7 Ways to Push Workplace Transparency

Workplace Transparency rules the day. Much bigger, and public, companies have had not only their books open, but a clear sense of direction, mutual purpose and understanding. Today, even far smaller and family-owned firms are being forced to face the music.

The best people—the ones who make your money—demand that things be crystal clear, and that can mean everything on up to and including once private board meetings.

If you’re company is still playing Cloak and Dagger, you’re not alone. But believe it or not, you’re probably already losing some of your best people because of it. Competition is fierce enough that your star players are considering other offers, possibly better offers, from companies where the field is more level and where everything but everything is out in the open.

Long gone are the days of good benefits and vacation time. The really good people want education, flexibility, and meaning. Mission, values and commitment don’t come far down the same list.

It’s not just a paycheck anymore:

While employee engagement levels scrape all time lows, certain companies are catching on and pushing forward with the most engaging workplace factor of all: MEANING.

Here’s how to push for not only transparency, but meaning too.

1) Transparency is forever.
Your company’s meaning, and the meaning derived from working there may very well change over time. But unlike fooz-ball tables in the break room and encounter groups for your team-building, transparency, honesty and openness are going to be with us. At least until the entire internet is handed over to a world government for monitoring.

2) Trust – not Bust.
Compliance teams today are just as popular as ever. (They’re not popular.) But they need, today, to justify any action they take. And management needs to be working towards getting the full 99% of working people inside of those few rules and to set them free. Compliance is a skeleton crew with a very limited and obvious role. Management very often works parallel to compliance, but they reap the rewards only by trusting their people to understand and respect the rules.

3) Engage
We understand this now. Most of us. Bring leadership into the loop. Is leadership tuned in to what it means to have employees caring and caring to understanding. How do you do that? It’s as simple as dollars and cents. Return. You’ve got to be able to argue hard numbers with the big guys. There’s not much more to it than that.

4) Put People First
Obviously, we write a lot here about offering flexible scheduling and finding work-life balance. But that’s only part of it. HR is how you manage your money making, not how you control adversarial interests. Revise your policies and explain why. Justify.

5) Retain
If you’re really losing people, still, then you should be looking carefully at what needs to be done to keep your best people in place. What are the rates for the most important positions? And which departments are losing the most? Why?

6) Fully and Deeply Explore
For the real “Cloak and Dagger” old-school, usually family-owned companies, you’ve got to look carefully at the most “unspeakable” topics in your organization. They’re not going to go away. And in some cases, they can swell, and mutate and come back to bite you. The solution is probably to cut down until you’re only working with insiders who know the family secrets. Everyone else is expendable. So if you want to grow, you’re going to either get rid of the awful secrets, or shrink to the size where everyone is in on the deep and the dark and the embarrassing.  

7) Revise Policies and Communicate the Revisions.
No matter
what the C-suite wants to believe, suspicion costs you. It costs in terms of dis-engagement, only holding onto only the listless and the determined to do as little as possible. It also costs an organization in employee turn-over and simple mis-trust. HR, and mangement, need to continually revise policies and keep a running list of what policies need revision. The policy, then, is to communicate often and well, what exactly are the policies, how have they changed, and why.

If we left something out, or you’ve got a practical idea for moving from “cloak and dagger” into the profitable sunshine, please let us know.


Photo this page:
another day at the office © Creative Commons Lic, by Candiche on Flickr

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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