Top 5 Tips for Transparency in the Workplace
How much should you tell your employees? In today’s labour market, information is key. Openness with staff is becoming a popular discussion point. In addition to this, our annual FRS Recruitment Employment Insights Report found that Irish workers value information above all else.
But how open should employers actually be with their staff? Are there ever situations where withholding information from employees about, for example, the direction in which their company is moving, or about the future planning of the business, can be seen as a good thing? Here, we explore the complexities around being transparent with your workforce, and provide our Top 5 Tips for ensuring you find the right balance between telling all, and revealing nothing:
1. Business Updates
An open-door policy has been seen as an effective way of demonstrating to staff a commitment to fostering an environment that actively listens and cares about making the right changes. Effective communication can have a positive impact on all other aspects of the business. But an open-door policy isn’t an invitation for staff to come to you with every single piece of information they learn from their day-to-day. Communication works best when it is measured, accurate, and contextualised. The same is true of any communications that an employer puts out to their staff. Business updates usually occur at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, biannually), are structured, and address key points that both celebrate success and indicate areas for improvement. Use these wisely.
2. Provide Practical, Relevant Information
Being open and providing your staff with the information they need to make the right decisions equips them to perform at a high standard, while simultaneously letting them know that they can trust you. Organisation structures exist to allow for an appropriate dissemination of duties and expectations. For example, it may not be necessary for entry-level staff to understand the workings of the business at a senior management level. High level information, such as around financials, are not important to most staff, and sharing everything with staff can actually lead to staff feeling overloaded, worried, and at a higher risk of burnout.
3. Trust in Teamwork
The best teams trust each other. And not every member of a team does the same thing. In order for managers to focus on tasks that are relevant to them, they need to trust their staff to carry out their jobs with minimal supervision. This means not always having to dedicate time to explain tasks and responsibilities to others. Staff that trust their managers and value their support, perform better and require less information about what their manger does. A lack of trust leads to scrutiny and is more likely to lead to staff asking questions about what their manager is doing, or a manager to question the productivity and motivation of their employees.
4. Adapt Where Needed
Covid-19 taught us a lot. We learned how to maintain productivity while working remotely. This was in part due to the speed with which companies adapted to the dilemma. Effective adaptation requires surgical speed, which in turn relies on being honest about the need to change. With Covid, the reasons were clear. However, if your company is ever in a position where an overhaul is required, while you might not want to disclose the negative business implications, pulling your staff together towards a shared challenge can actually be the difference between making it through a tricky. In situations that have the potential to get out of hand, be honest with your staff and offer additional support where needed but be careful not to cause undue worry or concern.
5. Regular Team Days
Team events can be a great way to bring your employees together and reward them for all their hard work and dedication. The Christmas Party has been the traditional get together, but with changing times, many companies have realised the benefits to celebrating their staff more regularly. Team days are also a great opportunity to touching base with your staff in an informal setting, where you can disclose any important updates or important information in a relaxed setting. While it might not be the right place to encourage discourse or feedback, you can follow up later in a more formal context, ensuring staff have had adequate time to process the update.
There are plenty of online resources to help you think about how much you should share with your workforce. Glassdoor’s views transparency in the workplace as fundamental to overall success. They say that companies that are open with their employees “have increased employee engagement, stronger company culture” and can help to foster “a type of comfort that allows employees to freely communicate.” Indeed.com note that being transparent leads to increased productivity, better communication and workplace relationships, and employees that are prepared. Being transparent about company objectives and future planning can help reduce attrition by keeping your team motivated for growth in their careers as well as giving them an idea about what is expected from them in terms of performance at work.
It's important to remember that not all feedback is positive so take the time to consider how you will respond before sharing your plans with others. Being approachable is not just about having an open-door policy but also about putting yourself in touch with your team and making sure you know what's going on in other areas. The best way to do this is by making sure there are no barriers between you and your employees – maintaining a comfortable atmosphere where everyone feels at ease enough to talk freely about any issues they've encountered during the day will help build trust between both parties as well as provide them with feedback on how things can improve for next time. Being open with employees has been shown time and time again to have positive effects on employee engagement, retention rates and productivity. An engaged employee population leads to better business performance and lower staff turnover which means less costs for new hires, and a more satisfied workforce.
If you are looking to add to your team or interested in further recruitment advice or support, we are here to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org