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Transparency. Sometimes that’s an uncomfortable word for an organization. Will the workforce know how to handle transparency regarding company performance, what led to decisions, and changes coming down the road? But transparency is critical when you want open communication and accountability. How do HR teams lead in implementing a default to transparency where it’s the norm? And where do they start? We invited Brandon Sammut, Chief People Officer at Zapier, to join one of our podcast episodes to answer those questions and more. Let’s first start with finding out more about Zapier.

What Is Zapier?

Automation that moves everyone forward.

Zapier is on a mission to make automation work for everyone. With Zapier, you can integrate apps like Salesforce, Intuit, Google, and Dropbox, to move data between them automatically, so you can focus on your most important work.

We’re 100% remote with teammates spanning 40 countries around the world. We’re hiring!

Who Is Brandon Sammut?

I had a great chat with Brandon Sammut on our podcast. Here’s a little bit of information about Brandon’s background and present role.

I asked Brandon how he ended up in the wonderful world of HR. It was a winding road. He started in higher education working to help young people realize their potential as a Residence Director with 420 students. This led to Brandon moving into recruiting to help candidates realize their potential. And then ultimately, he ended up in technology for HR.

Brandon’s current role is Chief People Officer at Zapier. According to his LinkedIn profile: Empowering cultures and high-performing teams are rare—especially at scale. And yet: We all win when people realize their potential.

In this pursuit, I draw on experience in talent strategy, user-centered design, education, DEI, finance, and operations to build systems in which people from all backgrounds can thrive.

I’m proud to apply this interdisciplinary approach as Chief People Officer at Zapier, a truly special company with bedrock values and a mission to make automation work for everyone.

We find ourselves in the middle of a talent renaissance. The work of people ops has never mattered more. I’m honored to be part of a broader movement that puts people at the center of our organizations’ visions for the future.

Now, let’s dig into the topic of the podcast…

What Does It Mean To Have A Default To Transparency?

Where did this terminology come from?

Zapier started 11 years ago as an all-remote company. Transparency deeply matters and is really useful when you have a highly distributed workforce across multiple time zones. It’s critical to write and publish everything and keep it in a central location that everyone can access. It’s even more important now with over 750 employees.

With the current workforce economy of layoffs and hiring freezes, it affects people and becomes stressful. So, Zapier conducts research on behalf of the team. Every two or three weeks they publish marketing information and hold Zoom calls with the entire team. Leadership shares what the information does and doesn’t mean. They keep comments on and welcome them, including questions, clarifiers, and concerns. This provides knowledge and transparency for our people.

Can the concept of transparency be too much to handle?

Sometimes people may feel that a company is being too transparent. And certain people may not be able to handle everything. This may cause them to overreact or not be able to synthesize data without it being alarming. 

Should there be guardrails around transparency?

Radical transparency means that all things are shared at all times. But transparency without context can be unhelpful. So, a guardrail we implement is providing facts and information along with guidance and explanations. An example is our monthly market updates where leadership covers our financials and performance and provides context.

What are examples of individual contributors doing default to transparency?

At Zapier, we have a ritual for everyone called Friday Update. That’s where team members publish blogs, results logs, what they accomplished that week, reflections on lessons learned, and more. 

Discover More

There’s much more we cover in the podcast, such as:

  • How can HR leaders learn more about default to transparency, where to start, and how to implement?
  • What should leadership do to gain buy-in across the organization?
  • How does default to transparency promote DE&I in the company?
  • And much more!

Listen to the whole podcast here: What It Means To Have A Default To Transparency

This is a quick and easy episode at 19 minutes packed full of interesting information about a unique concept. Enjoy!