Maintaining Transparency at the Workplace

Every CEO wants employees to not only be productive but also to feel engaged and motivated to do their best work. While many factors contribute to positive employee engagement, one of the key levers we, as leaders, have to influence engagement is leading with transparency. In fact, employees who view their organization as transparent boast 12x greater job satisfaction than those who feel their organization lacks transparency. Companies committed to leading transparently make their employees feel supported, respected, and compelled to do their best work.

It isn’t always clear who owns responsibility for championing workplace transparency. In many cases, it falls to the CEO and other members of the C-suite. But those C-suite members must partner and align with their People Operations team to keep employees in the know. People Operations teams conduct the everyday tasks that contribute to organizational transparency, like onboarding new employees, managing the employee experience, and supporting individual employee growth and success.

Here are three key ways that People Operations teams can partner with the C-suite to maintain organizational transparency.

Give Employees an Opportunity to Feel Seen and Heard

Employees should feel empowered to contribute to their company’s bigger picture and make their opinions known. If leaders don’t regularly ask employees what they need, organizations can’t provide employees with the experience they expect. Part of being a leader means advocating for employees and driving change, especially if employee well-being issues emerge, like disengagement, burnout, and turnover.

In order to advocate for employees, People Operations teams must first collect employee feedback data. Interviewing current employees with varying experience levels, positions, and work models (in-person and remote) helps leaders uncover how each factor impacts the employee experience.

Teams can also conduct research through anonymous eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score), pulse, and feedback surveys. Anonymity increases the likelihood of unbiased feedback, complementing the 1:1 meetings managers conduct face-to-face with their employees. Data from 1:1 meetings helps managers identify specific performance blockers and gauge sentiment.

With help from the C-suite, People Operations teams can uncover trends negatively impacting overall and individual employee experiences. Organizations sharing insights and acting on this employee feedback are 11 times more likely to have higher retention rates than those that don’t. Why? Action makes employees feel like their feedback matters. And professionals who see workplace changes — thanks to their observations — are 87% more likely to give honest feedback.

While uncovering trends, People Operations teams also must evaluate company culture to ensure their organization encourages feedback and is receptive to that feedback. Collecting surveys and 1:1 data is the first step, but organizations can prove they value transparency by acting on that information. 

Share Information Promptly and Consistently

To create a transparent work culture, People Operations teams must also work with executives to decide how quickly to share sensitive company information. There’s a fine line between confidentiality and transparency, and it’s essential to know where that line exists to avoid misunderstandings.

Leaders should share information that impacts employees, such as layoffs, salary, and benefits changes, or team structure shifts, as soon as possible. When organizations lack transparency, employees often fill the gaps with their own (usually pessimistic) assumptions. Employees are more likely to jump to conclusions if organizations hide unfavorable outcomes or delay announcements.

A transparent approach equips employees with concrete, accurate information and establishes their organization as a dependable source. For example, providing employees with your organization’s salary bands and compensation philosophy and guidelines eliminates the guesswork of who earns what and provides a roadmap for professional growth opportunities.

Open Communication Channels

After deciding what information to reveal, organizations must make it easily accessible to all employees. People Operations teams can share relevant company information in town halls, ask me anything (AMA) sessions with the CEO or exec team members, or in weekly, monthly, or quarterly emails.

When sharing information, leaders must be clear and concise because fewer than half of employees feel well-informed about important decisions their organization makes.  Leadership should hold an all-staff quarterly meeting to provide context on company performance and future plans rather than running through numbers. Provide a forum to submit feedback and questions to make it easier to address any employee concerns that may arise or use employee insights to influence business outcomes.

A People Operations Platform is essential for making information like salary bands, company values and goals, hiring plans, and reporting structure readily available to employees. With this context, employees can better understand their roles and how they contribute to achieving company goals.

Over 80% of employees say it’s essential for their organization to see them as a person, not just as personnel. By prioritizing transparency, organizations put their employees first. People Operations teams must invite honest feedback, ensure consistent communication, and champion effective conversations between leadership and employees. Transparency requires an ongoing commitment at all company levels, from the top down.

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