What is Transparent Communication?
Transparent communication is concerned with the open sharing of information in a bid to improve an organization and the people who work within it. For example, this could be the board of directors sharing the company’s vision with the whole team, or team members within each department freely sharing their own ideas.
It doesn’t take a CEO or founder to instill transparent communication, it comes as a result of individuals across the company working together to establish and maintain a workplace culture that centers around communicating effectively and openly.
Why is it important to establish transparent communications?
When companies adopt a culture of honest, transparent communication it can have endless benefits to the organization and its team members. In the next section, we’ll take a look at some of those benefits:
Helps to Build Trust
Transparent communication is a great way to ensure your staff feels trusted and valued. Employees at an organization that encourages communication up and down the hierarchy – from board level through to junior members of the team – will feel like they have the platform to speak honestly.
When team members feel encouraged to communicate their thoughts and feelings freely, they are likely to share their ideas and help their team members more often, and less inclined to adopt a finger-pointing strategy when things go wrong.
When open communication is encouraged within an organization, team members are much less likely to harbor their potentially great ideas, and instead, work in collaboration with their team members.
When this is done correctly and often enough, it can help to solve an existing problem in the business or even lead to the fruition of new products and services which can seriously boost a business’s profits.
Improves employee engagement
Naturally, transparent communication will lead to staff feeling more engaged, and like they’re a valuable asset to helping a company achieve its common goal – whether that’s to increase sales, solve a problem for their customers, or raise awareness.
This is because effective communication encourages employee recognition, where members of staff are told how their hard work helps the company achieve its objectives. Although monetary bonuses, vouchers and prizes are a good way to recognize someone’s achievements, it’s verbal encouragement and recognition that truly leads to employee retention and satisfaction.
How to create workplace transparency through effective communication
There are several ways to encourage effective workplace communication, and here are nine of the simplest and most effective methods:
Trust Your Employees
Trust is key to any organization that wants to harness a transparent workplace. When employees feel trusted to do their job, rather than working under the strict supervision of a micro-manager, they are more likely to communicate and share information with others.
Employees also feel less anxious to ask questions they might feel they should already know the answer to, and they’re much more likely to provide feedback to their manager and others.
Create Clearly Defined Roles
Creating clear roles in a team not only gives it much-needed structure, but it ensures everyone in a team knows their key responsibilities, and who in their team they report to. A business that is properly organized and structured creates a much more transparent workplace, in that everyone knows each other’s role, when they work, how they work, and what department they work in.
This way, nothing is confusing or unambiguous, everything is fully laid out which causes less friction, decreases the likelihood of people stepping on each other’s toes, and creates a positive company culture allround.
Have Regular Meetings with Your Team
In a time where businesses across the world have had to adapt to staff working from home, the importance of having regular meetings is more vital than ever. The rise of new video meetings technology and chat features means it’s no longer necessary to drag teams of people into a room and sit around a table. Now, you can simply log on to a piece of software and get together in seconds.
There’s no need to stick to a strict agenda for meetings, either. You can arrange to meet team members at the same time each week, creating a routine, and opening up a platform for everyone involved to say what they like.
What you discuss could be something as huge as a brand new product idea through to what you did at the weekend. With this routine in place, you create effective workplace communication, increase employee satisfaction, and encourage a much more transparent workplace.
Make Communication a Priority
Communicating openly with your team members is a great way to instill workplace transparency. It’s important, though, that communication isn’t simply encouraged between staff on the same rung of the company’s organization chart, but between managers and their direct reports, too.
This open forum of giving and receiving feedback will lead to employees feeling free to express their ideas and opinions, encouraged by the fact they know what they have to say will be values – not dumped, stolen or criticized.
Make Sure Your Team is All on the Same Page
For a company to truly achieve all of its goals, fulfill its vision, and uphold its values, everyone that works there must be on the same page. Individuals within an organization will indeed have different roles and responsibilities, but for everyone to play their part in achieving the company’s ultimate aim, there needs to be a solid understanding of what those objectives are.
The best way to do this is through transparent communication. The person at the top of the ladder needs to make this clear to their team, and this information needs to filter down to everyone involved so they can work together to make it happen.
Get Clarification if You’re Unsure About Anything
By creating workplace transparency and an environment where everyone can communicate openly, you’re also creating a place where people can be trusted to seek clarification and ask questions when they’re unsure.
Misunderstandings happen all the time in a business, so it’s important everyone feels safe enough to come forward with questions and clear up any doubt. After all, if people guess what they’re supposed to be doing, you could end up wasting significant business hours.
Get to Know Everyone
As we discovered earlier, one of the most effective ways to encourage transparent and honest communication is creating trust – and before you can earn trust from people, you need to get to know them first. Even if you find yourself working remotely, there are still a number of ways people can get to know their colleagues, like through video meetings and chat.
Once you understand the people you work with, including their goals, values, and beliefs, you can calibrate and communicate much more effectively. Not all communications have to be about work, either – you can get to know their hobbies, interests, or what they did on the weekend.
This open communication not only helps in building trust, but it will lead to happier employees too – which is essential to the running of any successful business.
Make Time for Q&A Sessions
By making time for Q&A meetings with the entire department, you allow team members to voice their opinions and ask questions that they might have otherwise shied away from asking.
Meetings can be done one-on-one, or as a large group if you have a bigger team, and goes a long way to creating transparency in the workplace when employees know they can have all the concerns and questions addressed.
Encourage 360-Degree Reviews
When you lead a team, it’s equally important to receive feedback on your performance, rather than all communication going one-way. For example, in a performance review of each member of staff, you could ask a question about yourself, like: “is there anything I can do to improve as a manager?”.
This will not only help you become better at your job, but it shows the team how highly you value transparency and communication as a whole.
Achieving workplace transparency
With so much to gain from workplace transparency and open communication, it’s worth encouraging it in any work environment. In the above sections, we’ve learned that companies that foster transparency and encourage information sharing benefit from things like increased employee engagement, more productive employees, and higher staff engagement.
When all of this works well together, it often results in a significant improvement in the company’s performance – and its profits.
What is the difference between openness and transparency?
Transparency is more concerned with seeing things crystal clear – like a company’s vision or goals. Openness, on the other hand, is about the interactions between individuals – having an accommodating attitude to people’s views and opinions.
What is an example of workplace transparency?
There are many examples of workplace transparency in organizations. For instance, if a business shares its plans for headcount expansion with its staff, encourages regular feedback through surveys, or admits to a mistake publicly, it can be assumed they adopt a transparent culture in their company.
How does transparency encourage teamwork?
Transparency within a team encourages the individuals within it to be open, trustworthy, and honest. When all those attributes are present within a team, it benefits from improved communication and can work better together as a cohesive unit.
How do you become a transparent leader?
A transparent leader is someone who is always open and honest. They keep their team members in the loop with any information they have relevant to the company, and actively encourage open communication within their organization.
How do I become more open and transparent?
To become more open and transparent, you must be open to new thoughts and ideas from others. When you receive ideas from other members of your team, it’s important you find a way to make them work, rather than park them, or ignore them completely.