Creating a productive and harmonious work environment is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. If your employees feel like you’re hiding information from them, they’re less likely to work hard at their jobs. On the contrary, when you have a work environment which encourages transparency, your employees are empowered. Ideas and information are shared freely among employees of different ranks, thus making each of them feel like they’re a part of the process and not just wage slaves.
Transparency builds trust between employees and the management. If everyone’s in the loop, problems get solved quicker and the overall output of the company increases. Additionally, leaders and personnel in management positions can’t coast on the strength of their designation alone if the data shows they aren’t performing up to the mark.
That being said, creating a transparent work culture is easier said than done. Organizations are structured differently, and what works for a smaller company may not work for a larger one. Let us look at a few steps you can undertake to promote a transparent work culture in your own organization.
Encourage honesty and empower employees.
Give your employees the option to ask uncomfortable questions to members of the senior management. Whether it’s a discrepancy in the records or the timeline for a specific project, your employees should have the ability to voice their opinions. People who are working daily on a given project are more likely to spot any potential flaws or missteps.
To encourage these discussions, establish a schedule wherein employees from all ranks of your organizations are able to get together and ask each other questions. A monthly or bi-monthly meeting where you and your management team answer questions submitted by other employees is a great place to start. Additionally, you can establish a system wherein individual employees can meet with management members and people from other teams to share their opinions.
Involve your employees in the process.
Being transparent doesn’t simply mean making all of the information available to everyone. Collating and explaining what the information means is equally example. When you’re talking to people from different teams, you need to present the data they need in a form that is understandable to everyone. Ask your employees to submit suggestions about the information they want to have.
For example, information about the monthly server load may not be relevant to all of your employees, but a chart which shows the percentage of conversions will be. You can also have quarterly events where different teams talk about the work they’ve been doing and showcase some demos, wherever possible.
Train your employees to ask the right questions.
Giving your employees a voice is great, but you won’t make much progress if you’re not getting the right kind of feedback from them. Train your employees to interpret data and provide constructive criticism that is focused on the greater good. As part of this process, you should also train your leaders to respond to criticism without taking it personally.
Don’t hide bad news.
Nobody likes feeling like they’ve been excluded from something that is important to the company as a whole. If your company isn’t doing well, if you’ve lost some important clients or even if a particular project hasn’t performed as expected, let your employees know. It’s better to be clear about your failings than to let the rumor mills dictate the narrative.
Running a company inevitably means you will have to make some hard decisions that will leave people unhappy. Your employees are more likely to empathize with you when you make these decisions if you haven’t left them in the dark. Communicating bad news clearly builds trust.
There’s a catch here — you need to learn the art of delivering bad news. If you present it abruptly, you’ll create a sense of doom and gloom that isn’t helpful to anyone. Make sure your employees know what they need to, but present it to them in a way that contributes to the overall progress of the company. If your employees understand that mistakes and failures are ultimately opportunities for the company to grow, they will feel more at ease.
Transparency in the workplace is key, especially if you are an organization that is growing rapidly. By being forthcoming with information, you will empower your employees to make informed decisions that benefit them and the company. Use the above guidelines as a broad template which you can customize to fit the unique needs of your business.