Why am I building Sliips?
I believe that transparency and honesty are the building blocks of trust, which is itself the precursor to happiness. Happiness with yourself, with your relationships and with your work.
Trust is the universal ingredient required in any relationship that helps you grow, build confidence and find fulfilment. Between parent and child, student and teacher, employee and manager - it is all the same basic principle. They take you under their wing, teach you, and slowly put you into places where you can fail. Then they help you get up enough times until you have figured ‘it’ out.
This is all what makes us uniquely human. The human animal is a social animal. We have communities and cultures, all of which are a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs.
What is a company?
A company should also be a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs. A place where people trust each other, learn from each other and grow - meaning the company grows.
Unfortunately, this idyllic vision of a company; where everyone trusts each other to fail, share credit and sacrifice their own time for others is a vision that may well cause you to snort in derision or roll your eyes at the naivety of it all.
Fair enough! We have probably all worked in companies where targets are king, you didn’t feel like you could be honest with your manager and generally felt like a cog in the machine of delivering “shareholder value”.
We have all worked in companies where salary was secret, and the decisions behind promotions, pay and who got the ‘best gig’ seemed to happen behind closed doors. Companies where training dried up and your growth became perpetually second to “business needs”.
Haven’t you noticed how your thinking begins to change in these environments? After the excitement of starting somewhere new gets a healthy dose of reality?
You begin to think about what you need to get out of the next few months. This qualification, that training, this internal move, that experience, this bonus. All to accomplish some safety point that is also recognised outside your company.
You start looking out for number one, because nobody else will.
What’s plainly happened here is a divergence between company interests and your own.
The reason for this is simple: when your employer isn’t honest with you - you aren’t honest with your employer. The trusting relationship is broken and both parties are worse for it. You don’t find fulfilment in the work you do, and the company pays money for your time, but does not get your all. Lose-lose.
Evidence of this disconnect abounds, namely in how executive pay bears no resemblance to company performance, and how throwing money at the problem in the form of bonuses are demonstrably ineffective.
The modern way of work all stems from the 1980s Gordon Gekko era of “Greed is Good”. The primacy of shareholder value leading to mass redundancies to balance books, outsourcing and asset stripping. Who wants that?
The good news is that acceptance of this dogma is starting to shift, with a series of shareholder rebellions unprecedentedly refusing to accept the status quo.
The needle is shifting back. But shareholder rebellions and shareholder activism are a top-down approach. I believe we need a bottom-up solution to meet it.
That is where the power of technology and the Internet helps us. The Internet democratises access to information. We have seen the power of the crowd vindicated again and again since the 1774 Longitude Prize through to Energy Systems Research, Seismology, Citizen Sourcing and Wikipedia.
Now is the time to democratise work. That is why I am building Sliips.
I believe each of us sharing our stories, employment history and yes, salary, evens the scales between employees and employer, for the benefit of both.
Transparency must be the antidote to secrecy. The secrecy that makes you wonder if you are paid fairly, treated fairly or really being looked after.
Remove the secrecy and everyone can focus on fixing what is really wrong or putting their worries to bed.
Company leaders no longer have to spend time and effort keeping things secret. Your manager can tell you the truth of a situation and what you need to do, because the situation is clear.
Your manager and leaders can get on with their real job - nurturing you, supporting you, growing you and growing the company. The trusting relationship is restored, the environment in which we all grow best.
And with that comes fulfilment. That is why we are building Sliips, a platform where we can each help each other by sharing the truth of our situation, to each other’s benefit.
And that is our mission, to help everyone find fulfilment at work.