When we were only just a small company, it was very clear to us that we’re going to build it around transparency. We wanted to ensure that each and every one of the people working at Wix is empowered with the knowledge about what’s going on, where we’re heading, and why we’re doing what we’re doing. Today, with thousands of employees around the world - we know there’s no other way that can work for us.
These are the basics: making sure that everyone knows what’s going on, why the things they are working on are important, and how we plan to achieve our goals. Transparency means sharing everything with everyone. Literally, everything: what’s going on and why, our plans, our data, our product roadmaps, our results, our wins, our failures, and lessons we learned. Above all, we share our user challenges and voice, so that they’ll be known to every single person working at Wix.
But keeping everybody informed is only just the tip of the iceberg.
At Wix, we know that in order for employees to improve, they must be empowered with responsibility and knowledge to grow. In order for everyone to do the best job they possibly can, they need to know what the company's KPIs are - or, in other words, what the key metrics we use to measure our progress and success are. Once this data is out in the open, there are no other secrets worth keeping.
Here’s a taste of what transparency allows:
Exposing everything that happens to everybody enables conversation. Conversations lead to creativity and brilliant ideas that push the company forward. If employees hear about our plans and goals, they might come up with a great idea we haven’t thought of yet. They might have another suggestion. They can spark new ideas and become invested in the desire to make them happen. We spend so much time choosing the best people to work with us - why lose on everything they have to contribute?
When all of the information is out in the open, and everyone is exposed to the same knowledge, unity is established and this enables people to focus on their work rather than on their own ego. There is also nothing to leak!
A transparent organization is an honest organization. We care so much about our people that we simply want to be honest with them, and make them feel empowered and trusted.
When people understand why things happen - the reasons behind them, sometimes even the entire consideration process that led to such decisions - they feel included. They’re not just told what to do, but rather are considered to be intelligent people who are treated with respect.
Transparency is a way to communicate and get to know new people. In the process of sharing information and knowledge connections are made, people onboard faster and create shared values.
On the flipside: What happens when information is limited?
First, you have different knowledge classes and hierarchies of “who-knows-what”. Secrets are created and kept. This creates a negative culture, and that definitely doesn’t cultivate trust and ownership.
In addition, you can never know what information is relevant to who. If people are only given the information that’s considered important, they’re being limited to your own perspective as an employer. This means that they’re prevented from bringing fresh perspectives and great new ideas.
So, how do we achieve this transparency?
Well, first - there are the technical aspects of it. On regular days, when we all come to the office, we work in spaces with transparent walls, simply because no one has anything to hide. All of the information is consistently shown on screens scattered throughout the offices.
We also create visible dashboards and reports that everyone can access. We make sure that everyone knows what our KPIs are, and understands them and the decisions that are made to ensure that we meet our goals.
Then there are the cultural aspects. This means fostering a company culture in which people share everything possible. When a project is finished, we share it with everyone so people learn from it, and learn who to speak to the next time they have a question or idea related to that area. Every team has weekly meetings and shares its summaries, so that people can know what is happening, what challenges are to be solved, and what the most urgent pains that need to be dealt with are.
Communication is a key driver of this effort. We share weekly updates with everyone about new products, post mortems, marketing strategies and progress. On a quarterly basis, we hold company updates for everyone, in which we reveal future plans, success stories, and current challenges which are important for our success.
Our roadmaps are live streamed and recorded for future viewing. Every single person at Wix can learn about other groups, what they’re planning, what challenges they’re facing, and what feedback they received from our management.
Last, but definitely not least - we make sure that this knowledge is visible and accessible at all times. We maintain a public knowledge base where presentations, updates, summaries and videos can be easily found and accessed.
Trust is key in building ownership, engagement and empowerment. Knowledge is key for allowing people to be awesome at what they do. Transparency and communications are the building blocks of a healthy organization. We would never want to try and build our company without them.
Tamar Schabel, Head of Communications