How Well Do Your Staff Know Your Organisation’s Finances?

In: BlogDate: Oct 04, 2018By: Claire Lickman

How would your organisation be different if everyone knew the organisation’s finances in detail? In this two-minute video, Pim de Morre explains what happened in a cookie factory when the Director explained the costs that went into producing each bag and why he couldn’t give staff payrises.

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How Well Do Your Staff Know Your Organisation’s Finances?

Another interesting thing is, as we discussed before, people often don’t know the basic financials of an organisation. We went to a cookie factory where they also increased transparency. Why? Because the Director became really frustrated with how employees constantly came up to him to ask for pay rises. This might sound familiar to you as well, but he said, “We simply cannot do it.” People then went back frustrated that they couldn’t get a pay rise when they thought they made a lot of money as an organisation, so why can’t they spend more on salary?

After having heard these complaints for a long time, what he did was he said, “well maybe I have to explain to them the financial situation we are in.” So he made it very simple, he drew this big package of cookies and showed them, saying nowadays they sell these cookies for €2, and this is the cost we spend on marketing, on production, on raw materials, on salary levels, and he built up the entire cost of this package of cookies and he said, “There are two things we can do to increase your salary levels. We can either raise the price of the cookies, but we probably won’t sell enough anymore. Or, we can play around with any of the other costs we have, become more efficient in the way we work, and then we can increase your salary levels.”

All of a sudden, people understood what was going on and they saw for example, the cost of waste in the production process, and they started focusing on how they could eliminate waste as much as possible. So the interesting thing is that people were not put on training for lean or any other methodology – they themselves thought they wanted to decrease this waste and worked out how they could do that, because if they did that they would increase their salary. So people became really engaged and involved in running the organisation, simply because they understood what was going on financially, and this is something we see in a lot of organisations.

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Speaking at the 2017 Happy Workplaces CEO Conference, Pim explained that the Director of the cookie factory was frustrated by all the requests for payrises, and so decided to go through all of the costs involved in each bag of cookies they sold. This gave the team a much better understanding of the costs involved at the company, and meant that everyone could contribute ideas to reduce these.

“The interesting thing is that people were not put on a training programme for Lean or any other methodology, but they themselves thought that they wanted to decrease this waste and asked how do we do that? Because if we do that, then we could increase our salary levels.

“All of a sudden people were really engaged and involved in running the organisation, simply because they understood what was going on financially; and this is something we see in a lot of organisations.”

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About Pim

Joost, Pim, and Freek Ronner, known as “The Corporate Rebels” to their readers, are on a mission to make work more fun. They quit their boring jobs to find a solution to a widespread problem: 87% of all employees are disengaged at work.

They have travelled the world to learn from workplace pioneers by checking off their renowned Bucket List of the most innovative organisations on the planet. They will share what they have learnt from these unique workplaces, to help others create more progressive, inspiring work cultures. The Corporate Rebels have been nominated for the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Award.

Claire Lickman

Claire is Head of Marketing at Happy. She has worked at Happy since 2016, and is responsible for Happy's marketing strategy, website, social media and more. Claire first heard about Happy in 2012 when she attended a mix of IT and personal development courses. These courses were life-changing and she has been a fan of Happy ever since. She has a personal blog at

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