As a communications company, we are big proponents of transparency in the workplace. Transparency is about building trust. It’s about creating an environment where employees not only understand the bigger picture, but have concrete insight into how their individual efforts contribute to the company’s goals and objectives.
Sounds good, right? But what does that look like – and how can you implement it in your organization? Here are six ways to put transparency into play at your workplace:
Regular Team Meetings
Establish, and prioritize, a regular meeting each week during which managers and team members have an open dialogue. Oftentimes team meetings can become lower priority, and pushed off or canceled when other issues come up that demand your attention. Let that be the exception, not the rule – your team is important and it’s critical that you give them the attention they deserve. Use a dedicated team meeting time each week to share company updates, recognize team members for jobs well done, and give each colleague an opportunity to share what they’re working on and to ask any questions. Looping your team in on the higher level initiatives at the company will provide invaluable clarity. It gives employees a chance to provide input and feedback, and a renewed ability to look at the work they’re doing through the lens of achieving overarching goals. It also ensures that everyone understands and is working toward top priorities.
Provide managers with weekly talking points, or a digest of key topics to cover, for use in team meetings. This will help to align messaging and give ideas for what teams should discuss.
Ask For, and Act Upon, Feedback
Weekly meetings are a great time to ask your team for feedback, but you also want to provide a more anonymous method for employees to communicate their thoughts or concerns. Some colleagues may be less open to sharing their thoughts in a public forum, or may have sensitive concerns that they may not be comfortable speaking to directly. As a manager, it’s important to get an active pulse on how employees are feeling, their concerns, and any suggestions for improvement. Gather feedback through a confidential survey platform like Glint, create an anonymous email box, or even add a physical “suggestion box” to your workplace. Be sure to share with your teams that types of feedback you’ve received, and discuss how and when action will be taken to address the feedback. It’s key that employees feel that their voices are heard and valued, and that improvements are prioritized.
Ensure that your overarching communication plan includes surveys, town hall meetings, roundtables, or other forums for gathering feedback and questions.
Be Open and Honest
Above all, communicate openly and honestly with your team. Withholding and hiding information quickly leads to feelings of distrust and opens the door for false narratives to begin. Avoid that type of situation completely by giving employees access to information and addressing things likes profits, losses, and organizational changes. Openness and honesty goes a long way towards defusing potentially sensitive situations.
Commit to providing truthful answers to employee questions. If you do not readily have an answer, let your employee know it’s a good question and you will circle back with an answer. If the question lends to private information that cannot be shared, explain the situation honestly.
Hire Candidates Who Value Transparency
Build the importance of transparency into your company’s core values, and communicate your philosophy early in the hiring process. In candidate interviews, discuss what transparency means to the applicant to ensure they are a like-minded fit for your organization. Bonus: communicating your company’s dedication to building an open and transparent workplace may lead to increased candidate interest.
When a new employee is hired, have them share with team members their thoughts on transparency. Encourage two-way dialogue around how to accomplish success.
Empower Employees to Make Decisions
Make sure that top priorities are clearly communicated, and then trust your employees to make decisions accordingly. Trusting your employees and giving them the power to call some shots is highly motivating, and generally leads to employee growth and increased accountability. If you’re hiring the right people, you should be able to delegate responsibility and decision-making authority to them. This also helps reduce bottlenecks that can arise when every little decision awaits managerial approval.
Announce top priorities and post them in a dedicated place that colleagues can easily reference when making decisions.
Utilize Tools that Support Transparency
Give your team tools that facilitate the sharing of information. At Craft Impact, we use Basecamp, which allows team members to organize documents and information, assign tasks, make announcements, and communicate with one another seamlessly. The last thing you want is for employees to waste precious time searching down information, protocols, and team members for answers. Give your team tools that connect individuals across locations, teams, and departments so that information can be found easily and issues can be solved quickly.
Set your team up for success by ensuring that managers and colleagues are trained on tool capabilities and how to best use them.
Breaking down barriers and instilling a culture of transparency is key to building an organization of engaged, loyal, and motivated employees. To further discuss how you can bring transparency to your workplace, drop us a line.