Trust is built upon a foundation of transparency; employees, clients and partners trust an organization that is open, honest, and clear.
For employees, transparency means having enhanced visibility into processes, decisions, and strategy that goes beyond the superficial or the “need-to-know". Access to pertinent information helps people make more effective decisions, especially in the workplace. According to Glassdoor, “when an organization is more transparent with their employees, they tend to be more successful in several areas: they have increased employee engagement, stronger company culture and [transparency] fosters a type of comfort that allows employees to freely communicate.”
Here’s a (fictional) short story about a person named Leslie. Leslie had worked in technology for quite a while when she felt it was the right time to change careers. To learn as much as possible about prospective opportunities, Leslie tried to learn as much as she could about a company, she thought she might want to work for; the problem was that there wasn’t much available on their website beyond templated copy and marketing speak that gave her no insight into what the company was really like. Leslie decided to take matters into her own hands by using other digital resources available to her, like search engines, social media, and career review websites. In the end, Leslie was able to learn enough about the company to pursue it as an opportunity. Through her search, she started to understand the culture, the objectives, and the philosophy of the company.
There are two important takeaways from this story:
1. This could easily be the real story of anyone seeking new opportunities and having to go deep to find necessary information. In Leslie’s case, she was highly motivated and did the extra work to dig up information, but not everyone – client or potential employee, has the same dedication.
2. The need for prospective employees, clients, and partners to do a deep dive to learn about your business can be avoided by being more transparent on your own website.
This doesn’t mean you have to expose every aspect of your business to the public and potentially make your organization vulnerable to competition. What it does mean is that you have an opportunity to tell your brand’s unique story in an open and authentic way, which will help you grow your business, reach the right clientele, and attract employees who are a great culture fit.
While the example above is of a prospective employee, the impact on prospective and existing customers is also significant. Forbes states that honesty and transparency can help a business see growth in its customer base. In fact, a study found that 94% of consumers questioned would remain loyal to a transparent brand.
First and foremost, you will stand out as a business that is open, honest, and authentic. When an organization is viewed this way, people have more faith in working for them (as an employee) and with them (as a partner or client).
MyHRToolKit outlined some specific benefits of business transparency which focus on relationship building with employees and improving overall workplace culture. Healthy relationships start with trust, and when your business is transparent, it “helps employees feel like they are part of something bigger. It invites them to really be a part of your business and its vision. It gives them ownership over their role, provides them with confidence in your leadership, and often means they will remain loyal to your company for longer.”
When it comes to how this can impact your workplace culture it all boils down to the environment you want to foster; a transparent culture “strengthens relationships between employees and their employers and helps nurture an environment of collaboration. Rather than fighting for a position at the top and pulling down others along the way, employees will be more likely to support their colleagues and stay motivated even when the going gets tough.”
Being transparent isn’t without its own set of challenges. When you decide to be more open about your business, that vulnerability may instill fear and skepticism – ‘have we shared too much?’ ‘Are we giving our competitors an edge?’ While these are normal concerns, a more important question to ask of your business is ‘can our brand grow and thrive without being more transparent?’
What’s important to remember is that the type and amount of transparency your business fosters are completely within your control. According to Harvard Business Review, there are very real challenges in being too transparent, but finding the right balance for your organization can ensure you’re setting the right tone and facilitating an optimal experience for everyone. They outline four categories of transparency in business:
The benefits of becoming a more transparent business vastly outweigh any potential challenges, as long as you’re mindful of what you’re being transparent about and are doing it in the interest of your team, partners and clients. The following are three ways you can encourage your company to become more transparent today:
You’ve worked hard to create an organization that offers a unique solution to a problem – make sure you’re open enough to let people fully appreciate your greatness and help make you even better.
Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.Talk to Sales