Transparency in business means honesty and openness; the quality of being easily seen through. So many organizations claim to have an “open door” policy. But, how many actually demonstrate this value?
Take a moment to think about the best companies you have worked for. I bet that the best companies had an open and honest leadership culture. You felt like you truly could speak frankly about your ideas, gripes, and what the leadership team needed to do to make the workplace better.
This organization’s leadership was also upfront about future changes, challenges, mistakes, product launches, sales numbers, profitability, and so on. They didn’t hide behind politics and were straightforward and honest with employees. You knew where you stood and how the company was performing. You didn’t find out impactful announcements via gossip. You felt like you were a significant part of the company and team and worked harder because you had a real stake in the company’s success.
Now, what about the worst companies you ever worked for? I would guess that you were always wondering what was going on in the executive suite or even in your own department. No one communicated. Or, if there was communication, you only received half the data you needed and were left more anxious or confused than before.
There were no company-wide meetings. The leadership team probably opened meetings up for questions if and when they had them, but then dodged the answer or gave some political B.S. You wouldn’t dare give feedback or initiate an open conversation about needed improvements for fear of retaliation.
Which of these types of cultures do you think most people want to join for the long term?
In order to build trust with employees, you need to trust them. Trust that you have hired smart people who want personal success as well as the company to be successful. Share information. Don’t sugarcoat. Ask for feedback. Listen to employees. Give reasons why a particular decision was made and the factors that went into that decision.
Be honest and open.