June 15, 2021
Company Culture 22 August 2017
How to Promote and Maintain an Open and Transparent Workplace
Zinny Allen-Obayagbona
Photo by Breather on Unsplash

I'm fortunate to have worked in a number of workplace settings, and the ones I loved the most were the ones where the organization made it a duty to keep employees informed at all times.

I loved it for two reasons: Firstly, because I'd never be caught unaware. Secondly, because it showed and meant that they cared about us. 

The company wanted to keep us informed of every stage or process we were going to make because quite honestly, at the end of the day, irrespective of our positions, we were all working as a team!

And what better way to succeed as a team other than to provide team members with relevant information?

Evidently, transparency builds trust between employees, management and even your clients to an extent.

Look at it this way: your clients want to do business with a company that values its employees. Otherwise, how can they trust that their needs would be effectively managed?

Think of it for a second. Wouldn't you want to be in an environment that has honest people? Wouldn't you want clarity and no sugar coating from people you see and work with on a daily basis?

It makes perfect sense! Truth is, there can be some issues with trying to implement transparency, but the positives of promoting transparency in the workplace surely outweigh the negatives.

So here are a few quick tips to get you started:

1. Constant communication

Schedule regular meetings with members of your team as well as management where you can discuss the success or down times of your company.

Encourage employees to share ideas and observations and just don't end it there. Be willing to implement it.

It's saddening when some companies hold these meetings only to trash ideas of employees. It's not encouraging and will hinder other employees from communicating their ideas or challenges.

I just had a similar meeting a few weeks ago and I must say that it felt productive to hear members of our team brainstorm several ways to move our company forward.

If you feel that anonymous suggestions will be better, to uphold confidentiality, then start implementing it right away!

Some employees may feel too shy to come forward and it’s okay to encourage effective communication by allowing anonymous input from them. It may help encourage transparency with time.

Also, provide feedback to employees on the ideas that they have communicated to you on an ongoing process.

2. Be willing to share good and even bad news

Who doesn't love to know some good news? I certainly love to hear positive stuff!

In the business world, it may not always seem that way. That’s quite understandable for several economic factors.

I discovered the importance of not withholding information, whether good or bad when I was working at a past company. I had a manager that to this day remains one of my favorites for his managing style.

Our manager would call us aside for a quick weekly meeting, start out with the bad news and end the meeting with any positive reports or results.

I felt it was good to do because it steered us up in the right direction. We were aware of the financials at any given point in time and knew areas that needed improvement. This helped motivate us to work hard.

Employees aren't encouraged when they are under the impression that things are being said behind closed doors. These are things that may affect them in the long run - and they can help with stopping negative things from happening!

Spare yourself the trouble of employees gossiping and making up the worst assumptions by letting them know early on about the company's situation.

What's important is that you don't let your employees panic. Rather, you are upfront about problems and also sharing some good feedback on the side no matter how little. 

However, you need to take into consideration whether divulging any information will do more harm than good. You don't want to raise any false alarms!

3. Be inclusive

To maintain and promote transparency, you should be willing to include all levels of employees when sharing information. If the information-sharing gap is too wide, that's not a good sign.

Some management staff are of the belief that certain information should be shared only among a particular set or category of employees. Looking at this from a different perspective though, it could create distrust and insincerity among employees at lesser ranks. This group (which you have failed to disclose information to) would feel unfairly treated.

What is worth doing, is worth doing well. If you'd want to promote a transparent workplace, then go about it in a more mature manner that proves fair to everybody.

Transparency shouldn't be something too difficult to implement in the workplace, start with a plan and go on from there. Also, one wouldn't expect to be up on everyone's business, be conscious of when to draw a line on sharing too much information.

How do you maintain and promote transparency in your workplace? For more tips, visit ProSky's blog and subscribe to get weekly updates.

Zinny is a human resources enthusiast with a law background. She dropped her law degree to start a career in human resources. She enjoys writing and continuously writes articles that provide leading practical solutions to help workers with self-development, motivation, and passion towards their job or work-life. She also writes articles that are of importance to employers. Visit her blog: www.zinnyfactor.com to find out more.