Your employees have the potential to be a significant positive influence on your business. However, this doesn’t tend to happen if workers feel stifled by company culture or a lack of one. By creating an atmosphere that encourages open feedback and greater engagement, the long-term benefits can be mutually positive for everyone involved.
It’s not always easy to understand how to influence this type of input and connection with employees. While there are certainly various elements that can make a difference, one of the most important is transparency. If your company is open with its workers, you’re more likely to receive similar treatment in return.
Let’s take a moment to explore how transparency tends to support honest feedback and employee engagement.
Through Supporting a Culture of Authenticity
Authenticity is one of the key elements the current generation of workers is looking for in employers. This has to be present across the entire business. It is not enough for your company to simply pay lip service with an image of authenticity on social media or your marketing. For your workers to be truly engaged, your business must demonstrate a holistic commitment to genuine actions. Transparency is a tool to achieve this solid culture of authenticity.
The main way this is beneficial is through the effect it has on the atmosphere of the workplace. A positive employment environment encourages productivity and can make your business more attractive to high-quality applications. From a transparency perspective, this involves ensuring that your company culture provides space for workers to openly offer their feedback about the business. This may be with regard to how they feel your company is maintaining its values and goals. It might involve criticisms about how you’ve handled an issue. In either case, staff must feel safe to critique elements and suggest improvements.
Having an anonymous feedback channel can be the most effective approach for this aspect. While it’s not transparent in respect of the workers’ identity it does support the provision of unfiltered and more useful opinions. It is leadership’s handling of such feedback that needs to be transparent. Make sure the workforce is informed about issues raised and provide regular communications on the assessment process and changes to be made. This type of open handling of problems reinforces a culture of authentic actions at the highest levels of the organization. In turn, this can encourage more feedback, dialogue, and cultural growth.
Through Individual Discussions
One-on-one meetings with employees are a mainstay of the business landscape. The most effective meetings with individual employees bolster leadership and worker relationships and boost team performance. There are techniques you can utilize here, such as keeping the meetings short and encouraging collaboration. Nevertheless, you’ll find factoring aspects of transparency into these discussions has a powerful impact on their outcomes.
This begins by ensuring there is a focus on the employee’s wellbeing. The transparency here should be around a sense of genuine care immediate managers and leadership have for staff members. Though, it’s important to also fully acknowledge to employees that their continued satisfaction and wellness are mutually advantageous, so there are shared incentives to ensure this continues. This example of honesty and clarity can encourage workers to be more open in giving feedback about how they feel, what they’re struggling with, and how the business can help.
Transparency can also be valuable when it comes to discussing employee performance. Oftentimes, when leadership needs to discuss such areas, this can come across as combative or highly critical. By being transparent with performance metrics alongside data on how this impacts the company’s overall goals, the process transforms into a purely practical issue rather than an emotionally-charged one. Furthermore, employees may be more forthcoming in offering their own feedback on the reasons for lack of productivity and what support they may require to level up their engagement.
Through Setting and Maintaining Expectations
Clear expectations are essential for productive operations. When there is ambiguity in how employees and leadership alike are supposed to behave or what they should achieve, conflict tends to arise. Communicating expectations is especially important in remote operations when management is striving to maintain positive collaborations with staff. Simply taking time to transparently discuss what the expectations are and how to meet them can prevent the potential for disruptive misunderstandings to arise.
This setting and maintenance of transparent expectations should begin from the outset of onboarding. There should be company-wide behavior standards and operational expectations outlined in the employee handbook. These should also be reiterated by human resources staff or direct line management to ensure they’re understood. The individual role expectations need to be communicated by direct supervisors and discussed among the entire team to show that there is a transparent, shared, and consistent requirement to meet these standards.
Your company also needs to make clear that managers and executives are held to the same high expectations. Indeed, there should be communications about specifically what these expectations are. This type of authentic accountability can help keep workers engaged through the knowledge that nobody in the business is subject to unfair expectations. Indeed, openly communicating leadership standards can also encourage workers to provide feedback when they feel higher-ups or the business are not meeting these.
When your business commits to transparency, this can have a positive impact on worker feedback and engagement. Employees recognize this approach as a hallmark of authenticity and feel more comfortable providing their opinions. Transparency in one-to-one meetings and in setting clear expectations also helps to ensure everyone understands the needs of the business and the standards they need to maintain. Aside from anything else, you’ll find keeping open and honest about all activities helps build trust, which results in greater engagement.