4 Reasons Why Transparency is Important

By Michael Heller

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Things wouldn't run without your employees. Afterall, they are the backbone of your company. Furthermore, the success of your company relies on their happiness, productivity, and engagement levels. Although the modern workforce is experiencing some major and minor fluxes, one thing is abundantly clear, your workers want to know what's going on. In fact, only 42% of employees have any idea what their organization’s vision, mission or values. WHAT?

Here are 4 reasons to change and ideas for how to do it.

Transparency Increases Trust

Reason: Nearly 25% of employees don’t trust their employer, according to a 2014 American Psychological Association survey. Even worse? Only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them. When you add in transparency to your everyday work with your employees they seem to be more engaged and intrigued by what is going on. Why? Because, they actually understand what is going on, now that they have the same information as you, they can help you and even have ideas for you to go off. Bonus: Employees are now a critical cog in the solution — people love adding value.

How to do it: Communicate! There is something to this radical honesty idea (communicating directly) that can be beneficial to your company. Live your (work) life by a simple rule: If you CAN tell your employees something, DO IT. Reinforce this by being upfront about their behavior and encouraging them to give you feedback on yours. Harvard Business Review’s 2013 employee engagement survey revealed that 70% of those surveyed say they’re most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy.

Transparency Builds Relationships

Reason: We’ve all heard the old adage: “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” While that’s debatable, we do know that good relationships of any kind begin with transparency. A 2014 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 37% of the 3,008 employees surveyed were likely to leave their jobs due to a poor opinion about their boss’s performance.

How to do it: Have that welcome mat in place! While an open office or an open door policy may not work for every company, it’s worth a try for individual teams.This policy or line of communication is meant for you to talk to your employees without hesitation and vice versa. The problem is you can have this “policy” but your workers might not feel like they can use it. So, don’t be afraid to step out of the office every once in awhile and go visit their desk or cubicle. Once you establish this open line of communication you will see a shift in the mood and even your company culture.

Transparency Increases Productivity

Reason: Did you know 50% of employees felt that their employers were not giving them all the information and true facts needed to be successful in their jobs? Meaning, they don’t trust you and can’t communicate with you and even worse, they are feeling like you aren’t even giving them the tools they need to do their jobs properly! Time to fix this.

How to do it: Only 42% of employees know their organization’s vision, mission or values. Could it be because leadership within a company is not communicating these or using them in everyday work? If your values are sitting in a dusty employee manual somewhere, take the time to revisit them. IRevü allows you to tie performance and feedback to each review, so employees can see them in action. Not only do they see them every time they get feedback, they see how their actions directly align (or not) with the company values.

Transparency Boosts Innovation

Reason: As a leader, your goal should be to train up your employees so they can handle bigger and more complex problems. This involves trust and transparency. In a recent HBR article, co-authors Holly Henderson Brower, Scott Wayne Lester, and M. Audrey Korsgaard write:

“Employees who are less trusted by their manager exert less effort, are less productive, and are more likely to leave the organization. Employees who do feel trusted are higher performers and exert extra effort, going above and beyond role expectations. Plus, when employees feel their supervisors trust them to get key tasks done, they have greater confidence in the workplace and perform at a higher level.”

How to do it: It’s not rocket science but when you let your employees in on company problems they will either have a solution for you or help you work on one. Plus, you will get a solution a lot faster than if you, alone, spent all that time trying to come up with one just because you didn’t want to let others know there is a major problem. Being transparent with employees isn’t a bad thing, and certainly not something of the past anymore. By sharing information you can get a new perspective, new opinions and better insight. Problems will be solved faster and more efficiently if you learn to be open and honest. The HBR goes on to list ways managers can “signal” trust:

  1. Take stock of current policies and procedures. Do they indicate trust?
  2. Give up control (wisely). If you go whole hog and let them direct anything and everything, you’ll likely have to pull it back later. Mete out responsibility and control a little at a time.
  3. Share information. If you lost your two largest clients and you can’t afford holiday bonuses, discuss it ahead of time with your employees. Don’t wait until the moment is upon you.
  4. Invest in employee learning and development.

To put all these reasons into play in your company will only benefit you. It costs almost nothing to implement transparency into the business. Be open, honest, and communicate effectively and you will see improvements. Remember that this is a team effort, keep that open door policy in place, let your employees in the loop, find those solutions and watch how work ethic can take a leap into success when you simply add in that crystal clear transparency into your business.

 

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