Word cloud of words submitted by Monzo employees to describe Monzo

We don’t list corporate values on our website and we’ve never had a brand consultancy conduct a workshop to help define our “brand values”. Yet last week, when we asked the Monzo team “what three words would you use to describe Monzo’s values?” as part of a survey for our blog post on diversity, the most frequently cited word (by far) was transparent.

This didn’t happen accidentally. Earlier this week, we launched our Transparency Dashboard, showcasing all the ways in which we try to openly and honestly communicate with our community — people outside the company. This inherently stems from a commitment on our part to be transparent internally too — with everyone within the company. Today, I wanted to outline some ways in which we do that and ask for your ideas and feedback.

Why do we do internal transparency?

At Monzo, we aim to “default to transparency.” That means we put in place policies and practices that bring information out into the open wherever possible. Over time, transparency becomes the norm, and we create a “burden of secrecy”: an argument must be made to keep something secret, rather than to make it open — a very different approach to most organisations. Some examples of information that is not shared are customer details, employee’s personal circumstances and other similarly sensitive information, as well as anything which might cause us to breach regulatory or contractual obligations. This attitude of defaulting to transparency has a number of advantages:

How do we do internal transparency?

What’s next?

While I am incredibly proud of our efforts so far, at only two years old and 76 team members, we are only at the beginning of our journey. As we grow, we may find some of the things we do now simply don’t scale and we will certainly come up with new ideas too.

I’ll make sure to report back in the future about how things are going. In the meantime, we would love to hear what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past? In particular, I am curious to hear about cases where sharing too much information has led to serious issues and from people who have worked in a radically transparent company.

There’s no guarantee that this is the best way to run a company — it’s just what we believe to be a good fit for Monzo! There are many, many examples of secretive companies that have been phenomenally successful and so this is just one way.

Let us know your thoughts in the forum, on Twitter or directly to me by email or Twitter.

Special thanks to Tristan for, as ever, making the final version of this post a lot easier to read and more insightful than my original draft.

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