Transparency has been a buzzword for the past few years, namely in the workplace. So, what is “transparency”? And, why is transparency in the workplace important?
In its literal sense, transparency means “free from pretense or deceit”. Work environments can grow toxic when transparency is lacking, breeding distrust and low morale among employees. Depending on the size of your organization, full disclosure isn’t always possible. However, maintaining open communication and encouraging employees to express their thoughts (positive or negative) can prevent misunderstanding.
Transparency Promotes Trust in Leadership
Business and team leaders may feel that communicating openly is disarming, especially with information they don’t feel lower tier employees need to do their day-to-day jobs. You’re showing your cards, and therefore your “power” as a leader. Whether times are good or bad, a leader that communicates transparently will actually earn the trust of their employees. It is empowering for an organization to work together in pursuit of a common goal.
Solve Problems More Readily
Leadership may withhold information they deem confidential, such as performance or plans to sell a company. Be it a dip in revenue or structural changes, this needs to be communicated as soon as possible. Those employees that value the organization and vision will stick through the ups and downs, of which no business is immune.
Working as a team to brainstorm how to make it through the tough times can have unexpected rewards. You’re able to utilize everyone’s ideas on how to move the business forward and build working relationships in the process. A popular concept in change management is striving for employee commitment rather than compliance. Involving employees in the change process increases transparency and serves as a fundamental pillar to sustainable change in the future.
Attract the Best Employees
A transparent organization begets a collaborative environment. Environments that offer open discourse, encourage innovative ideas, and value opinions attract the best and brightest talent. When leadership challenges employees with mission-critical information, potential leaders have the opportunity to tap into their potential and take a natural lead. Move your company forward with open communication and watch for the cultural shift!
A Small Study in Eliminating Email to Facilitate Communication
A France-based IT services company, Atos Origin, has been working towards minimizing their use of email for several years now. They bought a software firm called BlueKiwi to manage their internal communications. Instead of receiving push notifications, employees were able to check into the system when they had the time. Management was also trained in how to best manage their team in a zero-email environment.
The Harvard Business Review reported that “the company has reduced overall email by 60 percent, going from an average of 100 email messages per week per employee to less than 40. Atos’s operating margin increased from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2013, earnings per share rose by more than 50 percent, and administrative costs declined from 13 percent to 10 percent.”
All this being said, Atos had the means to buy out a software firm. Regardless of your company’s resources, the goal is to always be optimizing and facilitating your process. Transparency exhibits benefits for both the company and employees, so what greater motivation is there?
Ultimately, promoting transparency is a continual practice. Show your employees that you value their input and trust them with both positive and not so positive news. You might be surprised by how they rise to the occasion. And the next time you want to solve a problem over IM or email, try speaking to them the old-fashioned way–walk over to their desk!