Everyone is looking for more. Getting more, learning more and doing more! Everyone is also interested in better, too! Doing better and getting better. However, between “better” and “more,” it’s easy to forget how to maintain a good company culture by being transparent to your employees.
What does being transparent really mean? Transparency is all about openness, communication, and accountability between company and employee. Companies that are transparent make their mission and their goals clear and speak openly to their workers. It allows employees know their purpose, and also what opportunities and resources are available to them from the company. This type of culture cultivates growth and brings many benefits to everyone involved.
Obviously, it takes time for your company to become transparent enough to where you have this kind of relationship with your employees. You know that feeling you get when you’re on a first date and both of you are really nervous and try to keep the conversation as surface-y as possible? Well, if you still feel like that about your bosses a couple years in you know you have a problem!
1. Your Credo Attracts the Right Applicants
According to a study done by TinyPulse, only 42% of employees know what their company’s values, mission and vision are. That’s less that half of the people that work for you that understand what the essence of the company truly is. Organizations that have taken the time to truly list out the mission and values are one step closer to employee retention. Johnson & Johnson has an amazing credo that they adhere to and even have a plaque of to remind everyone of that walks through their doors. It’s the longest one I have ever seen! Their responsibilities are listed in order of importance but make the doctors, nurses, and parents of sick children feel just as valued as their stakeholders.
The next time you ask an interviewee “why us?” keep in mind what your company values are because the answer you get for “why us?” should always reflect that.
2. Chances for Growth
The opportunity to grow is HUGE for your employees!
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for millennials, iGens entering the workforce and even for employees that have had over 10 years of work experience under their belt. It is vital that your employees and future employees understand their pathways towards success. When career paths are laid out clearly for candidates and employees to see, they can see themselves at your company for longer periods of time, aiming to reach their goals. Being transparent with opportunities and career trajectories is also a simple way for companies to show their employees that they care about them. A lot of times, people that don’t get the opportunity to grow and advance are the ones that aim to move on to other companies.
3. Stick with what You Know
Oscar Wilde once said: “Be you, everyone else is already taken!”
Those words don’t just make for one of the most popular and frequently used quotes of all time, they serve as daily personal reminders to everyone (or at least they should!).
One big issue that's present in many organizations (small or large) is a lack of delegation. What I mean is if your title is social media marketer and you get a question about drip campaigns, you may want to tell someone from your email marketing team to answer it instead. More often than not, people end up answering questions they are not well versed in. Nobody wants to send anyone on a wild goose chase! When customers, investors, even employees are not getting the answers they are looking for, it raises many questions. So, stop trying to be a hero or a know-it-all, and get the right answers from the right people. People will be happy they got what they wanted. You come off as the smart person answering questions you actually know how to answer, and everyone is happy.
4. Behaviors and Language
“Do as I say not as I do.” Yikes! I hope you’re not one of those people!
Your behaviors and language are a huge part of the communication process within your organization. I don’t mean French or Cantonese. I mean the words behind the words. The language you use in your company says a lot about how transparent it really is. Ask yourself the following?
Are people giving me their undivided attention?
Do issues get resolved after I get involved?
Do I have a clear and concise way to get my message or point across?
The answer to these questions will determine how the chain of communication works at your company and whether or not you are successful as a leader in your role.
Transparency is often seen by leadership as a sign of weakness. Many companies think that if they are being “transparent” they are not displaying strong leadership and are essentially setting up the stage for equality, losing all control. This mindset is common and couldn’t be more damaging to any company. Transparency yields trust, and trusting your company to have your best interest at heart, make the best decisions and to keep everyone in the loop is the greatest sign of strength.
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