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Sharing is Caring - Nurturing a culture of Transparency

Posted: 21 October 2015

Transparency has become more, well, transparent. Over the years, it's become the desired employer/company attribute but there was a time when leaders did their things and their employees left well alone. Not anymore. The gap between leaders and employees has tightened and employees are figuring out their true place in the knowledge food chain. Today's workforces want honesty, input and more effective systems of transparency put in place. And quite rightly so.

Transparency can be a tricky concept for some employers to grasp. Knowing exactly what and how to tell their employers can be tough, especially at bumpy business times. It’s not about cherry picking your times to be transparent, it’s about creating a consistent culture and new approach to the sharing of all information whether it’s good, bad or ugly. Creating this ‘system’ of free flowing, honest info doesn’t have to be complex or disruptive. It can be as simple as you want/need it to be, a little goes a really long way where transparency is concerned. Here’s some simple ways to inject transparency into the core of your company culture.

Why do I need transparency in the workplace?

If you’re still on the fence, don’t be. Transparent workforces are happier workforces, it’s a fact, so if you’re still holding back on your team it could cost you big time. Let’s win you over with some quick-fire reasons to hop on the honesty bang wagon.

  • It builds trust - Is there any better reason than this? If your employees trust you, they’ll work harder for you. Simple.
  • It champions collaboration and loyalty - If your team feel that their ideas and feedback will matter they will take a more active role in your business. It also means that whether things are good or bad, your employees know where they stand and can be a great problem solving asset and form of support in tough times.
  • It creates stronger relationships - Which lead to better retention and reputations. Sharing knowledge breeds feedback which increases change which helps employees feel they are a real part of your business. Transparency forces managers and leaders to really work with their employees in a meaningful, impactful way. And therein lies better work performance. Win win.

Transparency tips & tricks

Like I said, you don’t need to create massive new procedures or systems to welcome transparency into the workplace. Just create a handful of best practice habits and build up from there, your employees will soon appreciate your honesty efforts.

  • Be a personal patron

Start championing transparency personally first. Use your social channels or personal blog to talk honestly about your goals, experiences etc. This sets the bar and invites your employees to invest in you as a person, it then makes it easier for them to buy into your company wide ethos to transparency.

  • Share objectives and keep them in the loop

Set transparency goals for yourself. Share your wider company goals with your employees and keep them updated on how your progress is going, be it positive or not. Positivity is infectious. If you come at negative or bad news with a healthy attitude, your team will follow you.

  • Get a better feedback system in place

Feedback means nothing if changes aren’t implemented as a result. The best way to show the value of transparency is to illustrate that your employee’s honesty and time will be taken onboard and utilised. Don’t just invite and embrace feedback, create a visual chat room or place where these thoughts can be noted and discussed.

  • Hold team-wide and one-to-one meetings

If you’re serious about transparency you need to put more face-to-face time in. Share big and small pieces of news openly and invite discussion. If you’re just starting out on your transparency journey, hold a seminar in the office that runs over what this means and how your employees can get involved. It’s a project that takes time and commitment so let them know what your expectations are.

  • Become a context expert

Sharing info successfully is about context. It’s all very well saying they can have access to all the info they want, but if they can’t make sense of it you’ve failed them. Give them plenty of background info and context to everything you share with them, help them understand. Praise and reward tough questions and encourage your team to speak honestly.

Transparency is about more than holding your hands up to mistakes. It’s about having a 24/7 attitude to the sharing of information in good or bad times. There should be no ‘need to know’ approach in existence anymore. Employees are expected to invest their time, passion and future into your business so they deserve to be privy to the realities within it.

Do you like this stuff? Then join over 21,000 other awesome people who get tips on improving their employer brand, recruitment, marketing and the odd spot of career advice delivered directly to their inbox from me! @markbevans