What difference does it make whether or not you know your co-workers’ salaries? Why should everyone see all of the company’s employees’ performance data? Or why do your customers need to know how your products are made?

Actually, this kind of openness is very significant, and the trend is growing in many industries. It is important in work life, but it is also important in the communication between companies, retailers, and consumers.

It is also a good way for startups to stand out and be positively different to bigger companies: more fresh and agile organisational structure makes it easier to be honest and transparent about the production process or company’s actions. For example, a clothing brand Everlane makes their pricing and production cost visible for the customers and One Degree Organic Foods helps consumers to track all the ingredients in their products by using QR codes.

Reviewing companies (by the customers or the employees) is an important branch of this trend, an easy and visible way to achieve transparency. Consumers see third-party websites equally important source for information. For instance, nearly 40% trusts third-party websites the most when it comes to food companies’ ethicality. The possibility to instantly review the service has been in the core of some of the success stories of the past years, including Uber and Airbnb.

1530 Arctic Transparency picture

The effects for startups are positive. Openness and transparency are vital in building a strong brand. It can underline the responsibility and ethical choices made by your company, or it could make your customers feel closer and more familiar with your company.

The problem in this world is not that there isn’t enough information – the problem is that it’s often hard to understand or difficult to find. For good transparency, it is most important to:

  • Provide sufficient information
  • Design the information so that it is truly easy to find and understand
  • Be honest about the positive and also possible negative effects and aspects of your company’s products and services

The trend has been going strong for a long time now, and it just keeps getting new layers. By now, people are so accustomed to a certain level of transparency that they also expect it from companies: being secretive isn’t attractive. It is no longer optional. The only question is if your company does it right.

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This article is written by Miia Outinen, Markus Keränen and Murray Dick from 15/30 [source: www.1530.fi]– a research company and transformation agency which predicts industry specific trends globally and helps its clients to create awesome business concepts. 15/3s Trend Manuals [source: http://www.1530trendit.info ] provide valuable insight to businesses and guide them to future-proof growth. The Helsinki-based 15/30 shares their insights of important business trends at ArcticStartup.

Source for the information in the graph: http://www.statista.com/statistics/319822/uk-citizens- opinion-of-business-transparency/