The workplace has changed a lot over the last decade. Those changes aren’t stopping anytime soon. In addition to the advocacy for better work/life balance, improved benefits, and paths for professional development, the working world has also seen an increased emphasis on company culture.
What is Company Culture?
You may have heard the buzz phrase “company culture” here and there. For those who don’t quite know what it means, in essence, company culture is:
how things are done around your workplace.
This goes beyond the processes and systems in place and includes other, informal systems, like beliefs and core values. An example of these beliefs/values is transparency, specifically in regard to communication.
In bygone years, company communication focused on a need-to-know basis. This system worked as a result of other factors, like higher trust in companies by employees. However, as new business practices were adopted (like firing employees to meet EOY quotas or a recession), employees trusted in their companies less and less. As trust decreases, so does the ability to operate under a need-to-know basis.
The Emergence of Transparent Communication
To keep employee engagement and retention high, businesses started to prioritize company-wide transparency. Transparency provides a way for business owners (and employees in leadership) to clearly state their intentions—which in turn, re-establishes trust within the organization.
With transparent communication in action, information is more easily shared in all directions.
Upward: Employees are more willing and open to share information with management.
Downward: Management & admin are able to share more information with direct reports.
Across the Board: All employees are more willing and open to share information with one another.
This enables employees to understand the “why” in the decisions and actions being taken by executives. With transparent communication, businesses not only reach their goal of established trust, other benefits are reaped, such as increased innovation and collaboration.
Communication Transparency in Action
Now that transparent communication is a staple within a healthy workplace, it is no longer an add-on, but a priority in business processes. It's so important, in fact, that software has been developed to help facilitate transparent communication for internal and external groups.
Not only are employees happier, more innovative, and working in increasingly collaborative ways, but clients and other third parties are being brought into the mix. As companies continue to adopt technology to teach/train employees on best communication practices, it also brings all relevant stakeholders to the table. Employees develop a sense of pride and ownership in their work, while contributing to positive company culture.
Improving upon communication best practices serves as a transferable skill, too. It contributes to professional development and increases satisfaction from more productive client interactions.
How Can I Improve Communication Transparency in my Business?
Implementing and improving communication transparency in a workplace can be tough, especially when it comes to knowing where to start. Here are two ways you can approach it:
Lead By Example
If you want transparent communication to be prioritized within your company, you’ll need to lead by example. It’s easy to talk the talk, but when you walk the walk, people start to pay attention.
The next time new information arises that will affect others in the company, make it a priority to disseminate that information in a timely fashion that emphasizes the “why” behind the information. When people understand why something is happening or being done (or did happen), the sense of the unknown lessens and people are better able to adapt and continue moving forward.
Implement Systems that Promote Transparent Communication
When information is shared in silos, you’re at risk of miscommunication, bottlenecks, and a lowered sense of trust in the team and company as a whole. By implementing systems that promote transparent communication, there is an unspoken message to everyone in the company that they are part of the company mission, their work matters, and their input (whether that be on a task, initiative, etc.) is important.
Platforms that are accessible by everyone on the team and enable cross-functional collaboration not only help improve company culture, they help speed up processes, catch potential costly errors, and help grow the company.
Whether your company is struggling with miscommunication, employee retention, job satisfaction, or something else entirely, taking a look at the level of communication transparency could help eliminate the issues you’re facing—and getting an app like Team Engine or CompanyCam could help you manage it with convenience and efficiency.