The impact that transparency has on a business is practically immeasurable. Productivity soars, employee satisfaction increases, turnover declines and the company's culture gets stronger. Overall, transparency in the workplace is a great tool for success.
A lack of transparency, on the other hand, leads to a stressful work environment. Wrike’s 2015 Work Management Survey Report found that, for employees, missing information is a top stressor, which negatively affects job satisfaction and productivity.
How can employees feel that they have the tools to succeed and grow when they are forced to second-guess their role and that of others?
The point is, some companies are failing to communicate their values from the top down. Achievers’ report, The Greatness Gap: The State of Employee Disengagement, found that 60 percent of the 390 North America-based employees surveyed didn't know their company’s vision, and 61 percent didn't know its mission or cultural values. For those who did know it, 57 percent said they were not motivated by the mission.
Such lack of clarity leads to dissatisfaction and distrust. Only 45 percent of those surveyed said they trusted their leadership, while a little more than half said they were not happy at work, and one in every two employees did not expect to be with their organization for more than a year more.
Most companies are failing to effectively communicate their mission, vision and values. When they can get their message across, the majority of companies fail to motivate their workforce. This leads to distrust in leadership, dissatisfaction at work and the potential for lower retention rates.
This is where transparency comes in. Employees not only need to know what the company values and represents, but what is expected of them and how they can succeed.
Here are a few ways to implement transparency into your company.
Infuse values into the culture.
When an organization creates a set of core values, defines its mission and develops a detailed vision, the workforce must know about it. Values, mission and vision are the best tools for driving a company toward growth and productivity.
It’s imperative to market these tools to the workforce to help guide its members both as individuals striving for personal success and as a team striving to achieve collective goals.
Strong companies unite. They live and breathe their core values, which are deeply etched into the DNA of the organization and consistently applied to all practices. To do this, they must be proactively transparent with employees.
Market the brand internally.
Create a video that defines the company's values and tells the story behind them. The CEO and senior leaders should provide their perspectives and explain how and why those particular values were developed.
The inclusion of real-life examples to demonstrate employee actions that align with those values is also important because it sets an example and shows a framework others can refer to.
Aside from involving leadership, the video should also include team members from all levels and various roles explaining how the company's values speak to them on a personal level. Ultimately, the video should be compelling, but also friendly, welcoming and even lighthearted.
Marketing the employer brand internally with posters, newsletters and similar media will make those values consistently visible. This will encourage employee engagement and provide a clear vision for the workforce. Integrate this vision into meetings and any internal correspondence to make it a part of the culture’s language.
When employees utilize company values, celebrate them in a public manner. The staff should see when those words are put into action in an effective way.
This will show that company culture isn’t just platitudes and truisms plastered on the walls, together with trendy logos and stock photos of fake smiles. It will show that the culture is tangible and can be translated into directives and actionable steps that result in success.
Showing appreciation can range from congratulatory emails to systematic incentive programs that reward employees with simple things like gift cards, or larger prizes, such as ski lessons and spa days.
Regardless, employers should provide a channel for everyone to announce his or her successes to the entire team. This could be a gong that rings for big sales or an online message board for posting quirky, congratulatory messages. Make that channel fun, transparent and engaging.
Define success for everyone.
Integrate transparency into the entire employment life cycle, from recruiting and onboarding into retirement. Employers should be clear about the roles and responsibilities that each position requires, from the beginning.
This starts with the job description. Use it as a tool for measuring performance goals, and a tool for understanding how to coach employees to meet those goals. Descriptions can even act as incentives for employees who want to pursue career development activities to earn a promotion.
Regular evaluations are also key key to helping employees grow. Once an evaluation system is in place, make sure to follow it and offer it in a constructive manner.
Evaluations aren’t supposed to be an attack or a list of failings. They're a dialogue where both parties share their assessments of the employee's performance and offer feedback that translates to actionable steps to meet expectations. In short, evaluations are guidance tools to help employees reach their individual goals.
Talk about money.
Finally, there's that one topic about which employers so often fail at communicating effectively. Accurate job descriptions establish the range for it. Frequent performance evaluations help inform it.
This aspect of employment is one of the most important considerations for employees -- compensation.
Payscale’s 2016 Compensation Best Practices Report found that one of the top predictors of employees' satisfaction and their intent (or lack thereof) to leave is a company’s ability to communicate clearly about compensation. Employers must adopt a transparent method of discussing compensation.
Compensation should be addressed throughout the hiring process and during evaluations. Reveal median salaries to the workforce and initiate discussions about it that are reasonable and productive.
Guaranteed: Your employees will appreciate this depth of transparency.