Transparency in the workplace is a tricky matter. As Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman nicely stated, "it comes with tremendous responsibility, but also an enormous opportunity." This responsibility and opportunity lie mostly in the hands of management and human resources. It’s up to them how much information is shared with employees and in what manner. So what are the best ways to be transparent within your business? Are you doing enough? How can you foster an open work environment that drives everyone forward?
1. Tell It Like It Is
There’s research across the board about what employees are looking for which could be debated based on the industry they are in. However, it’s clear in any industry that employees want to be in the know. Employees are most engaged when they understand what’s going on. They can add more value. When employees have the same information as senior management, they are able to adapt, create new ideas, and have an overall higher drive and motivation. Don’t just communicate the good stuff — be open with employees regarding the success and failures of the business.
2. Encourage Communication and Feedback
Transparency has the power to build relationships. Try an open door policy within teams and be vocal that employees should come to discuss any issues without hesitation and vice versa. Do you already have an instant communication method in place? Making sure employees have the right tools to access different departments or staff. It is important for effective and efficient communication. Establishing an open line of communication is also vital in employee development and retention rates, if employees feel like they have someone to talk to and solve issues with, they are more likely to enjoy their job. In addition, ask your employees for their input on current issues and create clear routines for how they can regularly provide feedback. Often employees on the front line may be the best people to troubleshoot issues.
3. Make Employees Feel Trusted and Respected
Welcoming feedback from employees and establishing open communication lines are the first steps in achieving transparency, but make sure to follow through by listening, responding, and valuing what is shared. Give actionable feedback when possible. Meetings-for-all is a trend in business that allows the entire company to listen in on company updates and high-level meetings. This demonstrates to employees that they are trusted with information which again increases the level of connection one will feel with their employer.
4. Promote Collaboration and Information Sharing
Two heads are better than one. Promote collaboration throughout the office and understand which departments should work closely with others. Think about what information is available to employees, is there more that could be added? What data helps management each day to keep goals in mind? Could it be released to all? Share from the top if possible! Employees who are informed about business operations are better able to share their ideas and contribute to company decisions that impact their careers.
5. Communicate Processes, Purposes, and Expectations
Employees will work better if they understand all processes as well as their purposes. Take the time to explain why things work a certain way. Expectations can raise the standard of work throughout the office. Make sure it’s known what is expected and then you can clearly recognize who is going above and beyond.
Overall, employees are the backbone of your company and they don’t want to be kept in the dark. If you keep them happy by being transparent, your company will propel forward. Employees will be more involved and connected, creating a stronger company.