Transparency and Proximity: Two Fundamental Pillars for Mobilization

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By Joanie Ross
Director, Culture and Recruitment

Our mission is to build the greatest team, the best workplace, and a better world. For us, a great team can trust and count on each other. We believe that this confidence is mainly acquired through transparent communication, something we’ve been striving to do since day 1.

I say “strive” because sharing information within a company isn’t always easy. Too often, barriers separate management from other team members. We break down these barriers by questioning the reasons pushing us to be transparent and by finding the most effective tools to share information. 

With this in mind, here are the reasons why transparency is important to us, the many benefits we see in it, and how it is applied daily and in times of crisis.

More Informed, More United

If the people we hire match our values, energy, curiosity and open-mindedness, it should come as no surprise that they want to understand how we do things and why. You have to trust your team and the team has to trust the company it works for. A great sign of trust is the communication of both the direction and goals of the business, all the while asking people to contribute towards achieving these goals. It’s much easier to reach a goal if we know the target, and to find a solution if we know the problem. We’ve all been stuck on a problem for hours, working hard to find a solution, finally resigning and asking for help. The result? A colleague finds a quick fix. This is exactly what we’re trying to replicate on a larger scale. For example, when a project suddenly takes an unexpected turn, we share the situation with the team to better overcome it together. It is always fascinating to see how people roll up their sleeves and see the ideas that emerge from organizational efficiency through this very collaboration.

The benefits are tangible and numerous; open and frank communication, an increase in the feeling of belonging, and the mobilization of company resources and people. We appreciate the team’s involvement when overcoming a problem which is why we also have the habit of sharing and celebrating the company’s successes altogether, both for big and small wins. Whether it is to thank a colleague for their extraordinary contribution to a project, congratulate the team that has just won a pitch, applaud each participant who helped during the reorganization of the office; every good move is worth sharing.

Since transparency is part of our DNA, it permeates in all of our relationships. There are numerous times that a customer thanked us for having challenged a decision concerning the evolution of their product. This transparency and authenticity enables new clients and team members to see the real Mirego, ensuring that their reality meets or exceeds expectations.

Beyond Transparency; Frequency

Once we’ve established that transparency has benefits, how does it work on a daily basis? What information do we transmit? Be careful, being transparent doesn’t mean communicating EVERYTHING. What do we share and how do we share it?

To promote access to information for all, we’ve created rituals that promote transparency. This, above all, allows us to create pretexts and occasions where everyone can exchange their thoughts freely, to give the opportunity to ask questions and share the answers when they’re relevant to all. 

Announcements

Like many, Slack is part of our daily communication tools. We use the #general channel to reach everyone quickly for  multiple reasons: announcements such as the confirmation of a new project, the addition of a new team benefit, or the hiring of a new colleague. It allows us to get immediate reactions from people, answer questions in real-time and celebrate as a team!

Biweekly Meetings

Once every two weeks, the whole team synchronizes for meetings called TGIMs (Thank God it’s Monday). We use this opportunity to put a face on new team members, make announcements that need to be detailed, but most importantly share knowledge and information. It truly is the perfect meeting to talk about the results of past surveys, explain why we’re promoting the use of  a new open-source technology, present a new tool tested by the design team or even educate people about stress management.

Lunch & Updates

Each Winterfest (our “Christmas party”), we present a review of the year. This annual initiative was so popular that it became a quarterly event. We wanted to increase the frequency of discussions between management and the entire team over a congenial meal. Lunch & Updates give us an opportunity to take a more frequent look at the company objectives, but also to take the time to explain the elements that caused a direction change in the upcoming months. Also, during each Lunch & Updates, we give the team the opportunity to ask their questions. Whether it’s about salary reviews, office expansion or the next happy hour activity, all questions are answered.

Transparency in Times of Crisis

While it’s important to communicate in normal times, it becomes even more important in times of crisis or uncertainty. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we see this more than ever. Whether everything is well or not, your team just wants to know what’s going on. Getting a true picture of the situation helps eliminate misunderstandings, clarifies decisions taken by managers, and reduces  anticipation of the worst, which greatly helps reduce stress and uncertainty for all.

To stay close to the team, we’ve chosen to adapt and increase the frequency of our communications by condensing the two initiatives described above, TGIM and Lunch & Updates, into a weekly Team Update. These meetings enable us to discuss the current situation, ask questions directly in an open forum, and understand the impact these peculiar circumstances have on the company and each individual.

No matter what role we play in the business, no one knows everything, and no one can predict the future, but it is better to face the situation than to ignore it. Even if we’re not perfect, we’ve never had as many good comments on our transparency as at this moment of uncertainty.

The Balancing Act

Transparency is integral to our culture as  a way to share and inspire. It would be wrong to say that transparency doesn’t come with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to confidentiality. For us, the benefit outweighs the risk as the risk is calculated. We’re always winners in taking this chance because the balance struck between transparency and confidentiality has been nothing but positive. We noticed an increase in the sense of belonging, a stronger mobilization of the team, even a better understanding of the organization and its environment. The team wants to be invested in the long term because they’re proud in contributing to the company’s success, proud to be a part of an exceptional and honest team, and ultimately proud to work at Mirego.