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Matt Wolf on How Organizational Transparency Creates Trust at the Workplace

Matt Wolf, the CFO of ChartHop, discusses the benefits of organizational transparency, some potential challenges, and why it ultimately benefits the company in terms of stronger employee retention.

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Episode Summary

Organizational transparency is one of many buzzwords in the business world, but it can be a game changer for any company that adopts it. Executive leaders shouldn’t be afraid of being transparent with employees because it can lead to greater motivation, more trust, and improved productivity.

However, it can be a struggle to find the sweet spot between sharing and oversharing. And finance leaders can help bridge the gap and make a strategic impact by helping executive and department leaders discover their common language around the numbers and people that make the company’s growth narrative come to life. 

In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Matt Wolf, the CFO of ChartHop. They discuss the benefits of organizational transparency, some potential challenges, and why it ultimately benefits the company in terms of stronger employee retention.

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Featured Guest

Matt Wolf

CFO, ChartHop

Matt Wolf is the CFO at ChartHop, a people analytics company that is creating more connected organizations. Wolf has over a decade’s worth of experience in financial leadership, from startups to global organizations. Prior to his career at ChartHop, Wolf served as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley and the CFO of Roadster.

Key Themes from the Episode
  • Organizational transparency is a strong company asset. It's one of the best ways to generate trust and improve employee retention. When you distill information about performance and strategy down for everyone across the organization, it forces leaders to understand it on a deeper level as well.
  • Organization transparency comes with some challenges, as it opens the stage for people to ask tougher questions. Managers need to agree on how to explain something, anticipate how people may interpret information.
  • Employee retention has become more vital than ever — and organizational transparency helps keep employees engaged and satisfied. Employees feel valued due to the company showing that they trust employees with information. And when managers are proactive with gathering feedback, employees feel that their opinions have merit.

Episode Highlights from Matt Wolf

07:40 — Finance Is Another Strategic Arm of Business

“I think in some kind of traditional view of accounting or planning, it’s sort of a very cold function. And I think, my view of it is that it really seems to be another strategic arm of business. All of these things kind of point to my sort of philosophy around finance, which is that it is making sure resources are available to the organization whether that’s financial resources or team resources. And then, what are the teams doing to foster that culture?”

13:58 — Get to Know Your Business Partners and Understand Their Needs

“Knowing how teams are organized and being able to see them; knowing who’s in charge of what and what they’re working on — whether it’s tenure or whatever data you’re trying to look for — you can get a perspective on the business that you don’t normally have. And so, taking that information into a planning meeting gives you just that much more context for when people are asking for things, justifying things, or asking for feedback on whether or not they should do something. You can be going back to this strategic partner just because you have that much more understanding of the business.”

17:10 — Seeing Is Believing

“I think if they believe that they are coordinated and aligned, and they trust each other — that’s also ultimately what it comes down to, that’s where the transparency really gets to. It’s like, ‘Do I trust this organization? Do I trust this management team?’ And yes, I trust them. One of the reasons I trust them is that I see what is going on, and what I see is consistent with what I’m being told. So I think that’s a huge piece.”

28:38 — When an Employee Leaves Your Company, Team Morale Takes a Hit

“I think there’s a morale hit on teams when people leave. If you’re in an organization where people generally get along well and because we are all remote, when we get together, there are real bonds that are formed. When you lose people, you feel that.”

Full Transcript