People often feel insecure and uncertain about their job security when they do not get information about what is happening in their company. It can lead to a lack of trust between management and employees and ultimately hurts productivity. But when managers are transparent with their employees, it can lead to a more positive work environment and improved morale. So, a workplace culture of transparency is essential for a company’s success.
What is transparency in the workplace?
In short, workplace transparency is a lack of secrets in the workplace. It is the extent to which open communication exists between management and employees. In a transparent workplace, there are no hidden agendas or backroom deals — everything is out in the open.
Employees can see what their managers and co-workers are working on and openly discuss any issues or concerns they have.
Another way to think about transparency is a lack of barriers between employees and management. In a transparent workplace, employees can talk to their boss about anything without feeling like they are crossing a line.
Managers also can be open and candid with employees without worrying about jeopardizing their authority or position within the company.
Why is transparency important in the workplace?
Transparency in the workplace builds trust between employees and managers. When there is a culture of transparency, employees feel more comfortable communicating with their managers and asking for help.
Employees also feel more engaged in their work and are less likely to hide information or protect themselves from their managers and colleagues.
There are many ways to create a more open workplace environment, but here are 14 examples of transparency in the workplace:
1. Define what transparency is to your team
Define what transparency at work looks like for you and your team. Transparency at work can mean different things to different people, so it is vital to be clear about what it means for you, your team, and the company.
It creates a transparent standard by which everyone can hold each other accountable.
2. Encourage employees to ask questions
A good manager is always available to answer questions, give feedback, and provide support as needed. When a manager makes herself accessible, it fosters a healthy relationship between you and your employees and a positive company culture.
Also, it allows employees to become more engaged in their work and motivated to do their best.
Letting employees to ask questions also shows that you are constantly looking for ways to create an inclusive work environment, which is a critical component of transparency. But above all, your employees will feel that their opinion matters to you.
3. Be honest in all dealings with clients and customers
One of the best examples of transparency in the workplace is honesty with clients and customers, both internal and external. It builds trust, which is essential for any business relationship.
Being honest with clients and customers demonstrates that your company values integrity and believes in doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. Such behavior can be a significant differentiator, especially in a competitive marketplace.
Finally, honesty in your dealings with customers fosters mutual respect, which is crucial for maintaining long-term customer relationships.
4. Be open about company finance
Employees appreciate it when you tell the truth, even if it is not what they want to hear. But it is rare for managers to be honest about a company’s finances, as this can understandably lead to employees worrying about their job security.
Also, there is a need to maintain employee morale, which can be challenging when the financial situation is challenging.
And of course, there are certain things that a manager cannot share with employees for legal or confidentiality reasons, but those instances should be rare.
You must be brutally honest with your employees to get them to understand the company’s financial situation.
5. Share relevant information
As a manager, there can be a variety of reasons why you might choose to withhold information from your employees. Perhaps the information is sensitive, and you are worried about it.
You may need further clarification on the facts and want to give accurate information. It could be confidential, and you do not want it to leak out to outsiders. Or you may think that disclosing the information would cause unnecessary panic or confusion among the staff.
While there are valid reasons for holding on to information, it is better to be transparent in most cases. Weigh the risks associated with sharing the data against the benefits of doing so.
If the benefits outweigh the risks, then it is probably in the best interest of you and your company to share the information.
6. Encourage dissenting opinions
Encouraging dissenting opinions is one of the best ways to cultivate a creative and innovative workplace culture.
When employees feel safe voicing their disagreements, they’re more likely to share new ideas and perspectives. It can lead to a more productive and open exchange of ideas and ultimately result in better problem-solving.
Read also: 16 Examples of Taking Responsibility at Work
7. Be open about your failures
Every manager has a share of successes and failures throughout their career. Many often learn from both, but most from their failures.
So, explain how much you have learned from your past failures and how those lessons helped you become the better manager you are today.
Also, share everything you are working on so that your team can see that you are just like them — you keep learning and trying to improve. You are not perfect, and there are always new learning opportunities.
Being transparent about your professional journey can make it easier for your team members to follow your example and feel comfortable being open about their own experiences.
8. Reconsider your decisions
If your employee makes a good case for why a decision is wrong or flawed, take another look at it. Of course, simply disagreeing with a decision or having a different opinion is not necessarily grounds for reconsidering a decision.
There has to be something more substantive than that, or someone needs to back up their argument with evidence or logic.
As a manager, you must consider the big picture and whether or not a different decision would be better for the team in the long run. So, even if an employee makes a valid point, you may need more than that to make you change your mind.
There are many factors to consider when making decisions, and weighing them all before committing yourself is necessary.
But you need to consider the employees’ perspective and see if there might be another way to approach the situation that could be better or benefit everyone involved. Doing that shows that you are willing to listen to others and consider their opinions.
9. Model the behavior you expect
Transparency starts from the top down. As a leader, you need to model the behavior you expect from your team. The fact is, most people will mirror the behavior of their boss or immediate supervisor.
The manager’s role is to be a role model for the team. So, if you are not being transparent, don’t expect your team to be either because they will likely follow your example.
When you model the behavior, you expect from team members, you are not only setting the benchmark for how they should function but also creating a profound level of trust.
If you say one thing and do another, your team members will quickly lose faith in you. And once you break trust, it can be tough to rebuild it.
10. Be proactive in giving updates on projects
Transparency allows for greater scrutiny and accountability, which are necessary for any initiative to be successful. Projects can quickly derail if team members do not receive up-to-date information on their status.
The circumstance surrounding a project can change rapidly, and team members need to be aware of these changes to adjust their workflow accordingly to ensure the project stays on track.
Let everyone have a clear understanding of what is happening with the project. It can help mitigate possible misunderstandings and prevent any unforeseen obstacles.
Finally, offering updates can also help to create a sense of ownership among team members and encourage them to take pride in their work.
11. Hold yourself accountable
It is challenging to be a successful manager if you cannot hold yourself accountable. And it is also easier to gain the trust of your employees if you are willing to take responsibility for your actions, good or bad.
The most effective way for a manager to be accountable and maintain trust is through transparency and consistent behavior. You must be consistent in everything you do — behaving similarly from one situation to the next.
It is essential to be authentic and honest with employees. If there are times when you fall behind on commitments, you should communicate this openly and ask for support in getting back on track. If you make a mistake, own up to it and try to learn from it.
12. Involve employees in decision-making
Allow your employees to see or participate in the decision-making process whenever possible. Employees can provide valuable insights into decisions and become more eager to implement those decisions once they are made.
There are several ways to include employees in the decision-making process. You can allow them to vote on significant decisions or participate in discussions and let them offer their input. Whatever approach you take, ensure that your employees feel they have a voice and that their opinions matter.
13. Welcome constructive criticism
Welcome constructive criticism and use it to improve team operations. No workplace is perfect, and you can open up communication with employees or other internal customers by accepting constructive criticism.
In addition, using constructive criticism to improve team operations can help demonstrate that you listen and are responsive to feedback. This can go a long way in building trust with employees and customers, both internal and external.
Read more: 13 Examples of Good Character
14. Share performance reviews with employees
Another example of transparency in the workplace is sharing performance reviews with employees. It gives employees an understanding of how they are doing relative to their goals and expectations, as well as feedback on things they need to do to improve their performance.
It also helps employees know what is expected of them and identifies potential areas of improvement.
When managers are transparent and behave consistently, they build trust over time. And that trust is essential for accountability to take place.
An open-door policy is one of the most important things you can do to foster transparency in the workplace. It shows your employees that you are available to talk to them about anything they need help with or any concerns they may have.