Today’s businesses are facing changing work environments, strong competition and high-volume information flow. To make the right decisions (and rock every project), everyone in the company needs to be empowered to work with the right facts and access the correct level of expertise. But in an inherited culture of secrecy, where information is scattered and highly protected, the path to transparency is not always easy.
The absence of transparency is pretty easy to trace: disconnected directives, dysfunctional fiefdoms, duplicated tasks. Data that’s built to be political, not actionable. These approaches unfortunately don’t just impact short-term perspectives; they also drive long-term employee dissatisfaction and destabilize the whole operation.
Transparency is a broad term, but in the context of the enterprise, it is about making information available to everyone, from top executives to employees, without hiding problems or uncomfortable data. It’s also explaining decisions while being open yet explicit about accountability, including what actions are taken and by whom. Infusing more collaboration is also at the core of transparency, pushing employees to work together without any bias. It’s also about empowering people to ask questions that will be answered in an honest way. Finally, it’s also all about sharing skills and ideas, making sure they’re seen by everyone.
1. Important information is available to everyone
Sharing important plans to everyone within your company is a big step to make, but think about the time and energy your teams spend trying to find those pieces of information. Let’s face it, whatever the tool or how hard managers try to hide key data, employees will always find out what’s happening.
Once information is available in an enterprise-wide system, it becomes easily accessible and actionable. People may fear to act on information because they cannot confirm its accuracy and newness, but cross-siloed solutions automatically sync to guarantee fresh data. Work management systems make it possible to trace a file or a comment, and provide an opportunity for each coworker to ask for more details and make sure they have everything needed to take action.
But what about confidential projects, such as merger and acquisitions, investment go/no go decisions and regulatory approvals? There is indeed a thin line between transparency and confidentiality, between what management can share and what needs to remain confidential for business and legal reasons. Enterprise work management systems provide this separate space where sensitive data and information can be stored and potentially shared when decisions are taken.
2. Risks are shared, so accountability is less stressful
In today’s organizations, even with a will to implement agile methodologies and collaborative tools, daily tasks tends to be heavily siloed. The work (often duplicated) is being done in different business units or teams, so expertise, ideas, tasks and risks are not shared. When coworkers don’t feel their work is visible, they’re more likely do less with unsuccessful projects as a consequence.
In a transparent environment, it is way easier to see and to put an end to any project going into the wrong direction or any duplicated tasks before things get out of control. Sharing problems and risks lead to decisions taken as a team, better visibility and improved success rate.
3. Employees are asking for it
According to Forbes, a company with transparent leadership gains many benefits: problems solved faster, improved teamwork, trust in management, better work relationships, and greater performance. Furthermore, empowered teams have much more chance to stay in the organization than others, as they feel their knowledge is valued and their expertise taken into account.
To reach all the actors of the company, the smartest decision is to implement a new kind of solution called enterprise work management systems and, especially, to customize it to everyone’s needs. This makes the project real and concrete for all employees, whether at local, national or international level.
The time when secrets were power is gone now. Organizations can now install a culture of transparency thanks to enterprise work management tools that sync teams across many locations and dedicated systems. But most importantly, it takes a fundamental, uncompromising commitment from management teams to change existing mindsets and processes, so that coworkers don’t feel threatened, which would create even more secrecy. Whether in the telecom, banking, retail or consumer goods industry, transparency has never been more important to a successful company. And successful companies need to retain collaborative, pro-active employees that they can trust on the long run.