Aside from job perks, security and incentives, employees want to be able to trust their employers. They want transparency. Defined as “easy to detect or perceive”, transparency is practically telling everyone everything, with some reservations.
It is the art of asking for and offering help. It’s the practice of fair treatment and walking the talk. It’s openness and accountability.
So, on a scale of one to ten, how transparent do you believe your organization is?
TRANSPARENCY IN THE WORKPLACE
“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
Is it a one way street, where the boss exercises it towards his/her employees, or vice versa? Or are both parties obligated to be transparent towards each other? Most importantly, are all leaders capable of and willing to practice transparency in their organization?
The workplace should be an environment where employees and managers can openly admit their mistakes. Managers that are autocratic and too full of pride to admit defeat or error will surely have more trouble with transparency.
According to a Forbes article, “The reason most leaders are not transparent is because they believe they will be viewed as less authoritative; that the credentials they worked so hard to attain will lose their power, leverage and gravitas. This is the problem with most leaders, they are not aware of the reality that exists around them. People want to relate to its leaders. People want to know that their leaders have experienced the same problems and/or how they have overcome personal hardships.”
Employees should stay up to date with happenings and not feel excluded. The more they’re exposed to the company’s standings and undertakings, the lesser the confusion and information gaps. This is one way the vision and mission of the company can be attained.
According to a 2014 Jobvite survey, “social media is an essential recruitment tool across industries.”
Glassdoor.com is a form of online evaluation for employees of their company and bosses. This website allows managers to read and respond to anonymous employee feedback. Workers can voice out their concerns honestly, give ratings and recommendations without the fear of being reprimanded for their opinions.
Buffer is another one of the most radical companies when it comes to transparency. By disclosing their employees’ salaries to the world, literally anyone with internet access and a gadget could see how much each of their employees earned.
After this big reveal, Buffer received an influx of applications. With the help of social media, transparency can help you gain new and good talent effortlessly.
For startup companies, Slack is an efficient platform that helps monitor remote employees. Open channels allow for organization of team conversations that are visible to everyone. Its privacy setting can be adjusted to ensure the security of information. Send files, discuss progress and consult with team members. Each person has a transparent view of everything that’s happening.
PROMOTING WORKPLACE TRANSPARENCY
• Activities such as conferences and meetings are a form of team building.
By sharing and giving answers or feedback, you give room for improvement and change. Many complain that regular congregations are a waste of time because their time is better off being used to carry out actual work. Don’t do away with it – just keep them short and engaging.
- Plan for informal out-of-office events.
Laughter and fun are necessary in creating a pleasant and transparent organization. If you understand your employees outside the office, chances are you’ll get along with them even better when you’re back in your working environment.
- Physical office layout
An open office set up reduces doubts, suspicion and gossip. The more open the surroundings, the more radiant and welcoming we feel. Our office is setup in a way where all of us are situated in one extensive table. We face each other when we work and can effortlessly communicate with our co-workers seating across or next to us.
From where we sit, with merely a glass separator between us and his workspace cubicle, our boss is also in plain view.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WORKPLACES WITH NO TRANSPARENCY
A majority of us are friends with our boss on Facebook and there’s nothing wrong with that. Forbes also elaborated that the digital age has allowed people to learn more about our leaders. “As such, social media has suddenly given people the permission to enter a leader’s personal space; a place they were previously prohibited from entering.”
In the book “How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor”, authors Bennis, Goleman and O’Toole mention that “The digital revolution has made transparency inevitable…Now anyone with Internet access can take on the most powerful institutions on earth”. So if you don’t want an aspect of your life exposed, then don’t post it. It’s that simple.
Some managers are hesitant to embrace transparency because they’re afraid of the violations of privacy. What they fail to remember is that we are in charge of what, how much and why we disclose certain details. Be careful with what you say. Or don’t say.
You don’t exactly have to publicize your employees’ salaries. Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s CEO advice on transparency is to “Just do a little bit. Experiment with transparency in a small way.”