There’s a basic social contract that exists between workers and their employers. Employees rely on their companies for their living and for a stable work environment where they can thrive. Businesses depend on their workforce to provide the talent and manpower necessary to develop products, serve customers and generate revenue.
It sounds simple, but this arrangement actually requires quite a bit of trust on both ends. For their part, corporate leaders must count on their workers’ honesty and integrity as they give employees access to a whole range of company resources, put them in direct contact with clients, set them to work with sensitive customer information and give them the keys to the office. For the most part, this contract works, and the corporate world keeps on running.
In fact, openness and honesty with employees – which is a natural offspring of this trust – might be even more significant than a foundation that allows basic business operations to occur. According to Fortune, transparency is a key factor in developing positive customer relationships. Part of the reason it’s so important is that greater information about the way the company is running and what its goals are can empower employees to do their jobs better, and this capability leads to better products, higher-quality service and engaged workers.
Transparency In The Workplace
In addition to being open with customers and the public about company operations, fostering greater transparency within a business can contribute to a positive employee culture. Simply demonstrating that executives and stakeholders trust their workers with information about the organization’s successes and failures, strategies and goals helps to build up that social contract of trust and responsibility. Of course, there must always be prudence in determining how much and which information to divulge to the entire company, but greater transparency tends to make a positive impact on workers.
Fortune explained that transparency involves factors such as practices, policies, algorithms, operating data and future plans. It means giving staff members the information they need to develop a deep understanding of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. This, in turn, can foster work pride and inspire innovation, loyalty, independence, positive co-worker dynamics and passion to meet common goals, the source added.
Supervisors who think their company is plenty transparent might want to reconsider. Referring to a recent poll, Forbes magazine noted that 71 percent of employees felt that their managers failed to spend enough time explaining goals and 50 percent said that their organizations were held back by a lack of transparency.
Sharing More information
One place to start is with employee engagement survey results. Many leaders collect information about their workforce by distributing questionnaires and analyzing the responses, but workers are rarely informed about the results. Sharing this data not only helps create an environment of inclusiveness and teamwork, it also brings staff members on board to help solve some of the problems they identified. Letting them know the enterprise’s strengths is a great idea, too, since it can encourage them to continue doing whatever makes the company strong.
Fortune observed that technology makes it easier for leaders to employ resources like surveys and use them as tools to increase transparency. Rather than merely soliciting feedback, the point is to develop constructive conversations about ways to improve. Welcoming employee ideas and providing avenues for them to contribute to problem-solving initiatives builds a strong business community and enables companies to benefit from the collective wealth of knowledge and brain power in their workforces.
As Forbes put it, every organization must determine how much transparency is right for its unique situation, but ignoring transparency completely is most likely a costly error.
(About the Author: David Bator is passionate about programs that move people. As Vice President of Client Strategy at TemboStatus he works with growing companies everyday and helps them bridge the gap between assessing employee engagement and addressing it with action. For the last 15 years David has worked with the leadership of companies large and small to build programs that leverage strategy and technology to deliver extraordinary value for employees, customers and partners.)
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