Building A Culture Of Transparency

All of the changes underway in the business world should force those of us in human capital management to think about how to create adaptable organizations. Building nimble and agile organizations requires a level of transparency that most organizations are currently ill prepared to undertake.

Transparency is a true cultural change for most organizations and requires a new way of doing work. The steps to get there are simple on paper, but the routines that leaders need to ascribe to are a major shift, but not insurmountable.

The free flow of information, and the ease of access to that information already means that an organization’s ability to control information has become limited.  Yet, most organizations that I work with are still hesitant to open themselves up fully to their employees.

Cultural norms, routines, policies and practices inhibit organizations from developing a culture of transparency. The impending result is a lack of confidence in your employees and a lack of trust in the organization … ultimately in its leadership.

I’m not calling for organizations to throw everything on the table for full view of their employees. But there are things that you can easily do to start building a more transparent and adaptable organization.

Strategy for one is something that can and should be shared with the employees, and I mean more than just sharing the goals for the year. Employee should be made known of the major questions and strategic challenges facing the company. And a line of sight created to allow them to know how the role they have in the organization contributes to meeting those challenges.

If you want to empower your people give the the opportunity to help. Let them work to solve for the challenges. Let them know what the big questions are that leaders are facing when making strategic decisions. Give your people insight into this line of thinking and treat them like the professionals they are, and you’ll be amazed by what you see.

Another example is how you manage your talent. Most organizations refuse to tell employees how they view them. My question is why? What are you hiding? How does it help? If you don’t tell me how I’m viewed by the organization, then I am left to make assumptions.

As an employee, I could be right or wrong … but my next set of actions are based off that assumption. If I don’t believe I am valued, then I am going to go elsewhere. The reality is that if I am not highly valued, then my departure is a better move for all involved. But if I was truly valued? Then your silence has cost you my employee as a strategic asset. It’s not a winning solution for you.

Other examples surely abound, but you need to start somewhere. It is in indeed a change for most. And it will not be easy for some, but you have no choice in this day and age. Doing nothing is the first step in failing. Talent is moving to organizations they trust and organizations that empower them.

Transparency … you can’t build a winning culture without it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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