Without transparency, employees will lack direction and emotional commitment. A transparent company culture is built from the top.
“Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization.” – Paul Marciano
Many leaders dismiss employee engagement as an HR initiative aimed at keeping the workforce happy and productive. But is that it?
The answer is a resounding NO.
According to Gallup's 2013 State of the Global Workplace report, 63 percent of employees worldwide remain disengaged in the workplace.
First, we need to realize that a happy employee need not be an engaged one. It takes a lot more than just keeping your workforce happy and having fun. It is about getting employees to believe in and staying committed to the cause of the organization.
How can we achieve this?
By being honest with them, answering their queries, letting them know what is happening and what are the reasons behind the set objectives. Put simply, you need to be transparent.
Read on to find out the reasons why transparency plays such a key role in achieving successful employee engagement.
Transparency leads to trust
Without building trust, it will be difficult to get employees to commit emotionally to your organization, and their motivation will be limited to the paychecks.
If the top management doesn’t reveal necessary information about the affairs of the company, employees will feel confused, anxious and demotivated. You cannot foster a culture of transparency unless it is practiced throughout the organization. So, it is up to the top leadership to take up the responsibility and push for building a transparent organization from the top.
The first step to building transparency is to let your employees know the reasons and context behind your company’s vision and goals. This will make it easier to get buy-in. Ensure that the same practice is followed for all the major decisions.
Transparency fosters a collaborative work environment
Building collaborative work environment without a shared purpose is almost impossible. In a lot of companies, employees are not sure about how their fellow employees or another department is contributing to the overarching purpose and goals of the company.
This lack of transparency prevents employees from collaborating effectively. This is why we need to encourage them to be open and honest - they will be more likely to share the mistakes they have committed, challenges and problems they are facing and ideas and initiatives they have in mind. This will help your company learn, grow and succeed as a team rather than individuals.
Adopting employee communication platforms and project management tools will make it easier for employees to share knowledge, connect with the right person and access the right content. The key is to ensure that it fits your team’s existing workflow.
Transparency makes employee empowerment efforts more effective
If you delegate a task to your teammate without letting them know why is it being assigned to them, how it contributes to the firm’s goals, the resources allotted and the expected outcome (quality, quantity, deadline etc) – they will end up being confused, afraid and indecisive. They may feel that you are punishing them or intruding on their free time etc.
Result: the quality of work will be poor and not live up to expectations.
Many organizations find it hard to get employee buy-in for task delegation, growth and development programs etc. They merely want to get their day-to-day tasks done and leave. The reasons behind this resistance include fear of change and disengagement.
The best way to overcome this resistance is by being transparent. Explain to them clearly about the following:
- How is the task or program relevant to them?
- How does it help them and the organization (in short-run and long-run)?
- How will it impact their day-to-day routine?
- How will it change their roles?
- The amount resources that will be allotted to them.
- The time period within which they are supposed to finish the task or program.
This will help you create clarity, and a more positive and receptive attitude towards such programs.
Employee engagement without transparency is like a body without a soul. Without it, your employees will lack direction, let alone getting an emotional commitment. You will find it hard to get your team push beyond the bare minimum. Consequently, your growth rate will stagnate quickly.
Transparency requires you to develop a feedback-oriented and collaborative culture. Having the right tech tools will indeed go a long way in helping you achieve it.
Niraj Ranjan Rout is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar. Niraj can be reached on Twitter.