By Scott Murray, Director of Talent Acquisition
In my previous posts on “Four Steps to Evolving a Company Culture” and “Yes, Employee Branding Really Does Affect the Recruiting Process!”, I consistently speak about transparency. In light of a year filled with turbulence and uncertainty affecting organizations across the world, I wanted to discuss how transparency is key to a successful organization.
In a past life, I’ve seen clients and organizations that sought to hide the issues that naturally arose during everyday operations. Most leaders have good intentions for not wanting to disclose the problems that occur but keeping those problems surreptitious will impact the entire team. As physics teaches us, “nature abhors a vacuum,” and teams will start filling in the “vacuum” with their ideas of what is happening which can quickly spiral down an unintended rabbit hole.
A lack of transparency can also create difficulty maintaining trust within the organization. Leaders imply they do not trust that their people can handle difficult news. This pattern will lead to lower employee engagement and productivity, as well as degrade the overall company culture (something I never want to see happen, anywhere!). The very resources that will be needed to help resolve the situation, are not only demotivated, but they will not have all the information required to help overcome the issue effectively.
Lastly, when challenges are not discussed, teams may infer that discussing negative issues is not appropriate. When leadership models to their teams on how to discuss sensitive topics, associates will mirror this model back to leadership. A lack of transparency can result in problems being covered up until they become too large to be solved without significant resources and investments. Many a project could have been saved with little to no additional cost if everyone felt comfortable to discuss project issues at the start and without fear of repercussions.
Being sensitive to how information is shared is just as important as being transparent whether you are in a management level position or not. Maintaining a transparent, yet “solution-focused” message will keep the team centered on solving the problem at hand in the most efficient manner possible. It allows a difficult conversation to be sorted within a more productive and growth oriented atmosphere, regardless of the information being communicated upstream or downstream.