Our 2016 Industry Ranking Report found that the level of transparency is a major factor in employee satisfaction. It’s no wonder — with the spread of social media and organizations like Glassdoor, we live in a transparent age. People expect businesses to be honest and upfront. Take this example from Harvard Business Review— a restaurant that switched to an open kitchen, in which customers, servers, and cooks can all see each other, saw a 17% increase in customer satisfaction and a 13% decrease in customer wait times. In this case, literal transparency proved powerful.
From keeping the office door open to the kind of language you use in the office, you’re expressing to employees whether your organizational culture is transparent or not. These changes in everyday practices can change how your employees and customers perceive your business.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The cornerstone of being a transparent business is excellent communication. This is especially true when it comes to making big decisions. If you assume you’re already doing this, consider that one survey found that 71% of employees felt management wasn’t adequately communicating with them.
Employees not only want input on major business decisions, they want to know how final decisions were made. Make sure employees know all of the technical lingo necessary to understand major financial changes. And ensure that as soon as decisions are made that employees are informed.
It’s not just what you communicate but how you communicate. In an effort to create more open communication, many companies are switching from email to messaging programs like Slack that encourage more group communication. Any way in which you can make your company less clique-oriented will help you appear more transparent.
2. Solicit feedback
Part of having a strong company culture of transparency is expressing to your employees that you’re open to their ideas. There are many ways to accomplish this goal:
Keep your office door open
Regularly hold employee forums
Do informal check-ins with employees on a daily or weekly basis
Create employee message boards
3. Make it public
As much as possible, make information about your company public. From earnings to RFPs, your employees want to understand the big picture. Put systems in place that allow for the regular dissemination of the company’s vital statistics. Don’t make people scour the internet to find out what the company’s been up to.
Consider this radical step: Social media company Buffer made all of its employee salary data public information, according to Entrepreneur.This prevents break room chatter about who got a raise over whom — all of it is out in the open.
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are excellent opportunities to share your company’s story. By illuminating what you’re all about, you’ll improve your relationships with employees and customers. Don’t let someone else determine your story line.
Transparency isn’t just ethical — it’s good for business. Today’s educated, skeptical consumers want to know as much as possible about a business before giving them their hard-earned money. Employees aren’t any different and only want to put in hours for companies that aren’t going to go the way of Enron and Lehman Brothers.