Transparency

4 Reasons You Need to Embrace Transparency in the Workplace

4 Reasons You Need to Embrace Transparency in the Workplace
Image credit: Stephen Poff | Flickr

Believe it or not, a full quarter of employees don’t trust their employer, according to a 2014 American Psychological Association survey of 1,562 U.S. workers. What’s more, the survey also found that only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them.

This lack of trust is likely due to a lack of transparency in the workplace. Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust between leaders and their employees. Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the overarching purpose and goals of the company are, understandably, more likely to put their trust in their employer.

Related: The 4 Principles Driving Enterprise Transparence in 2015

By now, most of us have heard a thing or two about how to achieve and sustain transparency in the workplace. Here are four reasons why that transparency and culture of trust is necessary:

1. Better relationships

Employees don’t just quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. In fact, a 2014 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 37 percent of the 3,008 employees surveyed were likely to leave their jobs due to a poor opinion about their boss’s performance.

When it comes to building solid workplace relationships, trust takes center stage. Take Unbounce, for example. It took transparency to another level with its “Inside Unbounce” blog, a staff-authored, un-curated window in the organization. Not only does this demonstrate transparency to potential job seekers, customers, etc., it also keeps employees involved and up to date on company happenings, successes and feedback.

2. Better alignment

Employee alignment, for transparency’s sake, means taking a look at the big picture and seeking to understand everyone’s role within it. This is easily done when employers practice transparency in the workplace. Transparent leadership results in employees who understand the company vision and how their efforts help achieve company-wide goals.

Transparency is at the top of HubSpot’s Culture Code. Its internal wiki includes financials (cash balances, burn-rate, profits and losses, etc.), board meeting decks, management meeting decks, “strategic” topics, HubSpot Lore & Mythology -- basically anything and everything employees need to stay informed and aligned with the company vision.

Related: Let's Be Real: Why Transparency in Business Should Be the Norm

3. Better solutions

When leaders are transparent, problems are solved faster. By being open and honest about company problems, employees can help find solutions. And two heads (or however many heads make up the company) are better than one.

Social sharing app Buffer makes company performance public with progress reports on customer support, blog performance, business performance and more. Not only does doing so increase accountability, it also highlights issues and encourages employees to find solutions.

4. Better engagement

A culture that values transparency in the workplace breeds engaged employees. In fact, Harvard Business Review’s 2013 employee engagement survey revealed that 70 percent of those surveyed say they’re most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy.

When it comes to engaging employees, it’s best to be open about company matters. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner fosters an organization built on transparency. He even takes the time to hold bi-weekly meetings, during which he updates employees on company matters and listens to their suggestions.

What do you think? What are some results you’ve experienced from workplace transparency? Share in the comments section below.

Related: This Essential Leadership Trait Can Push Employees to Do Their Best