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Big Organizational Challenges Can Be Overcome With Transparency Being open and honest with employees can solve issues such as low morale, poor engagement and turnover.

By Andre Lavoie Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With five different generations active in the workforce, it is more important and difficult than ever to keep morale high, employees engaged and turnover low.

According to a 2012 report by Bersin and Associates, $720 million is spent annually on employee-engagement activities alone, and that is expected to increase drastically to about $1.5 billion.

However, the real solution is relatively simple and completely free, yet very few companies embrace the concept: organizational transparency.

At ClearCompany, we conduct annual goal-setting and alignment meetings with presentations by executives and department heads, as well as quarterly check-ins to report on progress. As a result of this company-wide transparency, we have a highly-engaged team and amazing morale. Very few people leave.

Related: Radical Transparency Can Re-Energize a Company's Culture and Deliver Results

Getting started on the path to transparency might be easier than you suspect. Follow these tips to make positive changes that will impact your bottom line:

1. Bring everyone together in an informal setting. One of the most powerful aspects of transparency is the clarity it brings to the workplace. Without both transparency and clarity, employees can feel overlooked and confused about their role within the company.

Bring small groups of management and employees together in an informal setting. Present the opportunity as one in which employees can express general concerns, share positive experiences and have an open conversation about what is working and what isn't.

Beginning the dialogue can be as simple as discussing interesting happenings in the industry and your team's take on them. Then, lead the conversation into current projects, milestones, and areas of difficulty that need to be overcome.

Don't come into these meetings with a formal agenda, but allow the opportunity for your team to speak freely and feel comfortable engaging. Just by introducing transparency within a company, employee morale increases exponentially.

2. Identify and share the "5 W's" of company decisions. When business decisions are made -- whether big or small -- fill employees in on the details. If information is consistently withheld, it is difficult for employees to understand the strategy and trajectory of the company and their role within it. As such, their work can easily become misaligned or out of scope.

Related: What Mozilla's Chief Forgot About 21st Century Leadership

Share the "5 W's" -- who, what, where, why and when -- of company pivots. This not only engages employees and helps them feel valued, but also clarifies how they will be impacted by the changes. Also, make sure management is available and able to answer questions.

To remain engaged, productive members of your corporate community, employees must understand what their personal responsibility is relative to any changes coming down the pike.

Being open and transparent about company challenges also allows employees to see the bigger picture and feel more empowered to play an active role. With this level of understanding and engagement, your teams will proactively introduce new and creative ways of finding solutions.

3. Be transparent about turnover and encourage mentorship. If employees are continually watching team members come and go with no understanding of the cause, retention will suffer.

Remain transparent about employee departures. Clearly communicating team changes in a timely manner will keep employees confident in the team you have worked hard to put in place. They will feel secure not only in their jobs, but also in their specific role and contributions.

Also, leverage transparency to build more collaborative processes. Encourage your leadership team to be true mentors and take an active interest in improving employee skills. Try setting long-term personal goals for each employee that affect the company and their continued growth within it.

By valuing and championing transparency like we have at ClearCompany, you will naturally develop a culture of honesty, collaboration and strong leadership, helping everyone grow. This type of transparent and value-driven culture will see employees stick around for the long haul.

Related: Win the Talent War by Opting for Transparency

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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