Disclosure
In a recent episode of Bullish hosted by Alex Wilhelm of Techcruch, Widrich discusses the drastic impacts made within Buffer through this policy of transparency. The new levels of extreme transparency have been a hit within the company’s 25+ person staff and the flood of applicants.
Buffer COO Leo Widrich pictured left
Fortunately, Widrich, in speaking with Wilhelm, was conscious in not presenting his policy as a one size fits all solution for all other companies. According to Widrich, this transparency works for Buffer only because transparency and openness has always been an important part of the company’s culture.
And yet, one can only imagine the change that can be brought about with greater adoption of Buffer’s Transparency throughout the tech industry as well as others.
Beyond Facades with Less to Hide
Issues like pay and wage discrimination theoretically become virtual non-issues as management can no longer hide the compensation rates amongst employees of various demographics who have the same job responsibilities and/or titles.
Moreover, customer and investors alike can receive an understanding of where money goes within a company and where it does not go.
How Far Should/Can this Trend Go?
For many, the idea of others knowing how much money you receive is nerve racking, making one either a target of social envy for making too much or of disrespect for making too little.
Data in Company Compensations Open right up in Google Documents
Yet, what it absolutely does is give the public a very clear understanding of how equitable or inequitable their favorite brands and companies are in their treatment of employees.
As social media seeps deeper more into individual private lives and serves as an interactive information highway, I believe that the companies with something to hide will fight like heck against this policy becoming a norm.
But if these companies in fact lose that fight against greater corporate transparency, society will be better for it.
Medvis Jackson is a web designer at Hindsite, curator at Kulchah and avid cricket fan. You can follow him @medvisjackson for his random thoughts.