How to Create a Culture of Transparency

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  • At Zillow Group, our entire business model is built around transparency. Real estate information that was buried behind desks in courthouses for years is now available instantly to all home shoppers and homeowners. That openness is ingrained in the foundation of our company’s culture and is something I take great pride in as a CEO.

    Recently, I spoke at the Glassdoor Summit about what it’s like to work at Zillow Group. In my experience, it all begins with transparent leadership.

    Here are a few of the ways we maintain this culture at Zillow Group: 

    1. 1. Empowerment. This is a part of our company’s DNA. It’s in our products, in the way we manage people and in the way we conduct business. Everyone at Zillow Group is aligned behind one mission: “Power to the People.” There’s a lot of academic research about why it’s advantageous to have a mission-driven culture, particularly with millennials who are trying to connect with something beyond a job; they want a purpose, not just a paycheck. It is empirically true that a mission-driven culture will allow you to have better, more-engaged employees. It’s also a more fun place to work.
    2. 2. Accessibility. Transparent leaders work to make themselves accessible to employees, investors and other stakeholders. For me, social media is the best avenue for creating accessibility. Social is where the people are. If you want to get a message out – about a brand, a product, a service, or even a political movement – social media is the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to do it. Our leaders use social media exhaustively to engage with current and potential employees.
    3. 3. Authenticity. The final hallmark of transparent leadership is a dedication to the truth. Leaders who are committed to authenticity do not engage in corporate double-speak, saying one thing publicly and another internally. Instead, these leaders are in constant communications mode, always communicating one unified message. My philosophy is, if you never tell a lie, you never have to be worried about being caught in a lie. If you keep everything behind closed doors and top-secret, you’ll get tripped up. The result of following this philosophy is that people might not like what you have to say all the time – but at least you’re telling the truth.

    Empowerment, accessibility and authenticity – these to me are the building blocks of transparent leadership. This reinforces the Zillow Group brand value proposition that extends to the Zillow Group employer brand that is helping us hire great people who align with our mission and fit into our culture.

    Full Glassdoor presentation below:

    Originally published on Linkedin Pulse

  • Spencer Rascoff
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