Do you want your employees to be more engaged, energized about their work and stay in your company longer? A key component to making that happen is transparency. Transparency, as used in business and defined by Wikipedia, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.
In order to discuss Transparency we have to begin with discussing Trust. It has been proven time and again how important it is to relationships to have trust. So, why would it be different in employee relationships?
For example, suppose that you hear through the grapevine that your company has lost some of your best clients. Without all of the information regarding goals, current financial data and standing, you start to fear that the company is going to close. Suddenly, you’re anxious as you arrive and leave from work, not knowing if the doors will be closed in front of or behind you one day. You’re so concerned that you start to look for other positions, taking your focus further away from your current position and leaving you with very little, if any, creativity or innovation.
All of the above could be solved with one conversation. That conversation could be the business leader letting everyone know the current financial standing of the company. That conversation could include a visual presentation of the financial data. That conversation could simply be the boss saying, “don’t worry, you’re not going anywhere, YOU ARE SAFE”. It could even be, “I can’t tell you what things will look like in two years but I can tell you right now, everything is fine.”
That kind of disclosure suddenly produces an employee who is lighter, more grounded, less anxious and at peace. They feel safe. They feel the lines of communication regarding this important topic are now open and they can trust that IF anything were to happen, they’d know because you’re willing to shed light on the subject, taking them out of the perpetual dark world of “what ifs”.
This sense of trust and safety that transparency fosters can be reached even further beyond the disclosing of financial status and beyond the goals and missions of the company by openly admitting mistakes. If that just made you cringe ask yourself, what is so bad about CEOs, leaders, management teams, sharing mistakes that have been made? In fact, didn’t we all learn how to walk by falling? Why is it so different? Don’t let the ego get in the way of these amazing teachable moments.
As a business leader, be honest about individual and collective mistakes. Not only will this help others to learn and grow in your company at an increasingly rapid rate because mistakes won’t be repeated, this will also give everyone permission to be more open about their own individual learning process. CEOs are human too and your employees will respect and trust you even more knowing that to be true. If you’re still cringing, a little hint to help you admit your defaults is to use humor. That will lighten it up for everyone involved.
When employees can trust that the leadership will be open and honest with them, they can trust the leaders themselves, making it a healthier relationship. Furthermore, it promotes belief and optimism around the company’s success as a whole.
As a quick recap, here are steps you can take to make transparency a key component in your company’s employee engagement:
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Open, clear and honest communication around:
Company goals and mission
Make yourself available for conversations and clarification
Include your employees in the decision making processes [/message]