By Kathryn Kerby
No one likes secrets. They are destructive, heavy, and rarely ever stay secret. When they become known, they often end up doing more damage than if they had been discussed early on. They are expensive. Yet many of us have them even though we don’t like them. And many of us tolerate secrets at work, even though we understand that holding secrets at work can carry even heavier burdens than in the personal realm. Many of us have started to ask: “Is there a better way to run a business?” The answer, thankfully, is yes. We can run our businesses openly, and practice honesty with our employees and all external stakeholders. Nice words but getting started can seem daunting. Thankfully, we’ve found a variety of tools for you.
How to Create and Maintain Transparency in Business
The following sources all have slightly different versions of what transparency looks like, how to get started with it, and what the benefits will be for fostering transparency in the workplace. All of them offer suggestions for how to get started. While any one source may not be “the” answer, they all offer sound suggestions, and you can pick and choose which methods and practices will work best in your situation:
- Want something short and sweet to get started? Check out this article from Entrepreneur magazine detailing three steps to improve transparency.
- The folks at BambooHR, who specialize in improving the workplace, have put together a great 5-step guide to help companies get started in the right direction.
- Mentimeter, a company that specializes in communication tools, has also created a nice article on the benefits of transparency in the workplace, and how to get started.
- Kudos, a company which helps companies celebrate and recognize employee achievement, has its own recipe for fostering transparency in the workplace.
- Finally, Jeremy Biggs at LinkedIn has put together this guide to creating a vibrant, productive work culture, which includes transparency as well as a variety of other desirable features.
How To Balance Transparency and Privacy
All the glowing conversations about transparency would start to make us business owners think that “more is better”. However, that is not accurate. There is a balance to be struck between providing transparency and preserving both individual and business privacy. Thankfully, we have a guide for that too. Ethan Bernstein, the Edward W. Conard Associate Professor of Business Administration in the organizational behavior unit at Harvard Business School, set out to conduct research on how businesses could benefit from transparency, and he ended up learning that privacy is just as important to business success. Check out his article The Transparency Trap, to help make sure both are preserved.
Remember, you’re in good company if and when you begin incorporating transparency into your operation. Plenty have gone before you and there are a LOT of resources available to you. While the effort to make improvements can seem daunting, plenty of companies have gained far more as a result. We encourage you to try.