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Culture and Engagement

How to create a culture of transparency in the workplace

If you haven’t already discovered, transparency is a crucial factor in building trust between employees, managers, executives, and stakeholders.  So what does transparency really mean? And how can we get better at it?

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Transparecy in the workplace
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There are a lot of misconceptions relating to transparency in the workplace. 

Misconceptions about what transparency is, whether organizations are doing enough, and even if transparency is necessary. 

If you haven’t already discovered, transparency is a crucial factor in building trust between employees, managers, executives, and stakeholders. 

So what does transparency really mean? And how can we get better at it? 

What is transparency?

Transparency is defined as a philosophy that promotes open and honest communication in the workplace among employees at all levels of an organization. 

Transparency is an important aspect of any workplace as it helps to build trust and credibility among employees and creates a positive work culture. When a workplace is transparent, it means that information, decisions, and actions are open and honest, and everyone is aware of what is happening within the organization. 

In a transparent workplace, leaders typically commit to:

  • Sharing successes and failures
  • Providing consistent feedback to reports
  • Including employees in the decision-making process
  • Explaining reasons behind big decisions
  • Updating employees on key business metrics

But transparency isn’t just about leaders. It’s also about employees. And in a transparent workplace, employees aim to: 

  • Admitting to mistakes
  • Proposing new ideas
  • Being accountable to project deadlines and roadblocks
  • Asking for help when needed

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Benefits to transparency

Here are some reasons why transparency is important in the workplace:

Builds trust and credibility 

When a workplace is transparent, employees trust their colleagues and leaders more. This is because transparency shows that everyone is open and honest, and it creates an environment of mutual respect and understanding. 

Encourages collaboration and communication

Transparency also encourages collaboration and communication among employees. When everyone is aware of what is happening within the organization, it becomes easier to work together on projects, and people are more likely to share ideas and feedback. This leads to a more cohesive and productive workplace.

Increases accountability

When a workplace is transparent, employees are more accountable for their actions. They know that their decisions and actions will be open for scrutiny, and they are more likely to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization.

Fosters innovation 

Transparency also fosters innovation within the workplace. When employees are encouraged to share their ideas and feedback, they are more likely to come up with innovative solutions to problems. This can lead to new products, services, and processes that can help the organization to grow and succeed.

Improves employee satisfaction 

Finally, transparency can improve employee satisfaction. When employees are aware of what is happening within the organization, they feel more connected to the company and are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. This can reduce turnover while creating a positive work culture.

How to create an nurture transparency in your organization

Transparency doesn’t come naturally to all of us. In fact, for many, it requires self awareness, effort, and a conscious decision to be transparent. Here are some actionable steps you can take today to move toward transparency in your organization. 

Open communication channels

Create a space where employees can share ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback in a safe and open environment. This can be done on your intranet through discussion boards, team spaces, news announcements, etc. By providing a forum for employees to voice their opinions and concerns, you’ll help foster a culture of transparency and open dialogue.

Remove barriers to accessing company data

Do your employees know where to find mission statements, town hall meeting minutes, sales reports, or new employee information? By making this information readily available to employees, you’ll help build trust and create a sense of ownership throughout the organization.

Make it simple for leadership to communicate

In addition to creating open communication channels and providing access to important data, it’s also important for company leadership to use the intranet as a tool for communication (see our example below). This could mean sharing regular updates on company performance, outlining future plans and goals, or even just sharing personal stories and experiences. By using the intranet to communicate with employees on a regular basis, you’ll help build a sense of community and trust throughout the organization.

Transparency examples worth emulating

ThoughtFarmer customer PCI has one of the most incredible examples of transparency that we have ever seen. Their CEO and President Drew Clancy blogs every single day and shares it on their intranet. Recognizing the value of complete transparency and authenticity, he also makes himself available to everyone at PCI.  Through a section on their intranet called Drew’s Red Button, anyone in the company can submit an issue or question to Drew directly. 

To further maintain transparency, PCI created a section on the intranet that contained weekly CEO Council Meeting Minutes, the COO’s Monthly Operating Letter, and meeting results. They also record their virtual quarterly business meetings and post segments of the video so anyone who missed the meeting can watch it on demand. 

FirstBank is another great example of transparency. With a strong focus on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) the financial organization relies on their intranet to help them stay accountable and authentic. All their DEI work is accessible through the top navigation on their intranet, and through its own intranet page. They also ensure that their DEI news and videos are featured on the homepage carousel, which has increased traffic to the DEI page.

In conclusion, promoting transparency is essential for building trust within your company, and your intranet software can play a critical role in making it happen. By creating open communication channels, providing access to important data, and using the platform as a tool for leadership communication, you’ll help foster a culture of transparency and open dialogue throughout your organization.