Creating a transparent organization

Creating a transparent organization

Why transparency is important

For the past 22 years Habanero has been on a quest to become more transparent with our employees. And for good reason—transparency is directly related to employee happiness.

In fact, according to 7 Vital Trends Disrupting Today’s Workplace*, management transparency is the top factor when determining employee happiness.

One tried and tested transparency strategy—Open Books

So once you recognize that transparency is important, the question becomes “how do we create transparency in an organization?”

At Habanero, we started hosting a monthly Open Books meeting, where our leaders would present the prior month’s financials to all employees. This was a great start in our journey to be more transparent, as it provided employees with insight into our decisions.

Over time, we realized our Open Books meetings only focused on one aspect of our organization’s health: our finances.

The Balanced Scorecard Review

So we evolved these meetings into a monthly Balanced Scorecard Review (BSR). The review covered who we were as an organization, why we were making the decisions we were making, and what the resulting outcomes were.

Every month the company gets together for our BSR where we review last month’s performance from the perspective of Habanero, our clients, and our team. The BSR is structured around the following areas:


Our financials for the previous month and their effect on our year-to-date results. This includes revenue, our cost of goods sold (including the total amount spent on employee salaries and contractors), operating expenses, and our profit (or loss) for the month. We also review our performance against our profit-sharing goals, where employees can earn an additional 15% of their salary.

Business development and marketing

An overview of our sales funnel and sales team member performance. A review of recent wins provides a chance to celebrate and an overview of marketing activities and commitments helps foster a culture of accountability and thought leadership.


Client satisfaction survey results, key client milestones, and any project hot spots that everyone on the team should be aware of.


Our employee engagement survey results, voluntary attrition metrics, recruiting progress, and an introduction to new hires. The most popular section is Habiversaries where a story is told through bitmojis about each Hab with a Habanero anniversary that month.

We’ve found the BSR to be an essential part of our journey to becoming a more transparent organization. It helps employees understand exactly what is happening at Habanero so they can make decisions that are aligned with our goals and strategies and ensures that our team is an equal participant in our employee experience.

A disclaimer

BSRs aren’t always easy! When you’re doing great as a company, they can be really fun and engaging. However, when times are tough, they can be difficult for employees and it’s hard to know what information is adding to employee understanding and what’s contributing to more confusion.  That said, in challenging times you often need your team to be more aligned than ever and BSRs can be a powerful tool.

Over the years we’ve been able to increase our level of transparency at Habanero and we’ve seen the benefits to our employee engagement. It’s played a big role in helping us be ranked #1 on the Great Place to Work Canada list for organizations with less than 100 employees and ensure that both our team members and our clients have great experiences at Habanero.

What does our team have to say about the BSR?

Imran Thobani, a digital workplace advisor who joined Habanero in 2018 said, “At first, it caught me off guard, but it’s a refreshing concept. I’m used to organizations and leaders that hide or control information. BSRs give everyone insight into the organization and validate Habanero as a transparent company that lives and breathes its values and purpose. ”


Project Manager Laura Marin Hurtado had this to say: “The first time I attended the BSR, I was surprised that they shared every single financial detail of the company. It confirmed the organization’s transparency, which everyone talked about during my hiring process, and reassured me of my decision to join Habanero. It’s also helpful to learn how other teams and projects perform. In my past employee experiences, teams lived in their own silos, forgetting that we were all one team working towards the same goal.”


*7 Vital Trends Disrupting Today’s Workplace, a study created by pulse employee survey provider TINYpulse, which analyzed over 40,000 survey responses across 300 organizations

Originally posted: Habanero Consulting

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