Julian Assange. Transparency advocate

Transparency at work. We need it.

zach at kununu

You know that feeling you get down in your stomach when you think someone is lying to you? It’s horrible, right? Especially when you’ve built a trustworthy relationship with that person or organization. Honesty is something we all expect, whether it be in our news, government, healthcare and, most of all, our relationships. But for some reason, straight talk seems to be hard to find.

Characters like Wikileaks creator Julian Assange and NSA detractor Edward Snowden were brought into the spotlight for delivering real and relevant information to the public, but were also denounced for their actions leading to more transparency. But the government is only the start. As Americans we demand honest information in our courtrooms, medical records, food labels, even our car facts. Where is this high expectation of honesty and transparency in our workplaces? Why don’t we challenge our companies to have the same standards?

At kununu, we saw this gaping hole in access to genuine information at our jobs– the engine of America– and are passionately trying to fill it.

If you’re working for a company or exploring where you should work next, wouldn’t you want to know what it’s really like? Things like how employees feel about their leadership, benefits, culture from actual first-hand experiences, and not just spiteful reviews from disgruntled employees trying to get back at the man.  In the job seeking process, companies can learn so much about us from our résumés, reference checks, background checks, etc. , But we have to dig and search for their info. Wouldn’t it be nice if the same level of honesty expected from our politicians, doctors, and journalists was held to our CEOs, HR managers and bosses? This type of open exchange could lead to better and more efficient matches for companies and for workers alike, and, perhaps, a happier overall job market.

Now I don’t want you to think it’s all bad in the engine room, there are definitely a few shining stars that set examples of transparency.  But the room for improvement is huge. At kununu, we’re just getting started, revealing company culture one review at a time.

Some of the companies doing it right when it comes to workplace transparency:


Southwest took to puns to express how serious its new company philosophy was. It’s ‘transfarency’ statement affirmed that the airline would commit to being more “open and honest” to its customers. They’ve even devoted a website to the campaign, where the customer guidelines are listed, including fees expected and additional services offered.  The campaign has generated nearly five million likes on Facebook, generated company trust among its customers, and firmly set the airline apart from other competitors.


The online CRM company maintains a ‘Trust’ site where any and all disruptions in their service are reported. Adding to the list of perks, Salesforce also allows customers to check how fast their connection times are and if all of their patron’s data is up to date.


Usually hate long emails at work? Well, you might enjoy this one. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sent all of his employees a hefty memo on the principles of maintaining an efficient, autonomous company, and how he had decided to try and make the company more ‘teal’ ( A new kind of organization designed to enable “whole” individuals (not narrow professional selves) to self-organize and self-manage). While Zappos has admitted its struggles in adapting to these new forms of transparency and a flat hierarchy, it has also stated that “82% of its employees reaffirmed their engagement in the unique system is something to celebrate”.


This social media organization and distribution company lives and breathes transparency. Not only will it help you be more efficient in communicating to our social audience about how you’re being honest and transparent, but it also provides all salaries as public data and even has a real-time revenue dashboard and a list of books current employees are reading. 


The manufacturing magnate was named as the World’s Most Ethical company for the second consecutive year in 2015 and prides itself on keeping up with the impressive pressures of a truly global business through a “culture of ethics and transparency at every level”. Sticking to (no pun intended) this mantra throughout all branches of the company allows them to balance their effective company performance with “ethical business practice”.

So business execs and CEO’s alike, let these companies be an example. Working hard and producing dividends does not have to come at the sacrifice of being honest and transparent with your actions. Quoting one of the world’s true entrepreneurs in DJ Khaled, balance is certainly “major key”. For those out there wondering how we achieve such company practices, it’s simple. Join kununu’s transparency revolution, leave a review and do your part to help make work life better for you, and for everyone around you.


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