Q: How can I make my business more transparent to ensure that my employees always know what’s going on within the company?
A: Let's use an example: Chroma Technology Corp. is a manufacturer of interference filters for the ultra-violet, visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum, including bandpass, multiple bandpass, and long and short pass filters. That sounds pretty technical, doesn't it? But anyone can understand Chroma's commitment to workplace transparency.
"Chroma Technology Corp. is a 100 percent employee-owned company," says CEO and co-founder Paul Millman. "At Chroma, democracy is practiced on the work floor more than any place else. We hire smart people and expect them to figure out how to do their jobs efficiently, expertly and in concert with their colleagues. We are all expected to think independently and cooperatively at the same time."
Information about Chroma’s compensation system, including pay, benefits, and profit sharing structure, is completely open and available to all 86 employees. Its Cash Profit Sharing plan distributes financial benefits equally among employees based on their longevity with the company.
Chroma also distributes a “State of the Company” report to all its employees, which details its financial situation and position in the market. In addition, the Board of Directors and the committees regularly distribute meeting notes via email to keep everyone abreast of developments. Chroma holds monthly company-wide meetings during the workday to cover a wide variety of topics and questions, including those submitted by the employee-owners.
"We chose this type of organization because it attracts smart, capable people who do their jobs well, because they can, and don't need managers to tell them what to do," says Millman.
Chroma’s transparency techniques are excellent ways to make certain your employees always feel connected inside the company. You can learn more about Chroma and their best practices in organizational democracy here.