What is workplace transparency?
Workplace transparency involves two-way open communication between employers and their employees. When a workplace culture prioritizes transparency, there are higher levels of trust, communication and employee engagement.
Employers that don’t practice and encourage transparency will find their staff feels underappreciated, doubtful of management’s decisions and apprehensive of their future with the company. Keeping employees in the loop will make them feel valued and more invested in the company’s bottom line. As a result, staff are more motivated to both meet and exceed the company’s goals.
The benefits can include the following:
- better employee engagement and happiness
- strong and positive workplace culture
- improves communication
- better relationships between leadership and employees
- creating a culture of accountability
How do you determine if a company practices transparency?
They communicate the company’s vision and mission
Workplace mission statements might seem like fluffy statements lacking all substance that all companies have, but they are integral to the business. A transparent company will have a clear and straightforward mission that provides employees with mission statements that are honoured and won’t feel like a bunch of fluff.
When you read a mission statement, ask yourself: Can I visualize the company goals? If you can clearly identify and picture the organization’s goals, you’ll have a much easier time working toward them.
They don’t sugarcoat problems
It’s not uncommon for higher-ups to add a positive spin on any significant announcement, even if that’s far from the truth. Luckily this PR tactic can be pretty easy to spot as an employee, but that doesn’t mean it won’t diminish your trust in the company.
Things happen, and problems arise, but that doesn’t mean companies need to pretend everything is rainbows and butterflies. A good sign of a transparent company is including employees in business discussions and problem-solving. No matter how hard it might be to hear, you don’t want employers who beat around the bush when disclosing bad news.
They stay on top of information
No one likes being hit with surprises at work. You want to be kept in the loop on significant company news and changes as an employee. When practicing good transparency, company leaders should pass information on to staff shortly after receiving it. Especially when changes can negatively affect your team, they need time to absorb and process the news.
If you find that you receive critical information through the grapevine rather than company officials, your workplace probably isn’t very transparent. A delay in dispensing information can easily lose employees’ trust. Luckily there is a simple fix for this. Sending out internal memos or holding town hall meetings to address company issues can ensure employees are kept in the loop before gossip starts.
Important information is accessible to all
Social media management company Buffer’s CEO demonstrated transparency by releasing a publicly available spreadsheet that includes each employee’s pay rate by name. Buffer also revealed their formula for how they determine salaries. Making this public knowledge strengthens the trust that not only employees but also prospective employees have in the companies.
Buffer’s salary transparency works because it makes employees feel valued. Knowing Buffer’s salary formula, there is no confusion why someone might be making higher wages than you minimizing employee frustration.
Companies that uphold transparency aren’t afraid to release information like annual reports, financial data or calendars easily accessible to staff. Remember, there’s a line between transparency and confidentiality, so this doesn’t mean we should throw confidentiality policies out the window.
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