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Transparency in the workplace and strategies to improve it


May 15, 2024


May 15, 2024

We should always be looking for ways to improve employee engagement and buy-in – after all, a happy workforce is a productive workforce. If you want a surefire way to boost collaboration and trust in your organization, there are few better methods than workplace transparency.

However, true transparency in the workplace can be hard to achieve. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. Read on to find out more! 

Why is transparency so important in the workplace?

Workplace transparency is about ensuring that all levels of your company are open and honest with each other; it’s a commitment to open communication between employees, leaders, and employers. Transparency is one of those company values that should be at the heart of everything you do. Why?

Here are the three biggest reasons why transparency can be so important in your organization:

Increases trust in leadership 

Leadership is about much more than making decisions and ordering people around. If you want to make sure that your employees are truly buying into your leadership, you’ll need to encourage them to trust you. Only then will you have a truly effective leadership structure. 

Workplace transparency is partly about communicating honestly with employees. This transparency from leaders will build emotional connections with employees, helping them to see things from the leaders’ perspective.

people sitting on chair

More trust in leadership will have a range of benefits. Employees who trust their leaders are more likely to bring up issues, meaning you are more likely to proactively deal with problems. Similarly, it helps to create a culture where everyone is on the same page and pulling in the same direction. 

Boosts employee engagement 

It’s not enough to just have employees who have the right skills to succeed in your workplace. To get the most out of your team, you need to make sure that they are fully engaged in your project. Employees can easily get frustrated or become unmotivated if there is little workplace transparency. 

If you look at Gallup’s 12 questions for employee engagement, you’ll see that it’s clear how workplace transparency can improve engagement:

  • Expectations: if you are transparent about what you expect of your employees, they are more likely to want to meet those expectations.
  • Communication: being open when it comes to communication will make employees feel valued and part of a team.
  • Feedback: transparent feedback makes employees feel like they are developing professionally.

Improves communication and collaboration

As well as this, transparency is a brilliant way to drive productivity in the workplace. By ensuring that all of your team members have access to knowledge, you can help to encourage innovative decisions about that knowledge. 

You’ll also ensure that collaborative working is more effective if everyone works within a transparent workplace. Let’s say that if an employee wants to share some data quality management best practices – in a transparent workplace, they would feel empowered to share their ideas, helping you to benefit from these ideas. 

This also affects accountability—a workplace with a culture of open communication and collaboration will ensure that decisions are visible to all. This means that your team members will become increasingly accountable to each other, boosting the quality of work. 

man in orange dress shirt talking and sitting in front of woman on brown sofa

Transparency in the workplace: strategies to improve it within your company 

Now that you know the importance of transparency in the workplace, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you’re considering how to make your company more transparent. However, if you’re used to traditional leadership models, this can be a daunting prospect.

That’s why we’ve put together these strategies and best practices. By following these steps, you can ensure that you slowly boost the levels of collaboration and transparency in your organization.

Leading the way

It makes no sense to ask your employees to work transparently if leaders aren’t doing the same. Managers need to drive this change, starting by modeling what transparent practice looks like. 

You should be open about why transparency is important and what you hope to achieve. If you explain the importance of transparency (using some of the features that we talked about in this article), you’ll be likely to quickly get on board. 

You should also invite employees to discuss their thoughts and insights into the proposals, demonstrating the power of transparent work and increasing buy-in among your team from the very start. Show that you empathize with your employees if they raise any issues, and remember that building trust requires an investment of time and effort. 

Use information sharing throughout your business 

If you want to have an open approach to running your company, you need to work hard to avoid data silos. Data sharing will mean that all departments will be able to access the information that they need, without having to waste time trying to get access.

This will mean that you have to answer questions about why data governance is important and implement rigorous security measures. It’s worth it, though - no longer will every team work alone. Instead, they can benefit from everything other teams have learned - so, for instance, sales can use marketing’s information about their advertising campaigns, while marketing can learn from product design.

woman sitting in front of the laptop

Build transparency into your recruitment strategy 

Transparency is crucial when it comes to bringing new talent into your organization, especially if you’re at the start of a process of making the workplace more open. When interviewing candidates, clearly explain the interview process and offer the rationale for everything that you do. 

This doesn’t just relate to the hiring process – when talking with applicants, you should be transparent about each aspect of your business, from salary to benefits.. This insight into your day-to-day operations signals to candidates that you’re a truly transparent organization.

But why is it important to extend transparency to your recruitment strategy? Firstly, it highlights that your company is trusting and honest, which will attract more valuable candidates. Secondly, it will demonstrate to candidates that you expect employees to be similarly transparent, ensuring you attract people who fit into your company culture. 

Have clear expectations 

No one likes feeling uncertain about what they’re expected to do at work. A key part of having a transparent company culture is having clear and simple expectations of your employees – no one’s performance should be measured using metrics they’re unaware of, for example. 

If you really want to build trust with your employees, you might want to construct those expectations together. By including employees in the process of setting goals and targets, they’re more likely to be motivated to put the extra work in to reach and exceed those expectations.

These expectations should also be clearly relevant to the employee’s current context. If a job role changes, make sure to adapt your expectations to the employee’s new job description – this will make sure that you’re always up to date.

Empower employees 

A core part of having a transparent culture is empowering your employees to be autonomous professionals who can be trusted to perform at their highest level. You might want to offer flexibility about when they work – something that is made easier by the recent rise of working from home – and you should do everything that you can to encourage innovation.

woman placing sticky notes on wall

This can come from a variety of strategies, such as reducing the level of surveillance that employees are under. Similarly, you might want to move to a management procedure that consists of regular but infrequent check-ins rather than constant progress checks. You should also make sure that feedback includes both positives and areas for development. 

Transparency both feeds into and benefits from trust.. 

Provide practical routes to collaboration 

Without communication and collaboration, the benefits of transparency will quickly be lost. This means that you must ensure that there are plenty of practical routes through which your employees can talk to each other and work together. 

It can be as simple as updating your online phone systems so employees can easily contact each other. You might also want to use specific communications software to establish channels for different functions and departments within your organization. 

Similarly, you should make sure that your employees have spaces where they can work together. If you have an on-site location, this means providing an alternative to single desks. If you primarily work online, this means that you’ll need to use the best documented collaboration tools and project management software. 

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

Workplace transparency is a vital component to the success of a business

There’s no doubt that transparency is a crucial part of any successful business that looks to make the most of employee engagement and build a company culture that is trusting and collaborative.

As we highlighted in this article, a transparent workplace increases trust in leaders, encourages collaboration, improves employee engagement, and has a clear, positive culture. Who wouldn’t want that in their organization? 

By following our practical steps to achieving transparency in the workplace, you can be confident that you’ll quickly see the benefits.

Start making your workplace more transparent today!