The 5 Most Successful Ways to Create a Transparent Work Culture
One of our core values at BambooHR is “Be Open.” This means we are honest with each other, even when we have critical feedback to give. To complement this behavior, we also embrace the value “Assume the Best,” meaning we try to assume our teammates and managers have the best intentions when they come to us with feedback. Thanks to these two values, we’ve managed to create a work culture of transparency.
There are a great number of benefits that come when you foster a transparent work culture, from a dramatic increase in employee engagement to a powerful boost in positive customer relations. So how can you get started developing this kind of transparency in your company?
Here are five ideas for creating a transparent work culture at your company.
1) Use a Shared Platform
A shared company-wide platform is an invaluable tool for creating a transparent work culture. Not only does it provide an easy way to communicate with your employees, but it’s also a phenomenal accountability booster.
There are a number of different ways to get your company on the same page, including programs for project management, communication, and beyond. Which tools you choose to use will depend on your organization’s priorities—do you need a platform where your team can collaborate on shared projects or a platform where you can swap funny gifs and foster camaraderie? Or both? It’s worth defining your goals and communication needs before searching for a solution.
Here are a few ideas for how you may want to use your shared platform:
- A place where employees can create goals that are relevant to their position or the company’s vision. Supervisors or team members should be able to view these goals, track their progress, provide feedback, and ask questions.
- A platform used to map out big projects, assign individual tasks, set deadlines, update the status of a task, and collaborate with other members of the same project. Ideally, a platform of this nature should also give you the ability to share documents, export status reports for clients, and organize projects in a clean, cohesive manner.
- A private network (commonly referred to as an intranet) that contains all the information your employees need to gain a thorough understanding of your company. You can include information pertaining to company policies, advancement opportunities, announcements, and more.
2) Invite Honest Feedback
What is transparency without honesty?
Encouraging—even celebrating—honest feedback will make all the difference in your efforts to achieve a transparent culture in the workplace.
You may want to create a formal program to help employees feel comfortable giving this kind of feedback. To do this, you need two things. The first is a platform where your employees can submit their feedback. This platform should give users the option to submit an anonymous comment so they can feel safe bringing a sensitive matter to light. The second element is less tangible, but no less important: trust.
Establishing trust is crucial in creating a transparent work culture. You can provide a place for employees to submit feedback, but if they don’t trust management to respect, consider, and respond to that feedback, they’re never going to feel comfortable submitting it in the first place.
3) Ensure Consistent Communication
If trust is the foundation of a transparent work culture, then consistent communication is the framework.
You need to keep your employees in the loop, regardless of their level in the company. This helps prevent unpleasant surprises or troubling misunderstandings due to faulty communication.
Adopting a reliable communication system into your daily operations is the best way to keep everyone on the same page regarding big announcements, minor changes, and updates pertaining to ongoing projects and assignments. This is especially important if you have remote employees who aren’t physically in the office to hear such announcements.
If you don’t already have a reliable communication software, it’s time to consider your options. You can invest in a full-blown communication platform that will allow you to create separate channels for different teams and departments, or if you’re a small company with only a handful of staff members, you may opt for a simpler system, such as text or email.
In addition to a solid communication platform, you may also want to hold regular meetings for the entire company. We do this at BambooHR every month in an all-hands company meeting. These meetings are the perfect opportunity for our executive team and other leaders to explain big-picture goals, address concerns, and get everyone on the same page.
4) Don’t Forget Your Remote Workers
Remote work is becoming more widespread, and some companies are even 100 percent remote. However, the more dispersed your team becomes, the harder it can be to keep everyone engaged and on the same page. As you work to develop a more transparent work culture, don’t forget to include your employees who work outside the office.
In order to foster firm connections and positive relationships among your remote employees and the rest of your organization, make sure to fully include them in all your efforts toward transparency. Provide them with access to your company-wide platform, invite them to join collaboration platforms, and add them to your communication program.
Without careful attention, it’s all too easy to forget about the employees who are not physically in the office. However, if you make a point of keeping your remote workers in the loop, you can strengthen transparency across the board and reduce the risk of miscommunication, missed deadlines, and so many other problems that can arise from working off-site.
5) Keep At It
Unfortunately, developing a transparent work culture is not a one-and-done objective that you can check off the list when you’re finished.
Transparency is an ongoing effort that requires consistent attention and effort. After working toward your initial goal, you will find that transparency may become more of a habit than an initiative, and your future efforts will feel more natural.
We’ve only listed five ways to develop a transparent work culture, but there are dozens more. As you improve your organization’s transparency, you’ll soon discover that it’s not a one-size-fits-all mold. What transparency looks like for your company and what you do to foster it will depend on the unique needs and qualities of your people.
Prioritize transparency and weave it into your company values as a reminder to keep at it, even after you feel you’ve achieved it. Brainstorm new ways to improve and maintain transparency, keep your employees informed, and incorporate it into everything you do.