How Transparent is Your Organization?
Transparency in a business organization is important for long-term success, especially when times get tough economically. The more transparent your business can be with middle management and the rest of the employees the more dedicated your work force will be. It is hard to convince a group of employees to do something if they do not know why they are doing it. Transparency also breeds more creativity. If your employees are not aware of the problems or issues that the business is facing they cannot come up with a creative solution to remedy that problem. Most importantly organizational transparency keeps everyone on the same page and working hard to one common goal.
Alignment at the Top
Before full transparency can be achieved, the upper management team of your business needs to make sure that they see eye to eye regarding the business's long-term goals and strategies. More importantly, the top-level people in your organization need to have unified idea about what success looks like period. Aligning the top group of employees is essential because everything is going to trickle down from them to the rest of the employees and staff. The more aligned your upper management is the more transparent you business will be. According to PayScale's 2017 Compensation Best Practices Report (CBPR), 49 percent of organizations were aiming for transparency in 2017, sharing more about philosophy, practices, etc.
Organizational transparency requires communication above everything else. First, upper management, who are constantly knee-deep in big-picture problems, need to communicate these big picture organizational issues with the middle managers. The middle managers may have a decent idea of what the business is facing on a larger scale, but at the same time they are working and managing a smaller scale everyday. Communicating the issues, concerns, goals, and problems that the upper management sees with the middle management is essential for transparency and business success. Ideally you want your employees to understand the big-picture and the implications of the decisions that effect that bigger picture. A recent survey from TINYpulse states that only 42 percent of employees know their organization's vision, mission and cultural values. An alarmingly low number.
Another key component of communication is making sure that all major decisions made by the organization are clearly framed in economic terms. How does this decision effect the business economically? The important thing is to be able to explain to your employees why any decision to hire new talent, increase a salary, buy new equipment, etc is going to positively impact the business economically. Another aspect of communication is making sure that employees, middle management, and upper management know the real cost of mistakes or closures. On the flip side of that thought is explaining the potentially positive outcome of trying to do things in a more effective manner. Citing data from a 2016 survey, it shows that 25 percent of privately held companies say they share their financial information with all of their employees.
A final thought on communication is that if you want to be successful in communicating with your employees you need to but practices into place to make sure you are adequately communicating everything with them. This could be a regular e-mail, newsletter, team meetings, etc. The key is to make communication a priority and to implement ways in which vital market, business, and industry information can be shared and explained to your employees on a regular basis. Communication is the key to transparency.
Inevitably there is going to be bad news that has to be broken to the employees. If you want to really foster an environment of transparency and trust you need to make sure that you break bad news immediately. Do not go around behind closed doors and sneak around. This is just going to create an air of distrust between upper management and the employee base. No one likes bad news, but it is far easier to accept bad news if you are treated like an adult and respected as a member of the organization.
Transparency requires open and honest communication. Transparency can make your business more productive and more efficient. According to TINYpulse, transparency is the number one factor in contributing to employee happiness. Does your business pass the transparency test?
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