Danny Guillory: My thing is that I love transparency, but I'm less a fan of transparency for transparency's sake and more what we're trying to accomplish with it, or what the story is that it tells. There's always a story in something. And that to me is the power of transparency.
Katelin Holloway, Host: You're listening to All Hands, a podcast brought to you by Lattice, where people strategy is business strategy. I'm your host, Katelin Holloway.Danny Guillory, Guest: I believe, in a lot of organizations, people are going to find out most anything anyway. And so, I might as well be the one to tell them whether it's good or bad or indifferent, rather than them finding out a piece of it, and then creating their own story behind it, versus me being able to share the whole story from the beginning.
Katelin Holloway: Employees now look to corporations for more accountability, more transparency, and more action. So, how do we, as people leaders, help meet these expectations of our employees? This week on the podcast, we unpack the playbook of radical transparency with none other than Glassdoor's chief people officer, Danny Guillory. Glassdoor, of course, is known for openly sharing company reviews about everything from pay to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging policies. This type of transparency information sharing can be empowering.Danny Guillory: It's extremely powerful and extremely important for underrepresented groups to have as much information is passed, because we have typically not been privy to it, whether it was formal or whether it was informal.
Katelin Holloway: Inside Glassdoor, the company lives the value of transparency. In 2020, Glassdoor's CEO committed to radical transparency regarding pay equity and all of Glassdoor's diversity efforts. Every year, Glassdoor has publicly published reports on pay equity and DEI to hold themselves accountable to their commitments and employees. Danny, welcome to All Hands.Danny Guillory: Thanks so much for the invitation to be here today, Katelin. I'm looking forward to the discussion.
Katelin Holloway: Oh, not more than me. I'm a huge fan of your work. And so, today what we're gonna talk about, Danny, is how you walk the walk in really bringing that, that same culture of radical transparency into the organization itself. So, tell us, let's start with the most basic definition here, how do you define radical transparency? And at the end of the day, what's the ultimate goal here?
Danny Guillory: So, for me, the definition of radical transparency would really be the idea that I want to share with the organization as much as I can within legal and ethical bounds. Now, what's interesting about transparency is that I'm actually not a fan of transparency without purpose. So, I think transparency has a purpose. A lot of times, people will say, "Well, let's just share it because we want to share." I think that's great. I think there is... So, the, the superficial goal, I think, to begin with, is to give people a view into what an organization is like. And what's powerful about that is that I think it helps both sides of the equation. So, as an employee or a potential employee, obviously, I get a look into what's happening in an organization. What it's like, what the experiences, uh, people are having, um, what, what salary looks like, what compensation looks like.But I think on the other side of the equation, it's just as important for a company to do it. And the reason why I think it's really powerful for a company to participate in the process of transparency is that it shows that you don't have anything to hide. It doesn't mean that everything is going to be perfect. So, what companies are, are a collective of human beings. And at least as long as I've been alive, I don't know about you Katelin, but humans aren't perfect, at least in my experience.
Katelin Holloway: [laughs] Never, not a one.
Danny Guillory: [laughing] Exactly, which mean that what we see will be imperfection by definition. But as we know, people have different experiences, not everything is perfect. And so, for me, um, I think it's kind of a report card to say, "We're gonna show you not only what's working but what's not working, what we're trying to fix potentially. And hopefully, we know that you will be, as somebody on the outside looking in, thoughtful enough to say, 'Let me really look into what everybody likes about the organization, and let me understand what may be challenging for people and what, what they can do about it.'"Now, there's another side to transparency that I think is really powerful, and that is the fact that transparency is really crucial to diversity, equity, and inclusion. One of the main barriers to actually creating truly diverse and equitable organizations is hiding things. I don't know what the situation is if I don't know how the game is played, if I don't know how people are evaluated, if I don't know what my ratings are, I don't know how I'll be compensated. Once you lift off the, the veil from all of that, you create lots of opportunity to have honest and frank discussions about what my experience is and what the experiences are of other people. And for us, inside organizations, it forces us to really ask questions about what's going on.I'll give you a great example, just to share one with you. One, one that is that we recently shared are promotions rates in the organization. We did it by different demographic categories. And one of the categories is obviously Black employees. Our average promotion rate, across the organization, was 7.4%. The promotion rate for Black employees in our organization was 2%. Now normally, that would be red flag. Okay? Um, but what that forces is deeper inquiry.So, what did I do? What I looked at is how long people had been at level in the organization. So not with the organization. They could've been here 10 years, they could've been six years, they could've been here six months, okay? So not tenure in the company, but the amount of time at level. Because what we tried to push is a promotion rate of, of in general people not getting promoted before two years, as a general principle. Okay? And two years at level is what I mean, two years at level. And what we found out was that about over 90% of the Black population had been at level for less than two years.So, what does that mean? What that actually means is that the rate at which the population is getting promoted is healthy. If we had 90% of the organization that had been at level for more than two years, then that's a problem. Okay? Then, that's a real problem. This is not necessarily a red flag. And so, what transparency does is that it forces then, before we shared this, the first thing I did is I looked at that rate and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm not ready to share this at our all-hands. What's going on with this?" I dug in a little bit, found out what the situation was, and actually the story I was able to tell was, I thought, a generally positive with at least with respect to promotion rates. What the lesson of that story is, is that transparency forces us to really dig down and understand things in a different way, in a different level of depth, and we can't get away with superficial kinds of conclusions or conclusions that are kind of thin-sliced without true inquiry.
Katelin Holloway: I love that example so much, Danny, because it demonstrates a few things. You said so many things there that I wa- I wanna respond to or make sure are underscored for our, for our audience. The first is, and I'll, I'll go back in time a little bit here, the first is that we're humans. And humans are absolutely imperfect. And if organizations are made up of humans who are, by design, not perfect, that means every organization is going to manifest some form of dysfunction, right? The reality is, is every company is dysfunctional. It's just a matter of finding the dysfunction that you can best manage to, that you understand. Where you're like, "Okay, I get that. I'm okay with that," or, "I know how to manage in, around, or through that."
Danny Guillory: Yes.
Katelin Holloway: And 100% to your point, transparency 100% gives you the, the employee, the user, the, the client, the whatever, your position is in that, in that scenario to make your own assessment, which is actually what we are after. And so, to your example here, you could've easily... You know, radical transparency, I'm using my air quotes here, radical transparency, you do the report, you have the data, you click send, right? Just a, a raw [laughs] raw spreadsheet, raw data and say, "Here's the data gang." But without context, without asking why, without doing those cross-sections of other information and layers of data-
Danny Guillory: Right.
Katelin Holloway: Because, I, I would take this a step further. You know, now, let's do some other intersectional pulls of the data. So you have your Black population revealing this. But what about Black women, for example? And I'm not asking you to reveal, but I'm saying like this is where, if you love what you do and you, you truly believe in the value of transparency, and you have fun playing with data, you're gonna be able to come back and then be so specific, and then create the right solutions to make the adjustments that you feel are necessary for your workplace to be the most effective, right?
Danny Guillory: Right. Exactly, exactly. I mean, the question that I always ask people... It was interesting is one of my colleagues was helping me to prepare for an all-hands and was putting in certain slides. I would always ask, "I don't mind sharing this, but tell me what's the so what. Like, what does this mean?" And at first, she answered me, "Well, we've always done this in the past." Like, "Well, that's great. But I still wanna know why." What my thing is that I love transparency, but I'm less a fan of transparency for transparency's sake and more what we're trying to accomplish with it or what the story is that it tells. Because, there's always a story in something. And that, to me, is the power of transparency.
Katelin Holloway: I love everything about this. So, again, thank you for that example. Every organization is at a different stage of learning and understanding their opacity level, right? What is comfortable within their own organization? Because, something else I share often with the founders in my portfolio is, you don't have to be totally closed or totally open when we talk about sharing information. I do ask that you are consistent and that you are sharing that rule set, so again, that people can chose to react to that in a way that, you know, where they have all of the information, as long as you're consistent. And then, part of that consistency is evolution. And so, saying, "We are gonna be reevaluating this policy, this process, this whatever, you know, on, on X cadence." And then, please go ahead and do that. [laughs] Let's, let's honor our commitments.
Danny Guillory: I'll tell you what's something interesting, kind of a follow on to that, Katelin, is, is thinking about who's going to consume the transparency, then goes back to all of your decision making. So, and area, obviously, where we're very transparent as a company is around compensation. So, we share even people's comp ratios with them, we share everything. And people have access, not to Katelin's information, but people in their area and their, and, and information of their comparable people without names necessarily attached to it. And what that forces is we revisit and think about our compensation structures, our architecture, our job architectures. And everything else is, how are people going to consume this? Can people understand this? Can we explain this to them so that they get it?And one person might say, the skeptical person might say, "Oh, well, doesn't that just perhaps force you into simpler structures that aren't necessarily as good for people?" At the same time, things like compensation and other things really aren't that... They shouldn't be that complex, if I'm really rooted in some core principles. So, shouldn't I make something that people can understand? Shouldn't I make something that, with some training and some explanation, that people can consume? To me, that's a good goal.And if a tool isn't helping me do that... Because that's... All of these different architectures that we have in compensation, for example, are just tools to reward people in some way, shape, or form. The ultimate goal is to reward people in a way that rewards them for their performance and ideally encourages them to want to stay and grow in a place. So, if that's what we're trying to accomplish, then whatever structure I make and whatever tools I use should be designed to achieve that. Shouldn't that also be designed in a way so that the person can comprehend it, and so that they're motivated in the right way. Because, if I can't understand it, then, then what does that mean about my motivation to really achieve high performance?So, what happens is that transparency is a forcing function to really make more user-friendly, more employee... When I say employee-friendly, I don't mean necessarily do everything that makes an employee happy. I don't mean that necessarily, because we run a business like everybody else does. But at least make things in a way that people can understand so that, like you said from the very beginning, individuals can make their own choice. That's the key, I think, what you, what you captured at the very beginning is a real positive result of transparency.
Katelin Holloway: I love that you're bringing up pay transparency, because that, as I understand it, is one of, what I believe to be, four of your Glassdoor leadership team tenets or something that you hold yourselves accountable. And so, tell me about those different avenues that the Glassdoor leadership team holds yourselves accountable to.
Danny Guillory: Sure. So, one of the things, I'll start just with our CEO. He's very open to the extent he can be within, again, legal and ethical bounds. He's very open always about our economic performance, whether it's good, whether it's mediocre, whether it's bad. We hold all-hands on a monthly basis where we share the vast majority of our company metrics. We, like a number of companies, had a, had a layoff a couple months ago, and I sat through 11 exit conversations myself, personally. And what I'd say is that the vast majority of people and even people who still are at the company talk about the fact that they weren't surprised by the process. And that's because he was very honest all along about where we were, where we were tracking, what we were trying, and the decision making that, that he was taking.So, I think, first of all, one avenue is the CEO bully pulpit, okay, and, and what you share from a business perspective. A second avenue, which is something not only that we use internally but that's our big pivot as an organization right now is becoming the real home for workplace conversations. So, there is a, a product that we have out there called Fishbowl now. And they are company bowls where you have to be verified to be a part of it. So, it's clear that you're a part of the company, but it's a place where anonymously or with your name if you choose, it's up to you, you can engage in Q&A inquiry, talk about your experiences in an organization in an open way. That's another avenue that we use.And for me it was interesting, because coming from an organization where I felt like people were pretty open at Dropbox on our own internal services, I was asking myself at first, "Well, what's really the difference in having an external service versus an internal service? Can't people just raise these same questions in Slack or somewhere else?" But sometimes you may want to ask a question that's a little bit spicy. You may be concerned about, also, how you appear. Do I wanna do that in a, in a Slack channel publicly for everybody to see that Danny Guillory asked that question? Or can I do it somewhere anonymously like this where I can get feedback and direction, and things like that? So, there's a certain amount of safety that comes from having these discussions, and that's another avenue that we us to understand what's going on in the company. We have our own Glassdoor company bowl, just like other companies do.A third area, I think, that we use to really understand what people are experiencing are a couple of things, which are common in a lot of organizations, so this isn't unique, we do have our, our semiannual engagement survey, like most organizations do. But I always add on to that is we also include a set of focus groups with different parts of the organization. Because, I always find that the engagement surveys get me a certain amount of information, but I missed some of the texture. And I get the texture and qualitative information from the, from the focus groups. And combining those two, I think I get a much better overall picture of what's going on in an organization. I think that the key on that item is the combination of the two, is, is not just the survey but also making sure that I'm getting that in-person information through discussions with people.
Katelin Holloway: Absolutely. Awesome. Okay, if I'm playing this back, we've got company performance, employee feedback transparency, diversity data transparency, and pay transparency. Those are the four that we've talked about. I know that there are more, but those seem to be the four that you are explicitly holding your leadership team accountable to. So, you shared a little bit about how you do this. But what is the impact do you believe it's having on your employees? So, this radical transparency that you've brought through these different functions, what is the actual impact on your organization, on the actual humans?
Danny Guillory: One thing that I think it's done is I think it's created a kind of culture of inquiry and participation that's a little bit unique. So, what I mean by that is that sometimes in organizations you can have cultures where the Q&A of leaders is either you're rah-rah, you're 100% behind the leader, or you're an insurrectionist almost. There are no, or very few, gradations. Because, if you're not with me, then you're against me.What I feel like is that, at least what I've seen in my time here so far, is that there is genuine inquiry that I think produces better results for us in the long-term. I think we get really... I remember being really impressed at my first all-hands when I joined Glassdoor of the quality of questions that were coming in at all-hands. I've seen, sometimes, in different organizations, where the communications team feared all-hands sometimes.
Katelin Holloway: Oh yeah.
Danny Guillory: Because you didn't know what was gonna come down, what was gonna come down the pike. And two things that I noticed, one was that, again, the quality of inquiry during the Q&A was quite strong. And I think that happens when you develop a foundation of trust with your employees. They feel like they can ask and they're gonna get a straight answer. So, that's part one of it for me.The other item that I think has been really powerful in the impact that it's had is that it means that people are a lot more attentive to what you share. What I'm, and the example for me of that was that I was shocked to see at the first all-hands I saw participation rate in our all-hands of about 80%, like 80% of the company that didn't watch it recorded, like over 80%. I was... 80% to 90%. I was shocked. I, I, I was really, really surprised by that. To have a 80% to 90% participation rate in virtual all-hands, to me, is strong and says that people are tuning in to listen because they feel like the information's valuable.My, the statement that I always make to people, which is not mine, it's been around for many years, but whenever we do something, I always tell my team or the people that I work with that people will speak with their feet. And if they're showing up, then there's something of value. If they're not, then we have to revisit what we're doing and see what we can do that will offer value to them, because what we're doing isn't. And again, I'd say, of what I've seen in terms of participation rates, what we're offering seems to be valuable to people. And I think that comes from transparency and knowing that I feel like I'm going to get a real answer about something, really valuable information.
Katelin Holloway: It's must-see TV, right? They, we're looking for rating too. We, you need to make sure that what you're doing is, is of value, because every minute is precious. And every minute lost to someone zoning out, not dialing in, not being engaged, is a minute lost in productivity or efforts towards something that is actually going to help thread that needle of ultimate company success. So, I, I think that that's a great point.You all are infamous for a few things as it relates to DEI and reporting. And so, back in, I believe, 2020, Glassdoor released two separate reports, one on diversity, equity, and inclusion transparency, and the other on pay equity. Now, let me be very clear, when I say publish, this is not just for your team internally. You all published these externally on your website, which is a big deal. That is not normal. Tell me why and how you got to that decision, and, and the impact that's had on the organization.
Danny Guillory: Sure. I think it just goes, again, to our core principles. And what I've noticed from many years in general in this field is that populations that really value diversity, equity, and inclusion value companies that share whatever they can about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the experiences that people are having, whether they're good, whether they're ambivalent, or whether they're in the area of needs to improve. So, I can tell you, at many organizations I've been in, I've had candidates who were thinking about roles with whether it's here at Glassdoor or whether it was Dropbox, whether it was Autodesk, reach out and talk about what we were sharing as a reason why they were interested in the company and why they were considering us versus another organization. So, again, you attract kinda what you put out. So, if you value diversity and you show it by sharing the story, then I think you're going to, you're going to attract the people that you want who are supportive of it.The second thing is that it's extremely powerful and extremely important for underrepresented groups to have as much information is passed, because we have typically not been privy to it, whether it was formal or whether it was informal. And that has a disparate impact on the experience and the opportunity that groups have. So, to me, it's a powerful stake in the ground to go ahead and do something like that and hopefully have other organizations be fast followers if they're not doing it already. I'd like employees to ask, "Why aren't you doing this if they are?" That's what I want. I think that brings up all of us. So, I'd rather lead on things like this rather than be behind.One thing I do have to say to clarify is that I was not here when that decision was made. So, I can't take credit it for it, Katelin. [laughs] But it's one of the reasons it's the kind of, it's something that I saw and attracted me to the organization and made me want to come. Because, I knew that that was the kind of position they took well before I even got here. They didn't need me to encourage them to do it. They had already done it on their own, which is great, because then the opportunity coming here is just to continue to raise the bar.
Katelin Holloway: So, talk to me a little bit more about how this public accounting of your, specifically, your DEI efforts, how does that actually shape how you and our team operate?
Danny Guillory: As I think about diversity, I feel like the public accountability is more a vehicle for people who resist rather than people who are proactive about it. So, to me, if I'm in a organization where there are people resistant to efforts that we're making ground diversity, the fact that we're sharing this publicly on a regular basis with the organization creates kind of a. You know, there's the carrot or the stick. And sometimes people need the stick to get started. And so, that's where that can be used.For me personally in the work that our diversity, equity, and inclusion team is doing, they really don't need it. And I'd say, the executives we're working with to make their strategic plans for their business units really don't need it. I think they're coming to us asking us, "What can we do? How can we help? What do you want?" So, our role really with them is guiding them to be really thoughtful and strategic, and think about how diversity, equity, and inclusion are weaved into all parts of the organization.I mean, in addition to the work internally, that's how we ended up weaving it into the work that we do externally, like coming up with the Equity Xray, which is really one of the first reports where we identified the experiences that different groups are having in an organization. And that's something that's really new. And what was responsible, or at least the genesis of that were our employee resource groups actually, and talking with our product teams to say, "Hey, there are some experiences that we think consumers out there might find valuable. There's an opportunity here for us." So, I wouldn't say that the public-facing aspect of things has necessarily been something that's driven what we do internally for our employees. But where we have thought about it is, what else could people consume that would help them around diversity, and equity, and inclusion, whether it's examples of companies that are doing great practice with respect to equity as well as ways to understand what the experiences of other groups are within an organization.
Katelin Holloway: What I'm hearing is publishing this externally is actually just the exhaust of a machine, a beautiful machine. You're doing this work not to post it and have the, the saying, saying, "We're doing this, look at us, look at us." You're saying, "These are the results of the work that we are doing that we do every day and it's integrated into every part of our business. This is one way in which we can show and demonstrate," and again to all of the reasons as to why that is potentially helpful to your organization, and what I think is a differentiator. But it really is just the exhaust of this incredible system that you all are, are building together. And I'm also glad that you brought up the Equity Xray. Can you tell me a little bit more about the Equity Xray?
Danny Guillory: Sure. I would say our employee resource groups were one of the real drivers of this at Glassdoor is that the experiences of underrepresented groups hadn't been necessarily well-represented. It's difficult to weed through a set of generic pieces of information and understand which one of those are relevant to my identity group potentially, or one of the things that might be unique to my identity group. Because, there are experiences that some people have, and that's great, but they may not be the same as a particular group. And so, that's what the Equity Xray is really designed to do.It's where there's enough data where there's a critical mass of data in an organization, it's able to give you the experiences of different demographic groups within that organization. And to me, that's powerful, particularly as a candidate, in terms of understanding where might be a good fit for me. Our goal, ultimately, is both for employers and employees to... Well, employees to find a place that they love, potential employees, candidates. And for employers to get candidates and employees who want to be there. So, our goal is really to make that match perfect. And so, the more information, the more detail, the more texture that I can get, the greater the likelihood of a better match that will last long-term for all of.
Katelin Holloway: It is so cool. For those of you listening in, if you haven't checked this thing out, it is, it is cool. I will ask you one last question, which is, just more generically, do you have any advice for chief people officers, heads of people, you know, people managers, people leaders, who are looking to make progress specifically around transparency, accountability, or their DEI efforts?
Danny Guillory: The number one piece of advice that I would have with respect to transparency is don't be afraid.
Katelin Holloway: Mm.
Danny Guillory: It will seem like a hard and challenging thing. But as a forcing function, first of all, it makes me ask a different set of questions whenever I'm trying to role something out. And secondly, I always go to the principle of I believe, in a lot of organizations, people are gonna find out most anything anyway. And so, I might as well be the one to tell them, whether it's good or bad or indifferent, rather than them finding out a piece of it, and then creating their own story behind it, versus me being able to share the whole story from the beginning and have them understand. And so, I think the biggest, and this would actually apply to diversity and accountability to, is I think a lot of times we're afraid to be bold and sometimes underestimate, I think, what people are capable of and what people can do. That doesn't mean that it will be easy, so I'm not saying, at all, that it's easy, particularly if I'm turning the ship around from a direction that it's been in, in a long time. So, this is not to say it will be easy.Things like, things like transparency and diversity, huge cultural changes like that are always hard to begin with. So, if you're talking about effort, it's one of those curves where your going uphill for a while, but once you hit it and start to go downhill, um, then I think you see the benefits of it. Don't be afraid in the long-term and embrace what will be the long-term benefits of it, even though it may be a little bit of a bumpy ride to start if you're making a significant cultural change.
Katelin Holloway: Write that down, listeners. [laughs] Wise, wise, words. It ain't gonna be easy, but it is going to be worth the effort. So, go ahead and be bold.All right, Danny, are you ready for our rapid fire section?Danny Guillory: I don't know. We'll find out Katelin. Let's go. [laughing]
Katelin Holloway: I know for fact you've got this. [laughing] Okay, question one, I'm gonna do a softball. What is your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
Danny Guillory: Uh, swimming. Hit the pool, swim, and sauna, definitely.
Katelin Holloway: Nice. Nice. Okay, we're gonna go up in difficulty here a little bit. What is the one quality all great people leaders have in common?
Danny Guillory: Hmm. Empathy.
Katelin Holloway: Yes. Nailed it. [laughs] And finally, when was the last time you were deeply proud of something you've accomplished?
Danny Guillory: Actually, just today.
Katelin Holloway: Yes.
Danny Guillory: Just today. I'll, I'll share it real quickly. I had an employee who came to me recently, not, not one of my direct reports, but I had somebody who came to me who is in a really important role, and said they had a competing offer and wanted to leave. And we have a pretty consistent policy of not doing dives and saves, meaning that we think we pay people fairly and that if they decide they want to go then they should. We understand that changes like that happen. It's not a, not a value judgment or anything like that.And there were a couple things that we did, but the main thing that I spoke with her about was career and the things that I thought I could help to participate in of her growth and development. And frankly, I thought she was gonna leave. And she talked to my CEO, and she told me CEO that she decided to stay, and a lot of it was because of her confidence in the discussion that I had had with her about really thinking strategically, and thoughtfully, and proactively about her own career development. And that, to me, was something that... It surprised me but made me very happy.
Katelin Holloway: I love that. Well, we're proud of you too. That's a big deal. That's a big deal. [laughs] And it, it really demonstrates that, that words matter, and relationships matter, and belongingness matters, because that exhibited all of those things. To feel that sense of don't leave, no.
Danny Guillory: And I think, Katelin, what I was just gonna add is that what I've found in my work, whether it was general human resources or whether it was diversity, what I've always found what keeps me going is the individual stories like that. Those are the ones that I really remember.
Katelin Holloway: Right. This is why we love the work that we do, and, and our audience inclusive. Danny, this has been such a gift of a conversation. Thank you so much for spending the time with us today. We are absolutely honored to have you on the how. And I cannot wait for our audience to listen in. So, thank you so much for sharing so generously.
Danny Guillory: Thank you so much, Katelin. I really appreciate the invitation and had a great time.
Katelin Holloway: All Hands is produced by Lattice in partnership with Pod People. Special thanks to our production team, Christine Swor, Annette Cardwell, Rachael King, Aimee Machado, Hannah Pederson, Danielle Roth, David Swick, Carter Wogahn, and Michael Aquino. I'll see you next time on All Hands. Until then, my friends, please keep leading authentically.