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Open Org: Transparency Is The New Black

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Open Org is the modern accreditation for people leaders and employers looking to rebuild trust through transparency.

It provides personal and company accreditation paths for People and Talent Leaders which begin with a 4-week cohort focused on action (not training). Learn more about the cohorts, accreditation, and pricing.

Open Org references eye-catching stats such as 43% hiring cost reduction, 76% greater engagement amongst employees, and 21% more profitability among companies that make transparency a cornerstone of their culture.

We're grateful to have these insights into transparency shared directly from John Faulkner-Willcocks, cofounder of Open Org with partner Adam Horne.

By the way - both of these gentlemen are a great follow on LinkedIn, both for the laughs and the facts. Y'all already know how we feel about perks being conflated for culture...

Quiz Time.... 94% of employees want more what?... 👀 .. Can you guess? 🥁🥁🥁 ...."FREE SNACKS?!" 🍎 🤔 No Colin... not free snacks 🙄 94% of employees want more transparency! This was the outcome of a poll I ran last week. Sure. it only had 130 respondents, but that figure is pretty telling for all you employers out there.

How transparent is your organization?

Find out with Open Org's free transparency quiz.

Interview with John Faulkner-Willcocks

John Faulkner-Willcocks, cofounder of Open Org
John Faulkner-Willcocks, cofounder of Open Org

John Faulkner-Willcocks is co-founder of Open Org ( John is dedicated to restoring workplace trust through transparency.

Before Open Org, he spent over a decade delivering strategic transformation projects for global companies before helping Founders overcome People and Ops challenges using Agile and Product management practices.

What is your "why"? and why now?

We started Open Org out of frustration with how opaque hiring has become and how damaging that was for both employers and candidates. Adam and I have both experienced pain from mis-hires, first as employees and then as people leaders. From my side, I experienced two very different mental breakdowns and that was what triggered the need to do something about this and stop it from happening for others.

Since then Open Org has become more than just a way to help improve hiring but instead a broader movement of progressive businesses wanting to authenticate their culture and be held accountable for a new standard of trust.

In terms of ‘why now’, there are 4 tailwinds powering us forward:

🤝 Engagement is at an all-time low. (Gallup) Increasing transparency isn’t just an employer brand hack, it’s a commercial imperative for leadership teams.

👋 Projected attrition and turnover is at their highest. (Remote) Employers are struggling to retain talent and looking for a way to reset trust after difficult cultural moments like layoffs, mergers, acquisitions.

🖌️ Creator economy and gig economy boom. People have more opportunities to make money than the traditional employer<>employee relationship. Employers no longer compete with other employers alone.

🔎 Gen Z demand transparency. To attract this growing share of the talent market, employers need to adapt their thinking on employer brand, or fail.

Are you ever concerned that the very organizations that need Open Org, won't join because of fear of exposing their skeletons?

No. We recognize that not every company out there will want to be an Open Org. We also aren’t about judging or trying to push every Org to become 100% transparent either by the way! We’re not trying to shame companies or take a subjective stance on what ‘good culture’ is. It is and should be subjective in my opinion.

Instead, we’re about supporting growth and helping organisations recognize the immense value of transparency for both their employees and their bottom line. Joining Open Org is an opportunity for any company to embark on a journey of positive transformation, regardless of where they currently stand and how radical they want to go.

For those 'on the fence', our role is to provide guidance, resources, and a roadmap to make the journey toward transparency achievable and beneficial.

What do you believe the "future of work" holds?

Increased employee empowerment will drive a larger imperative for organisations to be authentic. As today's workforce becomes more informed and discerning, companies will no longer be able to hide behind polished marketing or corporate jargon.

They'll need to demonstrate real values in action, ensuring alignment between their public commitments and internal practices. The future of work will favour organisations that are transparent, receptive to feedback, and continuously iterate based on employee feedback.

As data becomes more accessible and employees more interconnected, only those organisations that truly walk their talk will earn enduring trust.

Open Org accreditation shows your commitment to employer brand transparency. This screenshot shows Open Org's transparency assessment results and an example of the accreditation badge.
Open Org accreditation badge example

How did you develop your four core values? Do you believe any org that wants to be transparent, must follow these as well?

So the 4 values came from 2 places. Firstly, they came from patterns we noticed in organisations we either loved working with or were inspired by, like Buffer, Gitlab, Zappos, Baremetrics, and others.

Secondly, they came from a place of personal aspiration. Adam and I have known each other for a long time and we have a pretty clear vision of the kind of business we want to build and have long been inspired by other movements like #buildinpublic.

Our hope is that as more open orgs join the movement and our community grows we will refine these. To answer your second question, the intention is that they become values that guide our community members versus a prescriptive mandate on how to become transparent.

What's the first step to building a transparent organization? What advice do you have for someone who is ready to take that step?

The first step is to figure out what transparency means to your business and how important it is.

Like with any transformation initiative, it’s important to get some broad alignment on the risks of doing nothing, or to put it another way: ‘what’s our imperative for change’.

Beyond that though, I think there are probably 2 spaces to explore that we’ve seen yield a lot of quick wins (at least from our research and speaking to 50+ people leaders making this step).

  1. An audit of your job ads and careers site to ensure you are being super clear about when you work, where you work, and making an effort to be balanced in how you showcase your culture.

  2. Ask your teams where the opportunities are. Where do your people want to see more transparency? It’s a simple question but very powerful in uncovering engagement and retention opportunity themes.

Open Org Resources

If you want to follow along with the Open Org journey, subscribe to our fortnightly (biweekly) newsletter, crammed with memes, free mini-products, and templates to help you kickstart your transparency journey as a People Person.

If you’re interested in taking the first step, our free transparency quiz will help give you a sense of where your opportunities are and help provide a great conversation starter with your leadership team.

Then visit our resource library where we’ve open-sourced some of our most popular people products and templates.


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