Transparency is a quality that can be defined as readily understood or characterized by accessibility of information. Putting this quality at the heart of your work and operations can lead to success. In fact, it’s been found that transparency from management leads to 30 percent better employee retention. Because, while it may not be part of your core values, being open and honest in what you do helps your business thrive.
When it comes to the startup and agency life, “culture” is a major buzzword. Many companies use the word to claim their work environment as the best and share their seemingly amazing values. However, the successful ones don’t just preach their values, they live them.
Creating a Culture of Trust Through Transparency
Establishing systems and processes to build your company all while maintaining a strong team and culture is challenging task. It’s about more than just your employees getting along. The difficulty lies in figuring out how to keep that camaraderie growing while sticking to your core values.
One company that has seen success in transparency is HubSpot. By declaring all of their employees to be “insiders,” they’ve agreed to share the companies financial data with employees prior to releasing it to the public. They are a part of a growing trend: 25 percent of privately held companies are now sharing their financial information with all of their employees.
Buffer, an intuitive social media management platform, declared “Default to Transparency” as one of the company’s core values. Financial transparency includes their equity formula and individual breakdown, revenue in the form of a real-time financial dashboard, information about their funding rounds, and employee salaries that are public. Additionally, any email that is sent can be seen by any employee in the company. Besides building a company culture on transparency, Buffer also emphasizes transparency with their end consumer. This comes in the form of information about the pricing breakdown of the product, making their code open source, and making the details of their product roadmap and editorial board public.
Transparency creates a team that consists of individuals who place a high value on culture. The key is finding people who come to work each day excited about what they are doing and willing to work as a team.
Laying the Framework
Building a team of transparent people is easier said than done. The idea of having no hidden agendas isn’t the traditional way of thinking. However, it allows the ability to share company wide goals, financials, and client relationships from the beginning and include team members as part of that journey.
Many companies are hesitant to share this information. Employees new to your organization may be unsure how to handle an open book policy in the beginning. Whether it’s a new or familiar concept to them, encouraging your employees to ask questions and share their thoughts creates a foundation of trust.
Openly communicating to solve a problem not only helps fix the issue at hand, it asks for collaboration. Allowing the team to work through problems and come to an agreement together ultimately strengthens understanding between coworkers. Thus, making them more comfortable in a transparent environment.
Quality You Can See
What does transparency mean for your clients? From day one, you should establish exactly what your client is getting and a timeline for delivery of the final product. This helps to ensure your client is getting the best bang for their buck. Being transparent allows you to keep the client involved and allow them to feel a strong sense of collaboration.
At the end of the day, client satisfaction is based on meeting set expectations. If problems arise that interfere with the ability to meet those expectations, it’s essential to communicate that with your client then collaborate to establish the best solution.
Cutting corners to simply avoid conflict isn’t a permanent solution for anyone. There’s no use in delivering a final product that doesn’t proudly reflect your client’s company or your work. Ensuring communication throughout the project results in a high-quality product and most importantly, a happy client.
Companies that continue to preach their values without executing will likely be the ones that fail to retain employees. Employees place 52 percent importance on their involvement in a company’s strategy. Overall, they want to know what the company’s goals are and how they will be involved in achieving them. Be open, honest and transparent in what you do and you’re guaranteed to see results.