Those who live in glass houses can’t get jealous.
When you walk into my team area you’ll see numbers everywhere. We collaborate over whiteboards in open areas to showcase our ideas not only to our immediate team but to encourage collaboration with people who may be passing by. You’ll see numbers on spreadsheets laid across desks as analysts pour over numbers to steer us to our next record quarterly sales growth. You’ll see the number of customers served on an automatic ticker, constantly going up. But the most important number that you’ll see in our workspace is on the walls next to our desks. It’s our salaries.
Mine is on the glass wall facing outward to our entire workspace. Each of my team members opted to follow my example and post theirs as well.
Why would we opt to go against decades of tradition in remaining tight-lipped about the money we earn? It’s no secret that ours are well paying jobs. It’s no secret that executives earn high salaries. I pioneered this tactic with some of my earlier teams as a radical departure against outdated company mores. If we’re going to disrupt industries left and right, there’s no reason corporate culture should be exempt from this process.
The results were immediate and more far reaching than I could have ever hoped. When people have visibility into team salary it provides a benchmark for work quality and dedication. I’ve been in so many meetings where we review projects and I can immediately read people’s faces and know they’re thinking to themselves, “This is why you’re paid at that level.” It has also provided a challenge for personal development. Countless times I’ve been in one-on-ones with my direct reports and had them express that they can produce better for what their team is being paid. This radical transparency is the rising tide that raises all boats.
If we are truly going to be the force that disrupts decades old, stagnant industries we need to set a new standard of how we form our conversations about salaries. The discrepancies allow team members to think about why they may not be earning as much, and raise questions about what kind of work will get them to the next level. Showing my salary lets my team know that I’m not ashamed of my market value and am willing to discuss what it takes to make it to the top. It takes a village to satisfy customers, but that village can’t be hiding behind opaque walls. My glass village is the beacon on the hill leading the way for the future of business culture.