It was my first day on the job; I was nervous and excited. What would the day bring? Did I make the right decision? There is no turning back now! Let's do this!
I stood in for my first ever Monday morning staff meeting at my new company. I was greeted with smiles and introduced to the rest of the staff. I was beginning to feel comfortable. It just happened to be the first Monday of the new quarter, and at the meeting, leadership was talking about how the company was growing. On the big screen were figures about sales, expenses and the like. I couldn't believe my eyes as to what I saw, in fact, I was shocked! At that instant, I knew I made the right decision to come here.
Transparency is king when it comes to modern workplaces. While workers don't necessarily need or want to know all the details, we do want to know what impact our daily work is doing. Even if it is negative, knowing the direction of the company we are working for keeps us informed. It was a lack of transparency that was the reason why I left my last few jobs; I didn't know one way or another where each company was going. I didn't have any trust.
When leadership elects to create a workplace of closed doors, it creates an "us versus them" culture. There is no ownership placed in the hands of the staff, and this lack of ownership creates an untrustworthy working environment. If they can't trust us with the health of our company, what are they hiding? What am I working toward?
Authenticity requires vulnerability, transparency & integrity
The workforce of today wants to know the health of their company. That way they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to stick around and fight to keep the ship afloat, or jump ship. More times than not, most workers in a transparent work environment will stick around and fight. They have a vested interest; they own the work that they are doing.
The leadership of any company should strive to be as transparent as possible. It not only reduces staff turnover, but it also serves to galvanize the staff that stick around. In an open working environment, staff will be more likely to share their thoughts and ideas freely as they know and trust that their input will be used for the betterment of the company. If company goals and vision are shared without reserve, it serves to empower the team to help in achieving them.
The most important role for a leader is to set a clear direction, be transparent on how to get there, and to stay the course.
Transparency is a necessary ingredient to every healthy working environment. Without it, each member of the team protects themselves from the stress of the unknown. This anxiety often leads to increased absenteeism and staff turnover. Team members expend far less energy fighting to save a company than they do saving themselves from it.
The bottom line is that while transparency at first can cause a short-lived emotional toll, it is far less costly than an ongoing culture of closed doors. Placing ownership in the hands of all teammates ensures that everyone who is on the ship is paddling in the same direction and those who are not, will quickly jump ship. Trust, ownership and open communication are all crucial to any successful organization; open it up a little, it makes cents!