Fyresite’s a little unusual. Most companies have a strong corporate hierarchy: the people at the top get all the information and make all the decisions. But as tech enthusiasts and crypto nerds, Fyresite has learned the value of transparency and low power distance. Our employees make memes and emojis of management, everyone mingles and shares information as needed, and the C-suite even shares revenue and profit details during monthly meetings to keep the team informed.
It’s not usual for companies to be so transparent, and it’s not always easy, but it’s a huge part of our agency’s identity. Here’s how we built this uniquely open culture, how it makes our business better, and how you can do the same.
Benefits of transparency
Secrecy may be in-vogue, but transparency has lots of measurable benefits for companies.
Transparency will . . .
- build trust within a company
- build trust with a community or investor
- empower team members to give honest feedback
- break down barriers between innovative ideas
- encourage diversity, inclusivity, and fair workplace practices
- streamline internal processes
- motivate your employees
- foster a healthier company culture
- reveal your company’s strengths and opportunities for improvement
- possibly produce some good memes
Transparency will NOT . . .
- kill your company
- destroy your company’s order
- discourage employees from doing their job
- breed negativity in the workplace
- slow down operations
- make people respect you less
- scare away investors or customers
The results are clear: transparent companies make life easier for employees, for customers, and for business leaders. Disagree? We’ve been transparent from day one, and it helps us every day.
How we became transparent
Fyresite’s unusually-high transparency stemmed largely from our company culture. From the very beginning, Fyresite has embraced memes, light banter, and all-around clowning. Our slack alone has over 400 custom emojis, many featuring employees.
We make awesome stuff, but we have fun while we do it.
Because our culture is so open and friendly, employees have naturally felt more comfortable around “high-ranking” executives. We all work, eat, and relax in the same open office — interns chatting with the CEO over a couple of burritos is a common occurence.
The jokes, openness, and low power-distance make our office much more conducive to transparency than any large, hierarchical agency. It’s only natural that some degree of transparency should evolve as part of our culture.
When management noticed these trends, they decided to embrace them. After all, when you work with crypto on a daily basis, you learn that a single central authority isn’t always ideal. Instead of squashing the company’s flexibility, Fyresite fostered it.
Jason and the C-suite even went as far to share financial data with the team during quarterly meetings, including financials, profit and revenue, billable hours, and expenses.
Few other companies can say that their team knows about the finances and behind-the-scenes operations — it’s very unusual. However, at Fyresite, this unprecedented level of transparency has built trust, nurtured communication, and even won awards.
How transparency helps our employees
Transparency gives our employees the comfort, power, and voice to take charge in the workplace. If you’ve ever worked in process design (which you can read about in our detailed guide to service design), you’ll know how hard it can be to make a process work well. This is especially true of feedback and suggestions: employees can’t always get the voice they want. If employees don’t feel like a vital part of the company, they won’t feel comfortable making the workspace better.
But in a transparent workplace, employees trust everyone. They feel comfortable making suggestions, constructively critiquing management’s decisions, and pitching innovative ideas.
When people pitch in, everyone benefits. Pretty soon, the entire team works together to come up with new ideas. We ask each other for input because we trust one another.
Transparency also helps employees by highlighting people who have done stellar work. This helps every employee, including the C-suite. When Sean worked hard to get Fyresite a spot on the Shopify Plus partner program, he was rightfully applauded.
This information kept everyone on the team informed, even the non-technical employees. It united us as a big, corporate family and built the trust required to keep the machine running.
But transparency doesn’t just make the company a more friendly, cohesive environment for employees. It also makes life easier for executives.
How transparency helps our executives
While transparency gives the team a voice, it also provides the C-suite with new, innovative ideas. Pitching goes two ways: if an employee feels more comfortable suggesting an idea, the C-suite also becomes more comfortable accepting ideas. The executives suddenly gain access to a pool of brilliant creative potential worth fostering.
Transparency also humbles management and unites them with the rest of the employees. When data is openly shared and hierarchies are actively questioned, management is forced to think about the team and the customer.
Plus, we get lots of memes out of it — it’s always nice to see the design officer or jokester employee photoshopped.
Not even the CEO is safe.
Transparency and communication make life easier for all Fyresite employees, but above all, they help us deliver better products to clients.
How transparency helps our partners
Most of all, transparency helps our partners make smart, informed business decisions. Fyresite communicates the good and the bad with our partners to provide the best possible experience.
Take Athletes for Arizona: a charity project that collected food and toy donations for Christmas. The project was assembled on a strict timeline; Fyresite had to be transparent and inform Athletes for Arizona that only so much could be accomplished in such a short timeframe.
This transparency seemed harsh, but it ultimately made the website better. Our teams adjusted expectations and goals into something more realistic and achievable. Instead of wasting time and money, we built what we needed and collected far more donations — transparency worked.
Transparency has proven especially important for the crypto community. Web3 is entirely built upon the premise of decentralization: no single authority should control and validate transactions. By being transparent with communities and clients, we gain respect and prestige amongst the community, which has allowed us to work on far more amazing projects like Galaktic Gang.
Transparency is central to crypto, and being a transparent company makes our crypto work better.
How transparency helps readers
Finally, transparency helps us keep our audience informed. Too many companies use their platform to hide ads in plain sight. We don’t do that — we’re open and honest about our biases and conflicts of interest, and it makes our information more valuable.
Consider our Shopify vs WooCommerce post. We originally published this post when we offered both Shopify and Woocommerce services, so we had no real biases against one or the other.
But over time, we’ve really fallen in love with Shopify Plus, Liquid, Shopify Flow, and all those fun features. We recently switched entirely to Shopify and became Shopify Plus partners. That changed everything: our previously-unbiased post was now biased by our new conflict of interest. So we did our due diligence. Now, the first paragraph reveals that we are, indeed, Shopify Plus partners, but that some businesses should not use Shopify Plus.
Did we have a conflict when we wrote this? Of course not. Would readers like to know about our specialty so they can make an informed, rational decision? Absolutely!
This dedication to transparency really makes a difference — we’ve won awards for our customer service, and this is part of the reason why.
Transparency helps our business, our employees, our clients, and our readers. It builds trust, it frees people to provide input, and it fosters a positive creative environment. Transparency’s here to stay at Fyresite — will your company be transparent, too?