Why Your Business Should Give Transparency a Try
Transparency is on the rise. With companies like Buffer.com leading the way, more and more businesses are beginning to publish figures and facts previously kept a mystery.
The idea of making your business transparent can be terrifying. Offering up information for all to scrutinise isn't necessarily easy, but it is rewarding.
So what is transparency?
Transparency in business is a commitment to being open and up-front about how you run your business, including salaries, diversity of staff and company budget.
Buffer also refer to a tweet by Sparktoro founder, Rand Fishkin, which distinguishes between transparency and marketing. Marketing is something you do to bring value to your business. Transparency is something you do to bring value to others, regardless of the benefit to you. It's a commitment to doing better.
Luckily, as more and more companies adopt transparent policies, it is becoming clear that there are many advantages to opening up in business.
How can it help?
The main advantage of being transparent is the trust it cultivates. Of course, it's great when customers and clients trust you more. The reputation of your business excels. However, the key part is the trust within your team.
A trusting team allows for better teamwork, and ultimately better work. It also contributes to psychological safety, which we've championed previously. The more honesty and openness in your team, the more chance your projects have of success.
This increase in trust has a knock-on effect in terms of work culture. Not only will your team work better together due to trust, transparency can minimise office politics. There is no need for a rumour mill when all the information is on the table.
Transparency helps build a better workplace with higher morale throughout your team. When your team feel good about their work, it's reflected in their productivity. Studies show that when companies have low employee engagement, 'they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time'. (HBR) You're also likely to have lower employee turnover, reducing expenses on training and recruitment.
Whether it is entirely your intention or not, transparency forces you to do better. Releasing diversity figures and salaries draws the spotlight to the equality of your company. If your team is not diverse or the men and women in your team are not paid equally for the same work, you'll be facing scrutiny. Sometimes this is exactly what we need to improve.
Exposing the reality of your company to open eyes might be scary, but it ensures you have nothing to hide. It doesn't mean you have to be perfect. There might still be inequalities or issues in your business, but recognition and openness of these can lead to a commitment to do better.
Transparency is Sustainable
Did you know that transparency is part of being a sustainable business? If you saw our last blog post on how to make your business sustainable, you'll know that sustainability is much more than your environmental impact. It encompasses all your practices that have a wider impact on society and your community.
According to Forbes, '[y]ou can't know about a company's sustainability without transparency'. Good marketing can show a business making moves towards sustainability. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving.
Ever heard of 'green-washing'? The increasingly popular term describes branding or marketing that presents itself as sustainable, but, in reality, isn't. The term's become increasingly popular as more and more brands have made efforts to be seen as more sustainable in recent years. Transparency can help.
Being open and honest as a business encourages you to make good, sustainable decisions for your company's future.
Transparency is Disruptive
Even as transparency becomes increasingly popular, it is certainly not the norm. Many businesses are not ready or willing to take the disruptive move.
At Projects that Deliver, we think these kinds of radical changes are the key to success. Transparency is the perfect example. It wasn't necessarily adopted in the interests of one's own business, but it certainly helped for many.
Taking the leap to try something new is the future. If you want to switch things up and see how you could do things differently, give us a call on 020 3286 2866 or book in a free session.