Sharing TMI to Drive Transparency

The public in general is seeking more transparency from any one or any company with which they do business. Initiatives such as the #metoo movement, various whistleblower actions and pressure from special interest groups on large corporations to alter a business practice have highlighted that change can happen if you keep the spotlight on something long enough.  

It’s no surprise then that employees are seeking even more transparency from their employers around diversity and inclusion progress, sustainability practices and CEO pay. What is different is that employees are not just demanding transparency, they are creating transparency by releasing and sharing their own and company information. 

At one time or another you have likely invoked the acronym “TMI” (Too Much Information) when someone has shared information with you that may be pushing the boundaries of good etiquette. The concept of what was once considered to be TMI will change as employees share personal information more freely to benefit the broader good. 

For example, speaking about your compensation to anyone other than your manager was once considered to be taboo. Not anymore. Employees are defying traditional norms and sharing compensation information for themselves and others for the purpose of forcing transparency and eliciting action from their employer.  

Recall the public outrage when fans of the Netflix series The Crown, learned that Matt Smith who played Prince Phillip in the first two seasons had been paid more than Claire Foy who played Queen Elizabeth. A similar situation occurred when it was leaked that Michelle Williams was not reimbursed for reshooting scenes from the film “All the Money in the World” but her co-star, Mark Wahlberg was paid for the additional work.  

The idea of what constitutes TMI will be left behind as employees showcase what they believe to be bad business practices. Furthermore, lawmakers will continue to put pressure on corporations for what they see as non-transparent practices. Currently, nondisclosure agreements are coming under pressure from lawmakers with an eye towards abolishment. Employers should stand ready for this onslaught of public scrutiny brought about by their own employees. My prediction is that we will see more employees releasing what was has traditionally been viewed confidential information into the public domain to drive change.