Most communicators would agree that we are moving towards an era of greater transparency. The dwindling trust in leaders and in institutions, means that those organisations which are open about their working practices are ultimately more likely to be successful.
It’s a wonderfully simple idea… which is easy to support. But how far would you take it?
Would you share how much you earn with all of your colleagues for example? And would you be open to a debate about redistributing those salaries?
That is exactly the experiment conducted in the “Show me your money” programme on Channel 4 (UK) on Wednesday. And this was not conducted in a lab… this was a real-life experiment conducted with real employees at Pimlico Plumbers (for non-UK readers… yes that is a real organisation not something from the UK version of The Office).
The programme provided fascinating insights on human behaviour. It surfaced a series of long-held resentments about the respective roles played by people across the organisation. At one level it brought people together. It helped people improve their understanding of what their colleagues do.
But did it improve morale? Did it change behaviour? Did it increase trust?
In my view it certainly explored the competing rights of fairness and privacy. Both of which are rights I hold dear. But which should take precedence?
Do you really have the right to know what your colleagues earn? And will that level of transparency make it a better workplace?
It’s a fascinating debate. And frankly I won’t be revealing what I earn just yet. Maybe I’m not as much of an advocate for openness and transparency as I first thought.