Creating Transparency in the Workplace
Organizations that are more transparent with their employees tend to be more successful. This is because an open and transparent working environment instils a feeling of value among employees and encourages them to contribute and share more. In short, it fosters a type of culture that allows employees to communicate openly and effectively.
One of the best methods for creating transparency in the workplace is through transparent communication. But what is transparent communication?
What is Transparent Communication?
Transparency in business doesn’t have a fixed definition. However, it can generally be described as a situation where honest, two-way open communication exists between employees and management. When transparency is a part of an organization’s culture, it creates a feeling of trust and value among employees.
Transparent communication is something that you either have or you don’t. In organizations that have it, you will see team members:
- Openly communicating and sharing information,
- Providing and embracing feedback to and from one another,
- Admitting to and learning from their mistakes, and
- Clearing up conflicts and spats rather than letting them drag on.
If in your own organization your team members do the opposite of these things—e.g., withholding information for their own professional benefit—then you probably don’t have an overarching culture of transparency.
Fortunately, this is something that can (and should) be fixed. Organizations today are embracing transparency more than they ever have before, and it’s a trend that is likely to continue and become a defining feature of the modern-day company.
Benefits of Communicating Transparently
The reason that transparent communication is likely to continue being encouraged by organizations is because of the many benefits it delivers. These include:
Trust and Value
As we already touched on, transparent communication naturally instils a feeling of trust and value among employees. This is because in a transparent organization, employees feel safer communicating things honestly not only between themselves but with management, too.
Encouraging employees to freely express their thoughts, feelings, and feedback reduces the chance of people covering up mistakes, blaming one another when something goes wrong, and withholding information that could benefit the organization.
Fewer Barriers to Innovation
Transparent communication helps to promote employee engagement and productivity and discourages information hoarding, something which can be a big problem at larger organizations or those operating in technical fields where skilled employees are gatekeepers to specialist institutional knowledge.
When information is shared openly rather than withheld for personal or professional gain, employees collaborate better, solve problems more effectively, and innovate more. This naturally helps to grow the organization’s bottom line.
Better Engagement and Retention
Transparent communication helps set things up for employee recognition, which itself leads to more employee satisfaction and better engagement and long-term retention. Indeed, engagement itself is essential for establishing and maintaining a positive organizational culture.
Employee recognition should go further than rewarding employees with gift cards and boxes of chocolate, though. Recognition should spell out how employees have contributed to the organization and how these contributions have helped it achieve its core objectives.
Helpful Tips for Promoting Transparent Communication
There are many different ways you can approach transparent communication. It’s very much a spectrum. Some organizations go all the way in making sure that there are no secrets. This means feedback, complaints, employee salaries, and more are out in the open for all to see.
Meanwhile, other organizations take a more nuanced approach and select things they think are relevant, i.e., still being open information pertaining to company operations but keeping information like salaries confidential.
Here are some helpful tips for how you could go about promoting transparent communication in your organization:
1. Place Trust in Your Employees
As you’ve probably noticed by now, trust is essential when it comes to transparent communication. Although it may seem obvious why, many organizations still underestimate the importance of trust and fail to build it properly within.
Trusting your employees gives them some autonomy that allows them to begin making decisions on their own. This lends itself to transparency because these employees are no longer being ‘spoon-fed’ and micromanaged as much, and thus they are more likely to communicate, share information, ask questions, and provide their feedback.
2. Hold Regular Team Meetings
This is more important now—in a world where we’re all working remotely—than it ever has been before. Scheduling regular company-wide meetings gives you the opportunity to speak to everyone in the company at once and communicate any important upcoming projects, initiatives, events, and changes. It also gives employees the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
Even if you don’t have anything big to say, it’s important to stick to your regular meetings and let them become routine. In the absence of big announcements and official things to discuss, there are still plenty of activities that can be done in virtual meetings that will foster collaboration and strengthen your culture.
3. Set Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities
Building a clear, efficient organizational structure and defining everyone’s roles and responsibilities is important so that everyone knows what they’re responsible for, what their remits are, and who they should report to internally.
You can do this by creating an organizational chart with a tool like Organimi. Using our software, you can encourage transparency in the workplace by setting out a clear and unambiguous organizational structure where everyone’s roles, contact details, working hours, availability, departments, managers, and more are defined for all to see.
4. Prioritize Communication
It’s impossible to achieve transparent communication without actually prioritizing smooth and effective communication. You need to establish open lines of communication not only between employees but also between these employees and senior management where leaders can receive and act on feedback.
Open communication won’t just happen because you invite it, however. You must develop a workplace culture that naturally welcomes and encourages it. This will require—as we’ve already discussed—your employees to trust the process and know that their feedback won’t be criticized or shunned.
5. Get Everyone on the Same Page
Everyone in the organization should be on the same page—from the person at the top to the newest hire—about what the organization is doing, what its goals are, what its vision is, and what its values are. Although job roles and responsibilities may differ internally, every employee has their part to play in achieving the organizations vision, goals, and objectives, and they should therefore have a clear understanding of what these are.
By putting everyone on the same page, you can create a situation where everyone is working towards the same end result, and where every employee action is tied, in some way, to a single common goal.
Achieving Transparent Communication
Transparent communication—and indeed, workplace transparency in general—can open the doors to several benefits for your company. It improves your culture, grows your bottom line, increases employee engagement, and encourages employees to stick around for longer. With so much to gain, it’s something you should get on top of if you haven’t already.
Why not begin by building a clear picture of your organizational structure and defining everyone’s roles? This is a good place to start because it gives you a visual foundation to kickstart things. You can do this by signing up for a 14-day trial of Organimi and using our drag-and-drop org chart builder.