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How much transparency do your employees really need?

Transparency in business is the new big thing: cluing your employees in to what’s going on behind the scenes can raise enthusiasm, make them feel more like team members, and allow them to better help and be more hands on in their roles. But how much information is too much information? And where do you draw the line?

Why transparency can be great for a business.

How many of us have heard their friends say that they have no idea what’s going on at work? I even know someone who turned up for a shift only to find the office building had been shut down and vacated!

Not knowing what corporate is thinking can make it hard to connect to a role, especially when the importance of that role is unclear. That’s why transparency can be fantastic when it comes to trust: it’s something that can motivate your staff to get engaged, take risks, and drive your business forward.

But for trust to become a cornerstone of your business, you need that transparency to be available always. And it needs to be something that people take seriously: it’s not just about employees opening up about their concerns, it’s about inviting them into the room to contribute to decisions and demonstrate their ideas.

Once someone is involved in the decision-making process, they’ll feel more committed and valuable. They’ll understand why things are happening the way they are, and they can be hands on when something needs correcting. Trust, when established properly, can dramatically increase business growth, performance and profitability.

Why transparency should be kept in context.

Although involving employees in decision making is a good idea, it’s important to keep that decision making relevant. Keeping people clued in within their own departments makes sense: but not everyone needs to know everything. Your goal should be to provide enough information that employees understand their role, its value, and can provide beneficial insights as a result.

Teaching the intern about your secret sauce sales technique might simply overload them: stay honest, but relevant: no one needs to, or can, remember everything. And if employees know too much about departments they can have no impact in, that information can cause stress and rumours!

It’s important to find a middle ground, where employees know they can always raise questions and concerns and have them answered, and where they’re involved in relevant decision making.

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Transparency and teamwork

80% of engaged employees have trust in the leadership and vision of their employers – being on the same page as your employees is therefore an absolute win. Being able to work collaboratively will result in you better being able to reach mission and company goals!

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Bosses simply can’t pretend to know everything anymore: they need to be accountable for mistakes, include employees in their decision making, and be more transparent.

Lena Klein

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