06 Jul

Transparency in a Service Company

Recently, the Sheldon team, got together and reviewed our company values. As we went through the exercise, we realized that these values also applied to Sheldon. One important value that we all agreed on was transparency.

We learnt that “being transparent” means different things to different people, so we had to pin down what it meant for us. As a service company, and for Sheldon.

 

Transparency as a Company

Transparency for employees

As a service company, we believe that being transparent means showing regular status reports to our customers and letting them know about roadblocks as early as we can. But what about for employees? They’re the backbone of our business, they do all the work, and the client pays for their time. If you want to be profitable, you’ll obviously want to charge your client more than what you pay your staff.

The question…

Do you let your employees know how much your client is paying for them?

That’s a tough one. Most people react almost instantly to that question with a yelping “absolutely not!”. But why not? Probably because they think an employee’s reaction to that information is asking why they can’t have a higher salary: “If I make $50 an hour and you’re getting $100 an hour for my time, why can’t you pay me $80?!”.

Here at Sheldon, we try to stay true to our value of transparency. Our staff members do know how much they’re bringing into the company. And yes, some of them had a poor reaction to the information at first. Here’s where it gets interesting…

By explaining to our employees how overheads worked, how they tied into their rates and margins, and talking about company goals, we converted most employees into a true “team” mentality. Most understood that they were part of something real and that they could grow as the company grows.

You don’t always have to shy away from dollar amounts and you don’t have to hide project contracts or RFPs or create versions without rates before getting your developers’ opinions on timelines.

Maybe if everyone understood the business, each member of your team could properly contribute to these contracts, and maybe estimates could be that much more precise!

Exercise Findings for Sheldon

Going back to that exercise, and how we all agreed that transparency was a value of ours, we had to ask ourselves if our product would enforce the same values. Obviously, we wanted it to, but was it the right call?

Right now, Sheldon tracks roles and rates on projects. Project managers and administrators can see those rates and they’re used for various reports and graphs. The graphs are useful! One of them lets you know if you’re running out of money so you can react earlier (like I said in my last post).

Regular users can’t see these graphs. They can’t see rates, or any other dollar amount in Sheldon. So, should they? Should every person on your team be capable of reacting to early warning signs? This is actually what we’re discussing internally right now (speaking of transparency!).

I’d love to hear from you guys! How do you handle transparency in your company? And if you’re using Sheldon, do you think it would help if all your users could see a bit more about your company?

Let me know in the comments!

Share this

Leave a reply